Hannah Tompkins and Sydney Bedsaul both won state championships as members of the Surry Homeschool Runnin’ Patriots girls basketball team, and now both of them are looking for a championship at the collegiate level.
The pair, who played for Surry a few years apart, but whose high school careers did overlap by a season, are two of the top six players in the rotation for Bob Jones University’s women’s basketball team. Last year, Tompkins was a starter and Bedsaul a key reserve for the Lady Bruins in a 19-12 season. Tompkins was listed as a senior, but because she didn’t play in her freshman year at BJU, she was able to treat that as a “redshirt” season and come back this winter. Bedsaul is a true sophomore this season.
Tompkins, a 5’5” guard who lists Ararat as her hometown, leads the Lady Bruins in scoring at 13.9 points per game. She’s second on the team with an average of 34.4 minter per game, leads the team in 3-point shooting percentage (36.9), and also averages 4.8 rebounds and 3.1 assists per contest.
Bedsaul, a 5’5” guard as well, is third on the team with 30.5 minutes played per game, and has started 10 of BJU’s 15 games. She is averaging 6.8 points per game.
The team is off to a 6-9 start, but several of the losses came as the result of an ambitious non-conference schedule in which BJU challenged several NCAA Division I and II opponents. Against foes from its National Christian College Athletic Association, the Lady Bruins own a perfect 3-0 slate so far.
The first league game for Tompkins, Bedsaul and their teammates came on Nov. 21 against Toccoa Falls College, after two losses to D-II opponents to start the season. Against Toccoa, the Lady Bruins used a three-guard attack and both ex-Lady Patriots were in the starting lineup. Bob Jones led 41-11 at halftime and went on to win 77-43, with Tompkins leading the team with 22 points, nine rebounds, and six assists. Bedsaul scored 10 points and had three assists.
More games with teams at higher classifications followed, until the Lady Bruins faced another league foe in their last game before the Christmas break, on Dec. 9 at Trinity Baptist College. Once again, Bob Jones proved to be a formidable foe against an NCCAA opponent, routing the Lady Eagles 78-35.
This game didn’t start out ugly, as BJU led just 21-14 after one quarter and 36-20 at the break. However, things got seriously out of control in the second half. Tompkins had 16 points, eight rebounds and six assists in the win, while Bedsaul posted five points and three assists.
The team came back from its break on Jan. 5 to take part in the Suncoast Classic at Florida College, but its first opponent was another NCCAA foe, Trinity College, no relation to Trinity Baptist. This game, played in Temple Terrace, Fla., went into overtime before Bob Jones pulled out an 88-78 win. Twice in the last three and a half minutes of regulation, Tompkins hit a 3-pointer to put her team in front, but Trinity scored the last basket and sent the game into overtime tied at 72. In overtime, both Tompkins and Bedsaul were in the BJU lineup. The Lady Bruins scored the first seven points of the extra session and won going away.
Tompkins led the team with 19 points and seven assists. Bedsaul had 14 points, six rebounds, and three assists.
The team returns to action tonight for a rematch at Toccoa, and faces several more league games before the end of the regular season, although they currently lead the NCCAA standings at 3-0. On Jan. 20, the Lady Bruins will host Pensacola Christian College in an NCCAA contest that will once again reunite Tompkins and Bedsaul with their former Surry teammate Jessica Boyd, who plays for PCC.
Reach John via Twitter at @johncate73.