CHAPEL HILL- All 4 of Bladen County’s varsity basketball teams received bids Saturday to the NCHSAA Class 2A Playoffs. However East Bladen’s girls are the only Bladen team that will be playing a 1st round game at home.
East Bladen’s boys (15-8), the No. 18 seed, will make the 120-mile trip to No. 15 Washington (14-8). West Bladen’s boys (12-13), the No. 31 seed will travel 95 miles to No. 2 seed Kinston (19-2). West Bladen’s girls (9-13), the No. 27 seed, will make the 102-mile trip to No. 6 Wilson Beddingfield (19-4).
BOYS BRACKET (Click for larger version)
Coach Patty Evers’ Lady Eagles are the No. 13 seed and will host No. 20 seed Clinton. East Bladen defeated Clinton 3 times during the final 6 days of the season. The Lady Eagles boast a 23-3 record and are led by senior Maya McDonald (13 points, 8.5 rebounds, 4 steals and 5 assists per game).
Senior Alexus Mitchell contributes 11 points, 4 rebounds and 4 steals per game. Junior Maegan Burney adds 10 points and 4 rebounds per game. Freshman “NeNe” Ward averages 7 points and a team-high 5 steals per game. Junior AnnaGrey Heustess has tallied 6 points and 2 blocks per game.
Senior Khaliah Chestnutt leads Clinton (10-12) in all the statistical categories – 15 points, 7 rebounds, 3 assists and 4 steals per game. Junior Tara Joyner (7.5 ppg), sophomore Ana Williford (7 ppg) and junior Brittany Blackburn (7 ppg) are other Clinton stalwarts.
GIRLS BRACKET (Click for larger version)
Coach Aking Elting’s Eagles were the Southeastern Athletic Conference runners-up with a 9-3 league record. Junior guards Malcolm Bolden and Jacob Nixon and junior center Zamar Lewis lead the East Bladen offense. Lewis has been a force inside and twice captured 20 rebounds or more in a game.
Bolden and Nixon supply long-range shooting and double-figure scoring. Senior Nazire Smith and junior Jordan Mathis are the other Eagle starters.
Washington finished 3rd in the Eastern Plains Conference behind Eastern No. 1 seed Farmville Central and Greene Central. The tall Pam Pack are led by 6-3 senior Ashton Woolard, 6-4 freshman Javon Williams and 6-4 sophomore Gary Payne.
Coach Travis Pait’s Knights have won 4 of their last 5 games and are led by the inside play of senior Javonta Matthews and junior Gary Parker, the sharp-shooting of sophomore Malachi Allen and the all-around play of freshman guard Hezekiah Adams.
Six-foot-six freshman Chase Williams, sophomore Landon Stanley and seniors Josiah Brown and Keshawn Ballard are other key contributors for the Knights.
Kinston claimed the East Central Championship with an unblemished league mark and finished 19-2 overall with 1 loss at the hands of top seed Farmville Central. Seniors Jyrah Canady and Dontae Ellis lead the Viking offense.
Coach Brian McCleney’s Lady Knights won 7 of their first 9 games and have claimed wins over Clinton and Red Springs since that run. Sophomore guard Mallory Bryan and junior Makayla Wright lead the Lady Knight offense. Junior Lainey Autry, senior Hannah Pait and sophomore Megan Pait also fill key roles for the Lady Knights.
The Beddingfield Bruins won the Neuse 6 Conference with a 10-0 record and are 19-4 overall. Junior Daneesha Briggs leads Beddingfield in scoring (25.4 ppg) and rebounding (6 rpg). Freshman Natasha Marshall contributes 8 points, 3.4 assists and 3 steals per game.