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Boys Basketball: Whiteville 58, East Bladen 53

ELIZABETHTOWN – Junior Wendell Smith sank 6 of 8 free throws in the final 29 seconds to preserve a 58-53 Three Rivers Conference boys basketball victory for Whiteville over East Bladen Friday night.

Senior Corey McKoy banked in a runner and tacked on a free throw to edge East Bladen ahead 46-45 with 4:13 left to play. Four Eagle turnovers led to a pair of K. J. Hall lay-ups and 2 Antonio McFadden free throws that put Whiteville on top 52-46 at the 1:08 mark.

Juniors RaSean McKoy and Javant McDowell canned 2 free throws each to rally the Eagles to within 52-50 with 46 seconds on the clock, before Smith’s free throw run sealed the verdict.

Smith led the winners with 22 points, and Hall followed with 10 points. McDowell posted a double-double of 13 points and 10 rebounds for East Bladen. Rasean McKoy contributed 9 points and 5 rebounds. Senior Juwan Baldwin added 8 points, 8 rebounds and 3 blocks.

Baldwin muscled in a pair of follow shots, junior Jacob Priest tossed in a runner and 3 free throws, and RaSean McKoy nailed a 3-point shot as the Eagles grabbed a 12-5 first quarter lead.

McDowell threw in a runner, and junior Donevin Keith flipped in an acrobatic shot to keep the Eagles up 16-9. John Baldwin, a 6-8 sophmore, and Smith then sparked a 13-0 run that vaulted the Wolfpack ahead 22-16.

McDowell popped in a follow shot and 2 free throws, and Keith and RaSean McKoy drove for lay-ups to rally East Bladen into a 25-25 tie at halftime.

Keith opened the third period with a 3-point basket, and McDowell, RaSean McKoy and Baldwin dropped in transition lay-ups. McDowell powered in a follow, and senior Tayshaun Berkeley bombed in a 3-pointer to give the Eagles a 39-30 lead.

Senior Ty Moss scored twice inside to ignite a 9-0 Wolfpack run that McDowell halted with a free throw that gave East Bladen a 40-39 lead at the quarter break.

Corey McKoy drained a 3-point shot then added the old-fashioned 3-point play that gave the Eagles their final lead at 46-45.

Eagle Coach Aking Elting said, “Turnovers and free throw shooting – that’s been the story of our season.” The Eagles finished with 27 turnovers in the game – 9 in the final quarter and 10 in the second period.

“I am so proud of my guys,” continued Elting. “They fought so hard and just kept playing all the way to the end. Donevin Keith played the entire game because our other point guards are out with injuries, and Corey McKoy really stepped up for us tonight.”

Keith and Corey McKoy finished with 7 points each. Priest added 6 points.

East Bladen, now 2-10 overall, will travel to South Columbus Tuesday night.

Whiteville       5  20  14  21 – 58
East Bladen  12  13  15  13 – 53

WHITEVILLE (58) – Wendell Smith 22, Zion Wilson 4, Ty Moss 5, K. J. Hall 10, Antonio McFadden 3, William Goodwin 3, Ervin Moore 2, Bryson Cokley 3, Isaiah Currie, John Baldwin 6.

EAST BLADEN (53) – Donevin Keith 7, Tayshaun Berkeley 3, RaSean McKoy 9, Zach Meares, Javant McDowell 13, Corey McKoy 7, Juwan Baldwin 8, Jacob Priest 6.

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