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Girls Basketball: East Bladen 69, Whiteville 60

ELIZABETHTOWN – Senior Patience Ward blistered the nets with 37 points Friday night to lead East Bladen to a 69-60 Three Rivers Conference girls basketball victory over Whiteville.

Ward raced to the basket for 3 lay-ups and muscled in a pair of follow shots and a free throw during a 20-2 opening run for the Lady Eagles. Sophomore Alexus Mitchell dropped in a pair of lay-ups and a free throw, and freshman Maegan Burney turned a Ward assist into a lay-up and a free throw.

Whiteville’s Trinity Smith beat the buzzer with a half-court shot that trimmed the margin to 20-5 at the quarter break. Mitchell tossed in an 8-footer and a lay-up, and Ward netted a lay-up to pad the lead back to 26-5 in the second period.

The Lady Wolfpack bounced back with a 22-6 run keyed by I’Reona Johnson’s 11 points that included a trio of 3-point shots. Freshman AnnaGrey Heustess’ follow shot, and 2 free throws by Mitchell kept the Lady Eagles up 32-27 at halftime.

“We came out playing really good defense,” said Lady Eagle Coach Patty Evers. “Then we got in foul trouble and they shot the ball really well.” The Lady Wolfpack made eleven 3-point shots in the game.

Trinity Smith and Emily Hewitt sandwiched 3-point bombs around a Ward basket as Whiteville pulled to within 34-33 with 6:19 left in the third period.

The Lady Eagles responded with a 21-6 spurt. Sophomore Mya McDonald ignited the run with a lay-up, and Mitchell made 4 straight free throws. Ward turned 2 steals into 2 lay-ups, popped in a 4-footer, a short turn-around and banged in a pair of follow shots and a free throw. Junior Katie Evans threw in a lay-up for a 55-39 East lead at the quarter-break.

Rebound baskets by McDonald and Ward, a McDonald lay-up and a Heustess lay-up off of an Evans assist kept the Lady Eagle lead at 63-51. Ward closed out the game with 2 lay-ups and 2 free throws.

Ward just missed a triple double with 8 rebounds and 8 steals to go with her 37 points. Mitchell was close to a double-double with 15 points and 9 rebounds. Senior Lorna Mendell grabbed 9 rebounds, and McDonald racked up 7 points, 6 rebounds and 6 steals.

Smith made a trio of 3-pointers and led Whiteville with 21 points. Hewitt delivered four 3-point shots and totaled 17 points. Johnson connected on four 3-point shots and scored 16 points.

“We went to a box-and-one in the second half,” said Evers. “Katie Evans did a good job on No. 21 (Johnson). This was an up-and-down game – very intense. I think it was good for both teams. I am proud of the way my girls played.”

Johnson only hit one 3-point shot in the second half.

The Lady Eagles improved to 7-1 in league play and 12-3 overall and will travel to South Columbus Tuesday.

Whiteville       5  22  12  21 – 60
East Bladen  20  12  23  14 – 69

WHITEVILLE (60) – Trinity Smith 21, Alexandria Bellamy 1, Marnasia Smith 1, Jazmin Faison 4, I’Reona Johnson 16, Tessa Nicholson Emily Hewett 17.

EAST BLADEN (69) – Katie Evans 2, Lily Lin, Mya McDonald 7, Alexus Mitchell 15, AnnaGrey Heustess 4, Abbie Cross, Maegan Burney 3, Patience Ward 37, Lorna Mendell 1.

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