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Bethel girls make it two straight

ASKEWVILLE – Bethel Christian Academy’s girls basketball team scored their second win in a row Friday night as they dispatched Riverside Christian 44-30.

Elizabeth Farmer paced the Lady Eagles with 20 points while Megan Simons had 16.

Amber Emanuel led all scorers with 24 points for Riverside.

“The last four or five games we have really gotten it together,” said Bethel coach Ashley Byrum after the game. “We’re getting our scoring patterns down and the girls are playing really good defense.”

Bethel opened the contest with an 8-0 run as the Lady Eagles forced Riverside into numerous turnovers and were then able to score in the paint.

Byrum’s team opened defensively in a zone, and then went to a full-court press to take advantage of sloppy ball-handling by the visitors. They continued the pressure in the second quarter and emerged with a 23-8 lead after the first half of play.

“We’re getting it together at a really good time, too,” added Byrum, “because we’re playing the conference stretch now and this is where our good chemistry has to pay off.”

Landis Marsh opened the second half scoring for Bethel with a jump shot before Riverside reeled off four straight thanks to a steal and lay-up by Emanuel and a pair of free throws to make it 25-12, but those were the only points for the visitors in the quarter.

Farmer then put on a show as she swished a long jumper then scored a pair of buckets on two steals and lay-ups and finished with two free-throws to push the Lady Eagles back in front 33-12. Kristen Adams closed out the scoring with another steal and layup and Bethel cruised into the final quarter ahead, 35-12.

After Simons drove the lane and put up a short jump shot, Emanuel went on a tear for the Lady Eagles of Riverside as she seemed to take the game on her shoulders for her team. She made four-of-six free throws sandwiched between a steal and lay-up and helped whittle seven points off the 23-point Bethel lead and get the visitors within 16.

But Bethel turned it up once more, attacking the Riverside guards to force a couple of more turnovers and push their lead back up to 41-21.

Emanuel scored six more points to trim it to 14, but Simons made a foul shot and a layup to pad the margin once more. Emanuel’s triple as the horn sounded made for the final score.

“Right now we’re three and two in our last five games,” said Byrum, “and one of those losses was a buzzer-beater.

“I feel real good about this team down the stretch,” he added with a wink and a grin.

Bethel heads to New Bern tonight for a game with Ruth’s Chapel.