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By John Clark

BLADENBORO – The last two weeks have been extremely tough for West Bladen Coach Travis Pait, his son, point guard Jackson Pait and their family. The funeral for Joe Walters – father of Coach Pait’s wife Heather and Jackson’s grandfather was Tuesday afternoon.

“I didn’t even know if Jackson would play tonight,” said Coach Pait. “It has been hard on all of us with a coach and a player going through this, but we had a team meeting and talked about picking each other up and this team really cares about each other.”

Jackson gave the Knights what Coach Pait called “a real shot in the arm” by nailing his first four 3-point shots and posting a career-high 21 points, 6 assists and 4 rebounds to lead West Bladen to a 69-42 Southeastern Athletic Conference basketball victory over Clinton Tuesday night.

Sophomore center Chase Williams recorded a double-double of 19 points and 12 rebounds for the winners. Sophomore Hezekiah Adams racked up 9 points, 2 steals and 3 assists. Senior Gary Parker delivered 8 points and 5 rebounds. Junior Andre Moore dished out 2 assists.

Pait started the 3-point barrage 34 seconds into the game, and freshman Tylik McCall drilled in a corner 3-ball for a 6-0 lead. Adams stole the ball and sprinted for a lay-up, and Williams sank 2 free throws for a 10-2 advantage.

After Clinton’s Zy’mel McLellan pulled up for a 12-footer, Pait drained 3 consecutive 3-pointers capping the barrage with a 25-footer that exploded the lead to 19-4. Adams swished a 3-ball to stretch the lead to 22-4. The Knights made 6 of their first 8 3-point shots in the game.

An Adams assist resulted in a Williams lay-up, and Adams stole the ball and found Williams inside for a hook shot extended the lead to 26-6. Parker converted a Moore assist into a lay-up, then Parker sent a pass to Williams for a lay-up and a 30-9 lead.

Parker hit a free throw, before Pait connected again on his 5th 3-pointer of the game. Adams worked a spin move in the lane for a bucket, then put back a rebound as the lead grew to 38-18 at halftime.

Williams started the 2nd half with a lay-up and 2 free throws then turned a feed from Pait into a 3-point play and a 45-20 lead. Moore buried a 3-ball then delivered an assist to senior Anthony Mitchell for a lay-up and a 50-26 lead.

Pait sent an assist to Parker for a lay-up to begin the final period then knocked down 2 free throws. Two more Pait assists resulted in Williams’ lay-ups, before senior Walter Bealon and Pait tossed in 2 free throws each. Parker and Mitchell made free throws, and Pait banked in a runner off of an Adams assist. Parker drove for a lay-up, and junior Cornelius Esters netted a free throw.

Junior Josiah McLaurin led the Dark Horses with 11 points, and junior Walker Spell hurled in a 3-point shot from behind the mid-court line to end the 3rd period. Spell finished with 8 points.

The Knights improved to 4-3 in the SAC-7 and 13-6 overall and will host rival East Bladen Monday night. Clinton, now 0-7 in SAC-7 and 3-13 overall, will entertain East Bladen Thursday night.

Clinton               5  13  11  13 – 42
West Bladen  22  16  12  19 – 69

Clinton (42) – Camden Davis 1, Walker Spell 8, T. K. Raynor 7, Javier Joyner, Cashmon Edwards 1, Ny’Darion Blackwell 6, Jaymon Bryant 1, Henry Faison 1, Tarik Dyches 2, Josiah McLaurin 11, Gregory Coxum, Zy’mel McLellan 4.

West Bladen (69) – Jackson Pait 21, Hezekiah Adams 9, Tylik McCall 3, Andre Moore 3, Cornelius Esters 1, Gary Parker 8, Walter Bealon 2, Anthony Mitchell 3, Chase Williams 19.

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