Junior John Bowen fired in 10 of his game-high 21 points during a 19-4 third period run that propelled West Bladen to a 53-30 boys basketball victory over South Columbus Monday night in the opening round of the East Columbus Christmas Tournament.
|Photos by Kenneth Armstrong
With the Knights leading 22-13 at halftime, Bowen tossed in a baseline jumper and put back a rebound to begin the second half then drilled in a 3-point shot from the left wing for a 29-13 West Bladen lead.
Bowen turned a feed from sophmore Jonathan Robinson into a lay-up and a three-point play. Robinson made a free throw, and senior Stefan McDonald stole the ball and raced for a lay-up and a 35-15 Knight lead.
Junior Kalvin Page dropped in a lay-up in transition, then stole the ball, was fouled and canned 2 free throws. Senior Malique McDowell sank two free throws to stretch the West lead to 41-17.
Junior Sayaun Dent hit 2 free throws and freshman Keshawn Lewis added one for the Knights to start the final quarter. Bowen put back a rebound, delivered a lay-up, drained a 3-point shot and slammed in a dunk off of a McDonald pass as the margin swelled to 53-24.
Bowen poured in 19 of his 21 points in the second half and also grabbed 4 rebounds. “When John plays aggressive on offense, he can be really good,” said Knight Coach Travis Pait.
McDonald finished with 14 points, 4 steals and 2 assists for West Bladen. “I thought Stefan played good in the second half,” added Coach Pait. “It seems like whenever Malique (McDowell) comes in, something good happens, and I though Jonathan (Robinson) had a good game for us.”
Dent grabbed a team-high 8 rebounds and collected 5 points and 2 assists. Page contributed 4 points and 5 rebounds.
McDonald buried a 3-point shot to start the game, and Lewis stole the ball and dashed for a lay-up. McDonald drove for a lay-up then turned a steal into another lay-up and a 9-6 lead at the quarter break.
Dent netted a free throw then converted a McDonald assist into a lay-up. Dent delivered passes to sophmore Shaquille Johnson and McDonald for lay-ups and a 16-6 lead.
Johnson found Bowen inside for another Knight lay-up, and Robinson cashed in a free throw. McDonald stole the ball and dashed ahead for a dunk and a 21-8 West Bladen lead.
West Bladen improves to 9-1 with the victory and will battle South Robeson – a 64-54 victor over East Columbus – in Tuesday night’s championship game at 7:30.
“We are getting there,” said Coach Pait. “We have to play better tomorrow if we want to win this tournament.”
Sophmore Nathan Pineda led South Columbus with 8 points, and junior Mason Hewitt followed with 6 points.
West Bladen (53) – Kalvin Page 4, Jimmy Williams 1, Keshawn Lewis 3, Michael Guyton, Gerardo Maldonado, Stefan McDonald 14, Sayaun Dent 5, Malique McDowell 2, Shaquille Johnson 2, Jonathan Russ, Jonathan Robinson 1, Will Lambeth, John Bowen 21.