Turnovers were a big problem for the Knights who committed 20 in the game – 10 in the second quarter when Fairmont outscored West 20-8.
“We gave them 18 uncontested points off of turnovers,“ said West Bladen Coach Travis Pait. “We guarded well, and if we keep it in a half-court game we win.”
A bizarre 4-point play when a Knight was called for a rebounding foul on a made basket gave Fairmont an early 6-2 lead. Sophomore Sayaun Dent put back a rebound, and senior guard Malcolm Vaught flipped in a tear-drop leaner from 10 feet out to tie the game 6-6.
Senior Brian Floyd made a free throw, then buried a 3-pointer from the left corner to give West Bladen a 13-9 lead at the quarter break.
The 20-8 second quarter surge carried the Tornadoes to a 29-21 halftime lead. Guard Jarique Moore threw in 7 points in the period, and forward Alshaquan Williams tossed in 5 of his game-high 15 points in the quarter for Fairmont.
Senior guard Rahu Purdie canned 2 free throws and a jump shot in the second quarter for West. Freshman Jonathan Robinson pumped in a 15-footer from the right elbow, and Vaught turned a steal into a lay-up.
The Knights came out focused to begin the third quarter. Vaught canned 2 free throws, and Dent tossed in an 8-foot leaner and tacked on a free throw.
Senior Brandon Council punched a steal to Vaught who pitched ahead to Purdie for a lay-up. Stephon McDonald threaded a bounce pass through the lane to Dent for a lay-up that tied the game 30-30 at the 6:18 mark.
Williams nailed a 17-footer and added a lay-up to ignite a 10-2 Fairmont run. Shakeem Lambert put back a pair of rebound baskets during the run.
McDonald banked in a 3-ball from the right wing, and banked in a runner from the lane. Purdie drained a 3-ball from the left corner to slice the lead to 42-40, but Elijah Hinson’s baseline jumper kept the Tornadoes up 44-40 at the quarter break.
Purdie rolled in a lay-in, and Council turned a Dent assist into the tying lay-up with 7:03 on the clock. Williams and McDonald traded free throws to keep the score knotted at 45-45 with 6:10 left.
A pair of rebound baskets by Shyheim Hines and Hinson keyed a 6-0 Tornado run for a 51-45 lead.
Council made a free throw, and Dent converted a Vaught feed into a lay-up that closed the gap to 51-48 with 3:03 left.
A pair of Fairmont rebounds resulted in 3 shots on their next possession, and Julius Caulder turned the extra chances into a 3-point basket that kicked off the 9-0 Tornado run that pushed the margin up to 60-48 with 1:34 on the clock.
McDonald drove for a pair of lay-ups, and senior Joseph Miller drained a 3-pointer, but the Tornadoes held on for the win.
Vaught, Dent and Purdie shared Knight scoring honors with 11 points each. McDonald followed with 10 points, 5 rebounds and 3 steals. Dent led West Bladen on the boards with 9 rebounds. Vaught had 5 steals.
Hinson followed Williams with 12 points for the Tornadoes, and guard Isaiah Inman finished with 11 points.
“You never like to lose, but maybe we can learn some things from this game and build on them,” said Coach Pait. “We’ve got to get ready for a big game with Trask Friday.”
The Knights are now 15-4 on the season and host Heide Trask Friday night.
WB (46) – Justin Ruffin, Joseph Miller 3, Rahu Purdie 11, Malcolm Vaught 11, Stephon McDonald 10, Brian Floyd 4, Sayaun Dent 10, Jonathan Robinson 2, Brandon Council 3, Jonathan Russ, A. J. Council 1.Share: