Photos by Kenneth Armstrong
ELIZABETHTOWN- A key Lorna Mendell rebound and Erica McKoy basket in the final minute salted away a 40-33 victory for East Bladen over West Bladen in a battle of Three Rivers Conference girls basketball unbeaten teams.
Mendell grabbed the rebound of a missed Lady Eagle free throw and flipped a pass to McKoy who popped in a 6-footer to give East Bladen a 38-33 lead with 50 seconds remaining. Senior Ja’Tyra Moore-Peterson tacked on 2 more free throws for the final margin.
“Small things become key in a close game,” said Lady Knight Coach Brian McCleney. “We failed to box out and it cost us, but my girls played their tails off. They never quit.”
“Great defensive game by both teams,” said Lady Eagle Coach Patty Evers. “Brian does a great job, and they have been a good defensive team since he has been there. I am happy we pulled it out. It was a great game and a good atmosphere.”
Moore-Peterson knocked in a corner 3-ball, and Mendell dropped in a lay-up for an early 5-0 East lead. Junior Kasee Singletary canned a corner jumper, and junior Lexie Corrothers drove the baseline for a lay-up that sliced the margin to 5-4.
McKoy pulled up for a 12-footer, Moore-Peterson added a lay-up, and junior Patience Ward pumped in a 13-footer for an 11-4 Lady Eagle lead.
After Corrothers drilled in a 3-pointer, senior Anna Kate White’s follow shot kept East up 13-7 at the quarter break.
McKoy turned a steal into a lay-up, but senior Carley Dawson hooked in a follow for West. Moore-Peterson threw in a runner, but Corrothers sank 4 straight free throws to close the gap to 17-13 at halftime.
McKoy started the second half with a runner, but Corrothers hit 2 free throws, and freshman Haley George banked in a runner to keep West within 20-17.
After Moore-Peterson banked in a turn-around, Corrothers made 2 foul shots, George tossed in a runner, and junior Mikayla Meadows converted a Singletary assist into a lay-up that put the Lady Knights on top 23-22.
Moore-Peterson answered with a 3-pointer, and McKoy cashed in 2 free throws to put East ahead 27-23 at the quarter break.
Dawson turned a Singletary assist into a Corrothers lay-up, but Ward raced for a lay-up off of a turnover. A Dawson assist resulted in a lay-up and a 3-point play that pulled West to within 29-28 with 5:34 remaining.
Moore-Peterson capitalized on a steal for a 3-point play, but a Corrothers follow shot trimmed the East lead to 32-30. A McKoy transition lay-up and a Moore-Peterson runner padded the lead to 36-31.
Singletary raced end-to-end for a lay-up that whittled the margin to 36-33 with 1:36 left.
Moore-Peterson led the Lady Eagles with 19 points and 6 rebounds. McKoy contributed 12 points and 4 rebounds, and Ward added 5 points and 7 rebounds. Senior Ashley Hardin, Mendell, and White grabbed 4 rebounds each.
Corrothers sparked the Lady Knights with 18 points and 5 rebounds. Singletary finished with 5 points and 4 rebounds. George and Dawson tallied 4 points each.
Scjada Ellison pulled down 6 rebounds, and Meadows collected 5 rebounds. George and Dawson had 4 rebounds each.
“It was a rivalry game and both teams competed really hard,” said Coach McCleney. “Patty has set the standard for girls basketball in this area. Ja’Tyra shot the ball well, and Patience does a great job for them down low.”
The Lady Eagles lead the TRC with a 10-0 record and are 15-1 overall. East Bladen will play at Whiteville Tuesday.
The Lady Knights, now 7-1 in league play and 10-3 overall, will host Fairmont Tuesday.
West Bladen 7 6 10 10 – 33
East Bladen 13 4 10 13 – 40
WEST BLADEN (33) – Haley George 4, Tatiana Hunt, Kasee Singletary 5, Lexie Corrothers 18, Carley Dawson 4, Seniah Johnson, Mikayla Meadows 2, Scjada Ellison.
EAST BLADEN (40) – Erica McKoy 12, Mya McDonald, Anna Kate White 2, Patience Ward 5, Ashley Hardin, Ja’Tyra Moore-Peterson 19, Lorna Mendell 2.Share: