East Bladen’s transfer to the Waccamaw Conference has moved their head-to-head battles with West Bladen to earlier in the season, so both schools will enter Tuesday’s games at West having played only 1 game each.
West Bladen’s boys pounded South Brunswick 65-28, while East Bladen edged West Brunswick 54-52 on Ronnie Covington’s basket at the buzzer in their respective openers. Coach Aking Elting’s Eagles only dressed 7 players for that win due to football, but all of the football players should be back Tuesday night.
Last season a 7-0 run in the last 2:55 resulted in a 52-44 Eagle victory at East. Jacob Nixon, Malcolm Bolden, Zamar Lewis and Yonteee Dobson all scored in double-figures, but all 4 of them have departed via graduation.
Tylik McCall’s rebound basket with 1.4 seconds left in overtime lifted the Knights to a 54-52 overtime victory in the 2nd meeting at West. Jackson Pait buried 7 3-pointers for 24 points, and Chase Williams posted a double-double of 17 points and 14 rebounds.
The Knights and Eagles went on to tie for the Southeastern Athletic Conference championship. East Bladen was runner-up in the SAC Tournament to St. Pauls who defeated West Bladen in the semifinals.
Williams, a 6-foot-7 center, tallied 25 points and 9 rebounds in the opening win over South. Hezekiah Adams followed with 13 points and 4 steals, and Pait rang up 12 points and 3 assists. McCall, a sophomore, and senior Andre Moore also return and are joined by freshman Kendell Lessane.
Sherman Long drained four 3-point shots and led the Eagles with 16 points in the victory over West Brunswick. Teammate Dominick Collins connected on 7 of 9 free throws and tallied 13 points. Senior Lee Barnes bombed in a trio of 3-pointers for 9 points, and Covington, sophomore Tevin McLean, junior Chace Butler and Shannon Hankins rounded out the East roster in their opener.
Junior Laila Smith fired in 16 points to lead Coach Patty Evers’ Lady Eagles to a 44-35 victory over West Brunswick in their opener. Junior Iveonna “NeNe” Ward and sophomore Ariel Cromartie tossed in 11 points each for East.
West Bladen led early against South Brunswick in their opener, but a 29-14 2nd half surge propelled the Lady Cougars to a 54-30 victory. Junior center Alina Chavez dropped in 12 points to lead the Lady Knights, and senior Mallory Bryan added 7 points.
Last season Laila Smith posted a double-double of 25 points and 15 rebounds in a 72-41 East win on their home court. AnnaGrey Heustess recorded a double-double of 13 points and 10 blocks. Maegan Burney tallied 12 points and Ward added 9 points and 4 assists.
At West Bladen Ward poured in 27 points and Laila Smith rang up 25 points in a 70-29 East Bladen win. Rylee Chadwick led the Lady Knights with 22 points in the 1st game and 10 points in the 2nd meeting. Lainey Autry scored 11 points in the 2nd game.
East Bladen’s Heustess and Burney and West Bladen’s Chadwick and Autry have all graduated.
The JV boys game will begin the East-West tripleheader at 4:30 Tuesday followed by the varsity girls and boys.