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Photos by Kenneth Armstrong

ELIZABETHTOWN- Guard Anthony Mitchell fired in 16 points Tuesday to lead Bladenboro to a 35-27 boys basketball victory over Clarkton School of Discovery in the semi-finals of the Bladen Five Middle School Tournament.

Mitchell drained a 3-point shot to start the game, but Lamont Pridgen cashed in a free throw, and Nazire Smith flipped in a runner to pull the Blue Devils even 3-3.

Brycen Blackmon got behind the Clarkton press for a pair of lay-ups – one off of an assist from Deonte Lacy who hit a free throw to put Bladenboro up 8-3.

Smith’s runner cut the Bulldog lead to 8-5, but Mitchell stole the ball and raced for a lay-up. Mitchell then dished an assist to Lacey for a lay-up and a 12-5 Bulldog lead.

Smith rallied the Blue Devils with a lay-up and a free throw, but Mitchell tossed in a pair of 6-foot runners to stretch the Bladenboro lead to 16-8 at the quarter break.

Blackmon started the second period with a free throw, Lacy muscled in a rebound basket, and Mitchell connected on a 10-footer that grew the Bulldog lead to 21-8.

Anthony McGill scored on a follow shot and a free throw, and Smith drove for a lay-up that sliced the margin to 21-13, but Lacy canned a free throw to put Bladenboro up 22-13 at halftime.

Jaylen Newkirk dropped in a pair of lay-ups to begin the second half for the Bulldogs, and Mitchell and Gary Parker netted free throws to extend the lead to 28-13.

Sam Inscoe threw in a 10-footer to keep Clarkton within 28-15 at the quarter break.

Samaj Dove put back a rebound, Smith drove for a lay-up, and McGill drilled in a 3-point shot to pull the Blue Devils to within 28-22 with 3:18 remaining.

Mitchell spun to the basket for a lay-up to stop the run, and Newkirk stole the ball and pitched ahead to Bryley Williams for a lay-up. Mitchell turned another steal into a lay-up and a 34-22 lead. A Lacy free throw made it 35-22.

Smith nailed a 3-point shot, and Pridgen popped in a 15-footer to close out the Clarkton scoring.

Mitchell added 5 rebounds and 3 steals for the winners. Lacy finished with 7 points and 7 rebounds. Blackmon collected 5 points, 7 rebounds and 5 steals. Newkirk totaled 5 rebounds and 4 steals. Williams grabbed 4 rebounds.

Smith led the Blue Devils with 14 points. McGill followed with 6 points and 4 rebounds. Pridgen pulled down 7 rebounds and blocked 2 shots. Dove grabbed 6 rebounds.

Coach Phillip Penny’s Bulldogs improved to 6-3 with the win and advanced to Thursday’s championship game against top-seeded Elizabethtown. The Blue Devils completed their season with a 5-4 record.

BLADENBORO (35) – Anthony Mitchell 16, Gary Parker 1, Brycen Blackmon 5, Jaylen Newkirk 4, Deonte Lacy 7, Ricky Brisson, Bryley Williams 2, Michael Young, Landon Stanley.

CLARKTON SCHOOL OF DISCOVERY (27) – Nyquan Richardson, Lamont Pridgen 3, Anthony McGill 6, Sam Inscoe 2, Samaj Dove 2, Lee Barnes, Javius Brooks, Joe Lacewell, Travail Baldwin, Robert McKoy, Donnie Ezzell, Nazire Smith 14.