Clinton 68, West Bladen 67 Jeremiah Pope made the game-winning free throw with no time left on the clock to lift Clinton to a 68-67 Four County Conference victory boys basketball victory at West Bladen Friday night.
West senior Rahu Purdie sank the first of two free throws to pull the Knights to within 67-65 with 27 seconds remaining. The second free throw missed but was lost out of bounds by Clinton. On the in-bounds play, Sayaun Dent ducked under a Clinton defender and dropped in the tying lay-up.
Clinton missed a couple of opportunities but regained the ball out-of-bounds with four tenths of a second left. Pope was fouled on a lob pass in the lane, missed the first free throw, but made the second for the win.
Pope topped the Clinton scoring with 24 points. Guard Jacquan McLean followed with 13 points, and E. J. Howard added 10.
Senior guard Malcolm Vaught led the West Bladen scoring with 20 points. Purdie finished with 15 points, and Dent contributed 10 points. Junior Stephon McDonald scored 7 points for the Knights.
A pair of Pope 3-pointers staked Clinton to an 8-4 lead with 5:34 left in the first period. For the next 7 minutes the Knight defense shutout the Dark Horses as West Bladen reeled off 20 straight points to take a 24-8 lead 27 seconds into the second quarter.
Senior Brandon Council started the blitz with a rebound basket, and Dent canned 2 free throws. Vaughn sandwiched a pair of 3-point bombs around a pair of Purdie free throws.
Vaughn drove for a lay-up, and junior Daquan Lennon turned a McDonald feed into a lay-up. Senior Joseph Miller capped the period with a pair of free throws. A Dent lay-up opened the second quarter and gave West the 24-8 lead.
Pope rallied the Dark Horses with a transition lay-ups and a pull-up 12-footer. Purdie answered with a 10-footer and a pair of free throws to keep West on top 28-16.
McDonald flipped in a lay-up in transition, and Vaught drilled another 3-ball to push the Knight lead to 33-20, before lay-ups by E. J. Howard and Jaelan Best keyed a 6-1 burst that whittled the lead to 34-26 at halftime.
The Dark Horses narrowed the lead to 34-30, but Council powered in a bank shot, and Purdie sailed through the Clinton defense for a lay-up and a 38-30 lead.
Lay-ups by Dent and Vaught kept West up 42-34, before McLean’s lay-up brought Clinton to within 42-38. Purdie drove for another lay-up, and McDonald bombed in a 3-pointer for a 47-40 Knight lead.
Lay-ups by Purdie and freshman Jonathan Robinson pushed the West lead to 51-43, but McLean beat the buzzer at the quarter break with a 3-ball that cut the lead to 53-48.
Two lay-ups by Kavon DeJesus vaulted the Dark Horses in front a 54-53. Vaught drove for a lay-up, then found Dent in transition for another lay-up and a 57-55 lead. The teams were tied at 57 and 59, before a Vaught free throw edged West ahead 60-59 with 4:17 left.
A pair of Pope lay-ups put Clinton ahead 63-60, and they held that 3-point lead until the final 30 seconds.
Robinson led the Knights on the boards with 8 rebounds, and Council grabbed 7 rebounds. McDonald claimed 5 rebounds.
West Bladen, now 1-3 in the league and 10-3 overall, will host league-leader Midway Friday night.
WB (67) – Justin Ruffin, Joseph Miller 2, Rahu Purdie 15, Malcolm Vaught 20, Daquan Lennon 4, Stephon McDonald 7, Brian Floyd, Sayaun Dent 10, Jonathan Robinson 3, Brandon Council 6.