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East Bladen blitzed Whiteville with a 44-8 first half surge en route to a 59-23 girls basketball victory on the opening day of the East Bladen Holiday Classic.

Senior Lacey Suggs lit up the scoreboard with 18 of her game-high 20 points in the first half. Suggs also came up with 4 steals. Senior guard Abby Ward racked up 11 points, 7 rebounds, 7 assists and 4 steals.

Freshman Ashley Hardin tallied 8 points and grabbed 7 rebounds for the winners. Senior center Christiana Cromartie added 6 points and 5 rebounds. Freshman Ja’Tyra Moore-Peterson finished with 6 points and 3 assists. Senior Miller Heustess dished out 4 assists.

Dellosia Freeman banked in a runner for an early Whiteville lead, but Suggs drove for a 3-point play, hit another free throw, then drained a 3-point shot.

Heustess canned an 8-footer, and Suggs drilled a 17-footer from the key. A Suggs pass produced a Hardin lay-up, and Ward flipped in a short jumper off a feed from Cromartie.

Suggs canned 2 free throws, and a Heustess pass resulted in a Cromartie lay-up. Hardin made a free throw, then popped in a baseline jumper off of a feed from Ward. Ward popped in a runner to close the period with East Bladen ahead 24-3.

Cromartie dropped in a lay-up in transition to begin the East second quarter attack. Suggs turned a Ward pass into a 3-point play, and Ward stole the ball and threw in a lay-up. Junior Emily Scott made 2 foul shots, and a pair of Ward assists led to lay-ups for Suggs and Cromartie.

Moore-Peterson sent a pass to Suggs for a lay-up then put back a rebound that grew the East lead to 41-5. Ward beat the halftime buzzer with a 3-pointer from the top of the key for the 44-8 halftime lead.

“We worked together really good in the first half,” said East Bladen Coach Patty Evers. “I was pleased with our play in the first half. I tried to be conservative tonight because we have to play on back-to-back nights.”

East Bladen remains unbeaten at 11-0 on the season and will play North Brunswick at 6:30 tonight in the final game of the Classic. Whiteville will battle West Bladen in Tuesday’s 5 p.m. opener.

East Bladen (59) – Abby Ward 11, Lexie Mendell 2, Shardajah Brown, Emily Scott 2, Lacey Suggs 20, Miller Heustess 2, Danielle McDowell 2, Christiana Cromartie 6, Ashley Hardin 8, Ja’Tyra Moore-Peterson 6.

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