04/16/2024
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By Sonny Jones

Wow! Wow! Wow! What a night for high school basketball in Bladen County.

Rivals West Bladen and East Bladen squaring off in three games inside a 1,200 seat East Bladen gymnasium that was packed before the start of the varsity girls game. The combined records of the four varsity teams was 37-8.

The crowd was loud, the atmosphere electric and the intensity was high. Heck, by the time I got home I was exhausted and all I did was sit and watch.

For the record, East Bladen won each game, claiming JV boys 27-13, varsity girls 72-41 and varsity boys 52-44, but the real winners were all of us who attended.

Can there be a 7-game series between the East Bladen and West Bladen boys basketball teams? Let’s go NBA-style.

The East Bladen boys beat the Knights for the eighth straight time, but, as usual, it was a battle. Friday’s game was the 23rd time in the past 39 meetings the outcome was decided by 10 points or less. West Bladen has won 25 of the past 39 meetings dating to 2006.

Experience makes a difference. The East Bladen boys started five seniors and are playing like it with an 11-1 record. West Bladen started a junior, two sophomores and two freshmen and are playing well with the best yet to come.

Great effort by all players in the three games, but a shout out to West Bladen’s Rylee Chadwick. The Knights’ leading scorer, she was shaken up a bit in the fourth quarter of a game that was well out of hand. She didn’t want to come out, but was escorted to the bench by Coach Brian McCleney. A few moments later she was back at the scorer’s table and set to return to the game. Chadwick finished with 22 points.

It’s a remarkable statistic. The East Bladen girls have lost only once to West Bladen since West Bladen opened in 2001-02. It came in 2007.

All of us inside the East Bladen gym Friday night need a weekend break to recover, but it was worth it. What a great night of high school basketball in Bladen County. Who’s ready for more? The teams will play at West Bladen on Monday, Jan. 30. Arrive early or possibly be left out in the cold.

TODAY IN SPORTS HISTORY

• 1972 — The Los Angeles Lakers defeat the Atlanta Hawks 134-90 for their 33rd straight victory, an NBA record.

POTATO PICKS TO WATCH TODAY

• BASKETBALL: Notre Dame at North Carolina, 11:30 a.m., ESPN2

• SOCCER: Udinese at Juventus, noon, CBSSN

• BASKETBALL: Duke at Boston College, 1 p.m., ACCN

• NHL: N.Y. Rangers at New Jersey, 1 p.m., NHLN

• BASKETBALL: Wake Forest at Louisville, 3 p.m., ACCN

• NHL: Carolina at Columbus, 4 p.m., BALLY SOUTH

• PGA: Tournament of Champions, 4 p.m., NBC and 6 p.m., GOLF

• NFL: Kansas City at Las Vegas, 4:30 p.m., ABC, ESPN

• NHL: Detroit at Toronto, 7 p.m., NHLN

• BASKETBALL: N.C. State at Virginia Tech, 7:30 p.m., BALLY SOUTH

• NFL: Tennessee at Jacksonville, 8:15 p.m., ABC, ESPN

• SOCCER: Guadalajara at Monterrey, 10 p.m., FS2

Sonny Jones can be reached at wibbyj@gmail.com.

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