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ST PAULS – Junior Erica McKoy and sophmore Patience Ward combined for 21 second-half points as East Bladen’s Lady Eagles rallied for a 53-46 Three Rivers Conference girls basketball victory over St. Pauls Tuesday night.

St. Pauls led 22-21 at halftime, but McKoy scored a tying lay-up in transition, and Ward beat the Bulldogs down the court for a trio of baskets. Senior Shardajah Brown pumped in a 10-footer and a 17-footer plus a free throw for the Lady Eagles.

Junior Ja’Tyra Moore-Peterson popped in a 10-footer as East Bladen took a 36-32 lead at the quarter break.

Ward started the final period with a free throw and a transition lay-up, and junior Anna Kate White turned a McKoy assist into a lay-up and a 41-36 lead, but St Pauls tied the game 41-41 on Jivee Nettles-Graham’s 3-point basket.

McKoy flipped in a baseline jumper and a free throw, nailed a 3-point shot from the right wing and a transition lay-up for a 49-43 lead with 2:51 left. Nettles-Graham pumped in a 3-point shot to close the gap to 49-46 with 2:40 remaining.

Back came McKoy to drill a corner jumper with 2:04 left. A pair of Moore-Peterson free throws with 38 seconds on the clock sealed the verdict.

McKoy led all scorers with 19 points and had 5 rebounds and 2 assists. Ward finished with 15 points and added 6 rebounds, 4 steals and 4 assists. Moore-Peterson totaled 10 points, 8 rebounds, 8 assists and 2 steals.

“Erica did a good job for us tonight, and Patience got out in transition and beat them down the floor,” said East Bladen Coach Patty Evers. “But we missed ten lay-ups in the first quarter. We can’t continue to start games like that.”

Junior Ashley Hardin contributed 6 steals, 5 rebounds and 2 steals for the winners. Brown grabbed 5 rebounds, and Brown added 5 points and 4 rebounds. Sophmore Lorna Mendell pulled down 4 rebounds.

Moore-Peterson tossed in 2 baskets and 2 free throws, and Ward netted a basket as East Bladen battled to an 8-8 first quarter tie.

McKoy took charge in the second quarter with 3 baskets and a free throw. Ward pumped in 2 baskets, and Mendell dropped in a basket to keep the Lady Eagles within 22-21 at halftime.

“Our defense was not good,” said Coach Evers. “I am happy to get the win, but not with the way we played.”

T. J. Eichelberger topped the St. Pauls scoring with 15 points.

The Lady Eagles stretched their winning streak to 14 games and lead the Three Rivers with a 13-1 record and an 18-1 overall mark. East Bladen travels to South Robeson Wednesday night.

EAST BLADEN (53) – Katie Evans, Erica McKoy 19, Kaley Smith, Shardajah Brown 5, Anna Kate White 2, Patience Ward 15, Ashley Hardin, Ja’Tyra Moore-Peterson 10, Lorna Mendell 2.