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Girls Basketball: Clinton 36, West Bladen 34

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BLADENBORO – An 18-6 West Bladen closing run came up just short Friday night as Clinton escaped with a 36-34 non-conference girls’ basketball victory over the Lady Knights.

Clinton led 30-16 in the final minutes of the third quarter, but West senior Lexie Corrothers drove for a lay-up, and senior Seniah Johnson turned a Hannah Pait assist into a lay-up. Sophmore Haley George stole the ball and beat the quarter buzzer with a lay-up that sliced the margin to 30-22.

Junior Isa Banks flipped in a runner to push the Clinton lead to 33-23, but senior Seniah Johnson converted a Corrothers pass into a lay-up then drove for another lay-up trim the lead to 33-27.

Banks who led Clinton with 21 points knocked down a long jumper, but Pait powered in a lay-up off of a Corrothers assist. Senior Mikayla Meadows muscled in a follow shot then banked in another basket off of an assist from Johnson to pull West to within 35-33 at the 1:02 mark.

Clinton’s Zaniah Faison hit a free throw, but Meadows answered with a free throw to whittle the lead to 36-34 with 18 seconds left. West Bladen had 2 shot attempts at the tying basket in the final seconds.

“I am proud of our effort in battling back,” said Lady Knight Coach Brian McCleney. “The girls could have packed it in. Our energy level was low in the first half, so we can use this as a learning experience that we have to be ready to play all 4 quarters. We missed 14 points worth of lay-ups in the first half.”

Johnson topped the West Bladen scoring with 10 points, George followed with 6 points, and Meadows and senior Kasee Singletary added 5 points each.

Singletary nailed a 3-point shot and another 2-point shot in the opening period, but Banks fired in a 3-ball and 2 other baskets to edge Clinton ahead 7-5 at the quarter break.

Johnson and Pait popped in Lady Knight baskets in the second quarter, but the Lady Dark Horses opened up a 17-12 halftime lead.

The Lady Knights, now 5-2 overall, will host Whiteville Friday night.

Clinton          7  10  13   6 – 36
West Bladen  5   5  12  12 –34

CLINTON (36) – DeKyla Moore 1, Zaniah Faison 1, Isa Banks 21, Khaliah Chestnutt 6, NaKeviah Evans 7, Emily Rich, Brianna Jordan, Zebria Vann.

WEST BLADEN (34) – Lainey Autry, Haley George 6, Kasee Singletary 5, Lexie Corrothers 4, Seniah Johnson 10, Rylee Chadwick, Mikayla Meadows 5, Hannah Pait 4.