ST PAULS – Tall and talented St. Pauls pounded the boards and forced 28 turnovers en route to a 65-22 girls basketball victory over East Bladen Friday night in a battle of Three Rivers Conference unbeaten teams.
Led by the 6-foot sophomore twins, Taliya and Tamyra Council, and 6-foot senior Iyania Evans the Lady Bulldogs outrebounded the Lady Eagles 32-16. The Council twins were instrumental in the St. Pauls full-court pressure defense.
“Those twins are very long and they worked their press very well. It was efficient,” said Lady Eagle Coach Patty Evers. “We couldn’t outmuscle them.”
East Bladen senior Patience Ward sank a pair of technical free throws to start the game due to a St. Pauls scorebook error. A pair of turnovers led to 4 straight St. Pauls baskets and an 8-2 lead, but sophomore Mya McDonald hit a free throw then nailed a 3-point shot to narrow the gap to 8-6.
Sophomore Alexus Mitchell worked the baseline for a lay-up that kept East within 12-8, before two lay-ups from freshman Jakieya Thompson and 4 points from T. J. Eichelberger keyed a 12-2 St. Pauls run.
Three baskets from Thompson and 6 points from Eichelberger sparked the Lady Bulldogs to a 44-13 halftime lead. Freshman Maegan Burney threw in a follow shot, and freshman AnnaGrey Heustess sank a free throw for the Lady Eagles in the period.
Shakiya Floyd popped in 3 baskets and Thompson added 5 points in the third quarter for St. Pauls. McDonald drove for a pair of Lady Eagle lay-ups and sent a pass to Ward for another lay-up. Ward also tossed in a 12-footer and a free throw.
McDonald topped the Lady Eagle scoring with 10 points, and Ward finished with 7 points and 5 rebounds.
Thompson led St. Pauls with 18 points. Floyd and Eichelberger contributed 12 points each, and Taliyah Council totaled 10 points.
“We will go back to work and try to get better,” said Evers. It was the first conference loss for East Bladen since December, 2017 – a string of 37 straight TRC wins.
East Bladen, now 4-1 in league play and 9-3 overall, will host East Columbus Tuesday night.
East Bladen 10 3 9 0 – 22
St Pauls 24 20 19 2 – 65
East Bladen (22)- Katie Evans, Lily Lin, Mya McDonald 10, Alexus Mitchell 2, AnnaGrey Heustess 1, Karlie Priest, Abbie Cross, Maegan Burney 2, Patience Ward 7, Sara Gargala, Aaniyah Jackson, Lorna Mendell, Makayla Dixon.
St. Pauls (65) – Marckia Galbreath 2, T. J. Eichelberger 12, Jakieya Thompson 18, Larkan Maynor, Shakiya Floyd 12, Taliya Council 10, Tamyra Council 2, Iyania Evans 9.