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ELIZABETHTOWN – Senior Patience Ward blistered the nets with 45 points Friday night to lead East Bladen’s Lady Eagles to a 70-43 non-conference girls basketball victory over Jacksonville Northside.

“Patience deserves every bit of the praise for this,” said East Bladen Coach Patty Evers. “She has worked non-stop since last season to get better. She has worked to develop her outside shot.”

“I had no idea I had that many points,” said Ward. “I just tried to take the ball to the hole and score. My teammates played a big part in helping me.” She also shared that she tries to shoot between 200-300 practice shots every day.

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Photos by Kenneth Armstrong

Ward took charge early dropping in a lay-up on a give-and-go play, muscling in 2 follow shots, flipping in a runner then canning a turn-around, 3 free throws and nailing a 3-pointer. Sophmore Alexus Mitchell popped in a 15-footer for an 18-14 East lead at the quarter break.

Ward banked in a fade-away to start the 2nd period then delivered an assist to sophmore Mya McDonald for a lay-up. McDonald scored a transition lay-up then sent a pass to Mitchell for a lay-up. Ward banked in another fadeaway then threw in a 12-footer, a 15-footer and 2 free throws as the East lead grew to 36-21 at halftime.

McDonald began the second half with a lay-up off of a Katie Evans’ assist, and senior Lorna Mendell’s lay-up pushed the East Bladen lead to 40-23.

Alejandra Urraca ignited a 13-0 Northside run with a follow shot and added 2 free throws. Makenna Gibson bombed in a 3-pointer as the visitors pulled to within 40-36.

Ward drilled in a 15-footer, sank 2 free throws and turned a steal into another basket to boost the Lady Eagle lead to 47-39 at the quarter break.

A McDonald lay-up started the final quarter. Ward dropped in a lay-up off of a McDonald assist, banked in an 8-footer, and hit 2 free throws for a 55-43 East lead. McDonald drove for a lay-up then converted a steal into another lay-up.

Ward put back a rebound, stole the ball and raced for a lay-up then knocked down a 3-point bomb to finish off her 45-point night as East closed out the game with a 17-0 spurt.

‘I am as happy as I can be,” said Coach Evers. “This team makes it a lot of fun. They have great athleticism, and the defense is creating turnovers. If we can get to playing at our speed while correcting our mistakes, we can be really good.”

Ward’s 11 rebounds completed her double-double and she added 4 steals. McDonald just missed a double-double with 15 points, 9 steals and 6 rebounds. Mendell pulled down 7 rebounds, and Mitchell grabbed 6 rebounds.

Urraca topped the Lady Monarchs with 16 points, and Gibson and Ja’Nijah Simmons scored 7 points each.

East Bladen, now 2-0, will travel to Midway Monday night.

Northside     14    7  18   4 – 43
East Bladen 18  18  11  23 – 70

NORTHSIDE (43) – Kasia Scott 2, Tiara Fisher 2, Ja’Nijah Simmons 7, Jocelyn Alexander 2, Makayla Hilton 1, MaKenna Gibson 7, Alejandra Urraca 16, Ashley Boggs 6.

EAST BLADEN (70) – Katie Evans, Lily Lin, Mya McDonald 15, Alexus Mitchell 4, AnnaGrey Heustess, Karlie Priest, Abbie Cross, Maegan Burney, Patience Ward 45, Sara Gargala 4, Lorna Mendell 2.

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