BLADENBORO – Senior Tyre Boykin fired in 32 points, and West Bladen’s defense held Clinton to 40 points as the Knights claimed a 48-40 non-conference boys basketball victory over the Dark Horses.
“We guarded really well,” said Knight Coach Travis Pait. “We are not going to win pretty, but tonight we gutted it out. That’s a big win over a Clinton team that has the potential to be really good.”
Three baskets by Dieon Venable sparked the Dark Horses to an early 8-2 lead, but Boykin sank 4 free throws and drove for a lay-up. Senior Nijeah McKoy muscled in a rebound, and senior Nolan Bryant nailed a 3-point shot to vault the Knights in front 11-9.
A Shawn Matthews 3-ball put Clinton back on top, but freshman Gary Parker canned a free throw to tie the game 12-12 at the quarter break.
A McKoy assist resulted in a 3-point play for Bryant, Boykin cashed in 4 free throws and junior Josh Lewis made a free throw to put West Bladen up 20-16 at halftime.
Lewis drained a 3-point shot to start the second half, and Boykin bombed in a pair of 3-balls as the Knight lead grew to 30-18. Boykin pumped in a baseline 16-footer to keep the margin at 32-22 at the quarter break.
Boykin buried 2 more 3-point shots in the final period to push the Knight lead to 38-27. A Matthews 3-ball and 2 rebound baskets by Shykeem Monk pulled the visitors to within 38-33 at the 3:24 mark.
Boykin followed up his own miss then canned 2 free throws, but Nick Smith answered with a 3-point shot and a lay-up to close the gap to 42-38 with 1:15 left.
McKoy tossed in 2 key free throws, and Boykin made 4 foul shots in a row as the lead swelled to 48-38.
“Nijeah was so big for us tonight,” said Pait. “Josh Lewis was amazing defensively tonight, and Nolan did a good job. It was an unbelievable team effort tonight. Everybody played hard. I am really proud of them.”
Boykin collected 4 steals and 4 rebounds. Bryant scored 6 points. McKoy finished with 5 points and 7 rebounds. Lewis added 4 points and 4 rebounds.
Smith led Clinton with 10 points, and Matthews and Venable followed with 8 points each.
The Knights improved to 4-2 on the season and will host Whiteville Friday night.
Clinton 12 4 6 18 – 40
West Bladen 12 8 12 16 – 48
CLINTON (40) –Dylan Mitchell, Ja’melle Williams, Zyon Simpson 2, Shykeem Monk 4, Jaheim Faison 4, Dieon Venable 8, Shawn Matthews 8, Nick Smith 10, Keasean Williams 4, Jatayus Farrior.
WEST BLADEN (48) – Gary Parker 1, Josh Lewis 4, Tyre Boykin 32, Jadacus Register, Donovan Stone, Tra’shawn Ballard, Deonte Lacy, Nijeah McKoy 5, Xayvon Davis, Nolan Bryant 6.