Photos by Kenneth Armstrong
CLARKTON – Alexus Mitchell sank the clinching free throw in the closing seconds as Elizabethtown held on for a 17-16 victory over Bladenboro Monday in the opening round of the Bladen Five Middle School Girls Tournament.
Carlie West’s rebound basket put the Lady Cougars ahead 14-13 in the fourth quarter, and teammate Lavada Jackson worked free for a basket and a 16-13 lead.
Mitchell’s free throw proved to be the clincher because Bladenboro’s Taylor West beat the buzzer with a 3-point bomb that sliced the final margin to one point.
Mitchell topped all scorers with 9 points, and Jackson finished with 3 points for Elizabethtown. Hannah Pait led the Lady Bulldogs with 6 points, and West followed with 5 points.
Mitchell and Chelsey Herring threw in baskets in the first period as Elizabethtown grabbed a 4-2 lead. Lainey Autry and Hannah Hester sank free throws for the Bladenboro points in the first quarter.
Mitchell made 4 free throws in the second period, and Jackson and Azavich Rhodie added one free throw each to keep Elizabethtown ahead 10-8 at halftime.
Hannah Pait tossed in a pair of baskets for the Lady Bulldogs in the second quarter, and teammate Savannah Turbeville netted one basket.
Mitchell hit 2 free throws, but West answered with a basket that kept Bladenboro within 12-10 after the three periods.
Nyasia Ellison hit a free throw, and Hannah Pait scored a basket that put the Lady Bulldogs ahead 13-12 early in the final quarter.
Elizabethtown advances to Thursday’s 5 p.m. championship game against Clarkton School of Discovery.
BLADENBORO (16) – Lainey Autry 1, Ellie Smith, Taylor West 5, Hannah Hester 1, Rylee Chadwick, Kylee Ward, Lauren Pait, Savannah Turbeville 2, Ocean Woody, Nyasia Ellison 1, Kariee Roberts, Hannah Pait 6, Kaylex Wilcox, Emma Smith.
ELIZABETHTOWN (17) – Brianna Phillips, Kayleigh Raynor, Tinyauh Rhoda, Azavich Rhodie 1, Lavada Jackson 3, Ashley Leon Orellana, Destinee Blake, Alexus Mitchell 9, Armani Cowan, Carlie West 2, Chelsey Herring 2, Laura Davidson.