ROCKY MOUNT —
The Tarboro Lady Vikings just couldn't get the job done Friday night in their Eastern Plains Conference finale against the Beddingfield Lady Bruins. Turnovers were the major problem for the Lady Vikings. They committed 44 miscues which led to 22 points for the Lady Bruins as they went on to defeat Tarboro 56-42. The loss gives the Lady Vikings a fifth place finish in the conference with a 5-7 conference record.
The game had a lot of meaning for the Lady Vikings. If they had won, then they would have played the Greene Central Lady Rams in the first round of the conference tournament tonight for an automatic berth in the playoffs, but since the Lady Vikings lost, then they have to win the tournament to get into the playoffs.
Tarboro head coach Jamie Willoughby said after the game there wasn't much to talk about, because the Lady Bruins were the better team and wanted the game worse then the Lady Vikings did.
Willoughby had prepared her team for the game and thought her girls were mentally and physically ready to play up to their capability and make it a game, but they didn't perform up to her expectations as planned.
"We talked about it before the game – that we couldn't turn the ball over and give them easy opportunities and that is exactly what we came out did," WIlloughby said. "We gave them too many easy shots off of careless mistakes."
Tarboro was playing without one of their leading rebounders and scorers, A'Jah Williams. She was sidelined with a rib injury and without her presence on the court, the Lady Vikings were unable to control the boards on the defensive end.
"With A'Jah being out it hurt us but I can't find an answer to our poor performance," Willoughby said. "I just can't seem to get it in these kids head that they can't play poorly like they did and expect to win. It just isn't going to happen."
Another factor that played into the loss was center Lisa Jones. She was on the bench the majority of the second half in foul trouble and couldn't give her team any presence inside to stop the Lady Bruins bigs from dominating the boards, which led to 14 points.
Tarboro was trailing by only six when Jones fouled out of the game with 7:25 left to play and the Lady Bruins went on two big runs to close out the game.
"As a team I don't think any of them played to their potential," WIlloughby said. "We had a few players who did some good things during the course of the game and played hard but when it comes to taking care of the ball and beating a team like Beddingfield we just didn't do it."
Nyasha Savage led the way for the Lady Vikings with 17 points and grabbed nine rebounds. Senior Kharlil Perry chipped in 15 and had eight boards in the final home game of her career.
Willoughby said her team has to take it one game at a time now as they try to make it through the conference tournament.
"We have to go out and execute and there isn't a whole lot left that I can do to prepare them," Willoughby said. "If these girls make their minds up that we can play to our ability them we can give Greene Central a run for their money in the first round. Other then that we will just see what happens."
The Tarboro boys have not been able to play consistently in the third quarter all season. In their final regular season game Friday, they folded again and then played worse in the fourth quarter as Beddingfield extended their lead to double digits and held Tarboro to 10 points in the fourth quarter. They beat Tarboro 75-51.
"We didn't come out ready to play in the second half," Tarboro head coach Craig Savage said. "We turned the ball over too many times down the stretch in the third and to begin the fourth and that hurt us."
Tarboro turned the ball over 30 times which led to 18 Beddingfield points, but Beddingfield was able to control the ball on their offensive end and turned it over only 16 times, which Tarboro only scored four points off of them.
"We give our opponents too many easy baskets because of turnovers," Savage said. "We have to learn to control the ball that has hurt us all season."
Deantonie Exum-Pippen led the way for Tarboro with 12 points and grabbed nine rebounds, while Antonio Winstead added eight and Aaron Moore chipped in seven.
Tarboro finishes the season in last place in the conference and won only one game in the conference. They finish conference play on a 10 game loosing streak and will play the second seeded Farmville Central Jaguars tonight in Farmville in the first round.
of the conference tournament.