ELIZABETHTOWN – Senior Patience Ward scored 23 of her 25 points in the fourth quarter and overtime as East Bladen rallied to defeat West Bladen 46-39 in their Three Rivers Conference regular-season finale.
The Eagles trailed 22-15 after 3 periods, before Ward dropped in a lay-up, and sophmore Mya McDonald made a free throw to trim the margin to 22-18. Senior Mikayla Meadows turned an assist from senior Seniah Johnson into a lay-up for a 24-18 Lady Knight lead.
Photos by Kenneth Armstrong
Lorna Mendell banged in a lay-up off of an in-bounds pass for East, and after a Meadows free throw, Ward converted a steal into a lay-up, canned 2 free throws then popped in a baseline jumper to a 26-25 Lady Eagle lead.
Senior Lexie Corrothers flipped in a runner, but Ward answered with a lay-up. Freshman Rylee Chadwick pumped in a 15-footer for a 29-28 West lead, but Ward faded away for an 8-footer and a 30-29 East lead.
Senior Kasee Singletary drove through the Lady Eagle defense for a lay-up then hit a free throw for a 32-30 Lady Knight lead with 17 seconds left. Ward beat the buzzer with a follow shot that sent the game to overtime.
“When the shot went up, I knew Patience would be there for the weak-side rebound,” said Lady Eagle Coach Patty Evers. “When the game is on the line, we are trying to get the ball to Patience or looking for her to rebound.”
Ward started the overtime with a lay-up, but Chadwick found Johnson on the baseline for a short jumper that tied the game a final time. McDonald buried a 3-point shot, and junior Katie Evans cashed in a free throw for a 38-34 East lead.
Corrothers popped in a short jumper, but Ward answered with 2 more lay-ups for a 42-36 lead. Corrothers bombed in a 3-ball to slice the deficit to 42-39, before Ward hurled a shot back over her head while falling out of bounds that banked in for a 44-39 lead with 31 seconds remaining. Ward and McDonald tacked on free throws in the closing seconds.
Ward also finished with 8 rebounds and 6 steals. McDonald barely missed a double-double with 9 points, 12 rebounds, 6 assists and 3 steals. Mendell totaled 5 points and 4 rebounds. Evans had 4 steals. Freshman AnnaGrey Heustess pulled down 8 rebounds, and junior Sara Gargala grabbed 4 rebounds.
“For AnnaGrey and Sara to play that many minutes in the second half and overtime was incredible,” noted Evers. “They were huge for us and gave us a lift with their defense and rebounding.”
Singletary led the Lady Knights with 14 points, and Corrothers finished with 12 points. Meadows scored 5 points before being lost to an injury in the closing minutes of regulation.
“Losing Mikayla was big because we really need her rebounding and defense,” said Lady Knight Coach Brian McCleney. “We only made 5 of 20 free throws. You can’t shoot that percentage and win. We also got careless with the ball in the second half.”
McCleney continued, “I can’t fault my team’s effort. This game meant a lot for our seniors and they are hurting right now. But we played really well effort-wise tonight and against St. Pauls Wednesday.
Singletary fired in a 3-point shot and another basket, Corrothers pumped in a pair of field goals, and Johnson netted 2 free throws as the Lady Knights raced to an 11-2 first period lead. McDonald scored the Lady Eagle basket.
Sophomore Alexus Mitchell rallied East with a basket and a free throw, Ward nailed 2 free throws, and Mendell hit one to whittle the margin to 16-8 at halftime. Singletary drained a 3-point shot, and sophmore Hannah Pait muscled in a basket for West.
Singletary buried another 3-ball then delivered a pass to Meadows for a lay-up as the West Bladen lead grew to 21-9 in the third quarter. Heustess powered in a lay-up, Mendell sank 2 free throws, and McDonald raced end-to-end for a lay-p. A Corrothers free throw kept the Lady Knight lead at 22-15.
“Our shooting was terrible,” said Evers. “But I think both teams deserved to win. They played their hearts out.”
East Bladen improved to 14-2 in league play and 20-4 overall. The Lady Eagles will host No. 7 seed East Columbus Monday night in the TRC tournament. The Lady Knights finished tied for third with an 11-5 league record and 14-7 overall mark. West Bladen will entertain Fairmont Monday night.
West Bladen 11 5 6 10 7 – 39
East Bladen 2 6 7 17 14 – 46
WEST BLADEN (39) – Haley George, Ocean Woody, Kasee Singletary 14, Lexie Corrothers 12, Seniah Johnson 4, Rylee Chadwick 2, Mikayla Meadows 5, Hannah Pait 2, Jamiyah Melvin-Hall.
EAST BLADEN (46) – Katie Evans 1, Mya McDonald 9, Alexus Mitchell 4, AnnaGrey Heustess 2, Abbie Cross, Maegan Burney, Patience Ward 25, Sara Gargala, Lorna Mendell 5.Share: