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ELIZABETHTOWN – Sophmore Ja’Tyra Moore-Peterson and freshman Patience Ward combined for 27 points and 15 rebounds to lead East Bladen to a 45-23 victory over Whiteville Monday night in the opening round of the East Bladen Holiday Classic.

Moore-Peterson filled the stat sheet with a game-high 15 points, 6 steals, 5 rebounds and 3 assists. Ward posted a double-double with 12 points and 10 rebounds. Ward also matched Moore-Peterson’s total of 6 steals.

“The girls played hard,” said Lady Eagle Coach Patty Evers. “It was nice to see Patience get the double-double.”

Moore-Peterson dropped in a lay-up in transition and hit a free throw to begin the East Bladen scoring. Ward drove for a lay-up then turned a Moore-Peterson assist into a lay-up and a 7-2 lead at the quarter break.

Junior Shardajah Brown nailed a pair of 15-foot jumpers to start the second period. Ward flipped in a baseline 4-footer, and sophmore Ashley Hardin muscled in a rebound.

Ward and Moore-Peterson sank free throws, before freshman Lorna Mendell stole the ball and pitched ahead to Ward for a lay-up and a 19-8 East lead at halftime.

A feed from Moore-Peterson on an in-bounds pass resulted in a Hardin lay-up to start the second half. Moore-Peterson stole the ball and raced for a lay-up then turned a rebound into a 3-point play.

Mendell scored on a follow-shot, Moore-Peterson canned 2 free throws and Ward hit one as the lead grew to 31-14 at the third quarter break.

Moore-Peterson pumped in a short baseline jumper to start the fourth period.  Senior Emily Scott threw in a twisting runner from the baseline then scooped in an acrobatic shot for a 37-16 lead.

Moore-Peterson turned a Scott assist into a lay-up. Ward sank 2 free throws, Brown put back a rebound, and Mendell banked in a 6-footer to cap the Lady Eagle scoring.

Brown contributed 6 points and 5 rebounds. Scott, Hardin and Mendell added 4 points each. Mendell pulled down 7 rebounds. Scott and senior Yolanda Coston grabbed 5 rebounds each. Hardin collected 4 rebounds, and Scott dished out 3 assists.

The Lady Eagles outrebounded Whiteville 38-27 and forced 33 Lady Wolfpack turnovers.

“We still make too many mistakes,” said Coach Evers. “We need to stop thinking too much and just play basketball. Just play.”

The Lady Eagles improved to 8-2 and will play East Columbus Tuesday at 6:30. Whiteville, now 1-4, battles West Bladen at 5 p.m.

EAST BLADEN (45) – Kaley Smith, Justyna Gargala, Shardajah Brown 6, Emily Scott 4, Anna Kate White, Patience Ward 12, Ashley Hardin 4, Ja’Tyra Moore-Peterson 15, Yolanda Coston, Lorna Mendell 4.