The game may have taken place 201 miles from where Jessica Boyd, Hannah Tompkins and Sydney Bedsaul once starred for the Surry Homeschool basketball team, but it didn’t take long for the Lady Patriots to be heard from on Friday night at the Davis Field House in Greenville, S.C.
Thirty seconds into the contest between visiting Pensacola Christian College and host Bob Jones University, 2015 Surry graduate Boyd drew first blood for the visitors when she drained 3-pointer to give Pensacola a 3-0 lead.
She continued her stellar play in the early going and staked the Lady Eagles to a 13-4 lead with five points and an assist in the first three minutes, but Tompkins and Bedsaul got the last laugh, rallying Bob Jones to a 67-51 victory.
Tompkins, a 5’5” senior guard for BJU and a 2012 Surry graduate, was chosen as the player of the game. She led the Lady Bruins (11-9) with 13 points on 3-for-7 shooting from the field, all from 3-point range, was a perfect 4-for-4 from the free-throw line, and even led Bob Jones in rebounding with eight.
The game was played before an announced crowd of 1,094 fans, many of whom were Surry Homeschool supporters who made the trip down to South Carolina. Included in the audience were current Lady Patriots coach Todd Hill, who coached Boyd and Bedsaul to last year’s state championship, and his family.
“It was really neat watching three of our former players in one game,” said Hill. “I’ve seen them pick up their games in college.”
The Lady Bruins took the lead during the second quarter and held it until Pensacola pulled even at 45 with 6:52 left to play. Bob Jones then went on a 10-0 run, and ended up outscoring the Lady Eagles 22-6 down the stretch. Tompkins had seven points, three rebounds and an assist during the conclusive rally.
Boyd started for Pensacola and played 28 minutes, scoring six points and dishing out three assists. Bedsaul came off the bench for BJU and scored three points in eight minutes of action, draining a 3-pointer with 1:37 remaining in the third quarter to give her team a 44-36 edge.
“They didn’t cut each other any slack out there,” said Hill. “It was all business while they were on the court, but fine afterwards. (Pensacola) actually opened the game in a man-to-man (defense), and Jessica was guarding Hannah.”
Pensacola rode the hot shooting of Alyssa Loudermilk and Boyd to the early lead, but the Lady Bruins responded with a 9-0 run courtesy of Bhrianna Jackson, who provided the spark off the bench to help the hosts battle back and even the score. The Lady Eagles responded, and closed out the quarter with a 17-13 lead.
“We’re getting more comfortable with who we are as a team,” Bob Jones coach Mike LeViere said. “I was happy we didn’t lose composure and continued to battle for the win.”
In the second quarter, the Lady Bruins went cold from the outside, ultimately going 0-for-13 from beyond the arc in the first half. The team stayed in the game by working the ball inside to Brianna Delaney and also gained trips to the line to keep the game close. Defensively, BJU executed a suffocating press that forced the Lady Eagles into several turnovers which translated into points. After Bridgette Gleed knocked down a jumper, the Lady Bruins took a 25-22 advantage. The team maintained the lead up to intermission, on top 31-28.
“Overall, we thought we could pressure some turnovers and capitalize defensively and run on them with our tempo,” LeViere said. “Our shooting and rebounding was poor in the first half, and we knew that we needed to overcome that to be able to win the game.”
As the second half began, the Lady Bruins built on their lead. Tompkins started the scoring for the team by knocking down back to back 3-pointers to put her team up 37-29. Pensacola started to hit some shots, but Bob Jones closed out the third quarter strong and clung to a 45-36 lead.
A 9-0 run by the Lady Eagles to open the fourth quarter tied the game, but then BJU, led by Tompkins, took command.
“One thing Coach always says is the next one is going in,” Tompkins said. “You have to forget about the last one and have confidence for the next shot. We got into a groove and calmed down a little on offense in letting it develop and taking the open shot, which helped us get the win.”
Delaney chipped in 12 points and six rebounds for the winners. Jackson sparked the home team with 10 points off the bench as BJU won its third straight contest. Tompkins, Bedsaul and the rest of the Lady Bruins return to action Tuesday night at NCAA Division II Erskine College, while Boyd and PCC visit Trinity (Fla.) College this Friday.