By Sonny Jones
Who needs Duke-Carolina? We have a Bladen County boys basketball rivalry second to none.
The latest chapter came Monday night when Tylik McCall scored with 1.4 seconds remaining in overtime that gave West Bladen a 54-52 win against East Bladen in a wild game played in front of packed and raucous house inside The Castle.
An instant class, for sure.
The Knights avenged a 52-44 loss at East Bladen on Jan. 6 in a game that saw the Eagles pull away over the final four minutes. The Eagles Nest had standing room only prior to the start of the girls game that night.
East Bladen had won the previous eight meetings between the teams prior to Monday night. West Bladen won 14 straight between 2006 and 2012, according to MaxPreps.com. Overall, since 2006, West Bladen has won 26 of 40 meetings, and 23 of the games during that span have been decided by less than 10 points.
Both programs have had their down seasons over the past decade or so, but both are back competing for conference titles and hoping to go deep in the upcoming state playoffs. The combined overall record is 29-10 (East 15-4 and West 14-6)
The two meetings between the teams this season have been exciting, intense, loud and well worth the price of admission. It’s great for the Bladen County sports scene.
As I wrote the day after the first meeting, Can There Be A 7-Game East-West Boys Basketball Series? You know, NBA-style.
That’s not going to happen, of course. But a third meeting in the upcoming Southeastern Athletic Conference tournament is a strong possibility. Unfortunately, the tournament semifinals and finals are being played at Clinton High School which will cut down on the home gym atmosphere, but the teams are evenly matched so the game should be tight.
If we really want to be greedy — and, of course, we do — let’s add a fourth meeting in the state playoffs. That game would be played on the home court of the higher seed.
Let’s do it!
• With two weeks left in the regular season, the SAC-7 boys basketball standings are jumbled and tight at the top. East Bladen is 7-2, St. Pauls and Red Springs each are 6-2. West Bladen is 5-3. Each team will play 12 conference games.
East Bladen has games at Fairmont (2-6), home against Red Springs and at St. Pauls to end the season.
West Bladen has games at Fairmont, home against Red Springs, home against St. Pauls and at Midway (3-6).
• Range for verified resale tickets on Ticketmaster for Super Bowl LVII are going from $5,700 each in upper deck corner end zone to $25,000 each for midfield second deck on Philadelphia’s side of the field. You could get a seat for only $20,000 on Row 24 midfield. Or, you can watch from home on TV for just a few bucks unless you’re planning to have some deviled eggs or an omelet.
TODAY IN SPORTS HISTORY
• 2015 — Serena Williams wins her 19th Grand Slam title and extends her decade-long domination of Maria Sharapova with a commanding 6-3, 7-6 (5) win.
POTATO PICKS TO WATCH TODAY
• SOCCER: Atalanta at Inter Milan, 3 p.m., CBSSN
• BASKETBALL: Wake Forest at Duke, 7 p.m., ESPN
• NHL: Los Angeles at Carolina, BALLY SOUTH
• BASKETBALL: Virginia Commonwealth at Davidson, 7 p.m., CBSSN
• NBA: LA Lakers at New York, 7:30 p.m., TNT
• NBA: New Orleans at Denver, 10 p.m., TNT
Sonny Jones can be reached at email@example.com.