“I challenged him at halftime,” said Knight Coach Travis Pait. “He was doing everything right as a point guard in the first half and getting everyone involved, but he needed to pick it up offensively himself.”
The Knights trailed 35-29 at halftime, but Purdie lobbed in a floater to start the half. Sophmore Sayaun Dent turned a rebound into a 3-point play, and senior Brandon Council powered in another rebound basket.
Junior Stephon McDonald scooped in a lay-up under Raider center Parris Smith, senior Malcolm Vaught hit a free throw, and Purdie banked in an 8-footer.
Purdie nailed two more 3-point shots in the quarter, and freshman Jonathan Robinson and McDonald netted free throws to keep West on top 53-48 at the quarter break.
Two quick Raider baskets trimmed the margin to 53-52, but Vaught fired in a 3-pointer, and Purdie pulled up at the elbow, hung in the air and popped in a 12-footer which turned into a 3-point play. Vaught drove for a lay-up that upped the count to 61-52.
Purdie sank 2 foul shots, and Vaught stole the ball and raced for a lay-up that kept the margin at 65-56. Midway answered with an 8-1 run to slice the lead to 66-64 with 1:23 on the clock.
Senior center Brandon Council and Purdie sank 2 free throws each with their team only up by a point. McDonald made 3 of 4 foul shots to stretch the Knight lead to 73-67 with 31 seconds left.
Jamarrious Baggett’s 3-pointer with 11 seconds remaining sliced the West lead to 73-70. Brian Floyd secured a rebound in the final second to preserve the victory.
Vaught rang up 15 points and grabbed 8 rebounds for the Knights before fouling out with 2:12 left, and McDonald posted a double-double of 15 points and 12 rebounds.”I told Stephon that I needed 11 rebounds from him tonight,” said Coach Pait. “And he went out and got 12.”
“We did a good job of executing down the stretch,” said Coach Pait. “We just had some things not go our way.”
Smith led the Raiders with 17 points, and guard Darius Perez finished with 15 points, Baggett chipped in with 12.
Vaught and McDonald buried 3-point shots in the game’s first minute, and McDonald converted a steal into a lay-up and a quick 8-0 lead. Two McDonald foul shots and a Vaught transition lay-up kept West on top 12-6.
McDonald’s assist set up a Purdie lay-up as the Knights held on to a 14-11 lead at the break.
Midway went up 16-14 to begin the second period, but Vaught fired in a 3-ball for a 17-16 lead. A McDonald driving lay-up kept West ahead 19-18, and Dent tossed in 2 free throws for a 21-20 lead.
After a 5-0 Midway burst, West senior Joseph Miller took a pass from junior Daquan Lennon and dropped in a lay-up. Purdie added a lay-up and a 17-foot jumper, and Lennon powered in a rebound, but Midway rode a 15-8 run to the 35-29 halftime lead.
“We had to have this one,” said Coach Pait. “This gets us right back in the conference race, and it is a race.’ Midway, Heide Trask and Clinton are all tied for first place at 4-2, and the Knights, East Bladen and Pender are just a game back in the loss column.
West Bladen snapped last week’s 3-game skid and improved to 2-3 in the Four County and 11-3 overall. The Knights travel to county rival East Bladen Wednesday night.
WB (73) – Justin Ruffin, Joseph Miller 2, Rahu Purdie 29, Malcolm Vaught 15, Daquan Lennon 2, Stephon McDonald 15, Brian Floyd, Sayaun Dent 5, Jonathan Robinson 1, Brandon Council 4, A. J. Council.