BLADENBORO – West Bladen survived a second-half Whiteville rally and pulled out a 45-42 Three Rivers Conference girls’ basketball victory Friday night.
Sophomore Trinity Smith bombed in a pair of 3-point shots and 2 more baskets to ignite a 15-5 Lady Wolfpack run that tied the game 32-32 with 7:11 left to play.
“We kind of got careless and lazy with the ball when we had the lead and that is something that we have had trouble with before,” said Lady Knight Coach Brian McCleney.
Senior Lexie Corrothers raced end-to-end for a lay-up to ignite a Lady Knight rally. Sophomore Haley George and senior Kasee Singletary cashed in free throws, and senior Mikayla Meadows banked in a 4-footer off of a Corrothers assist as West forged a 38-32 lead.
Freshman Rylee Chadwick scored on a follow for the Lady Knights, but Trinity Smith canned another 3-ball to trim the margin to 40-37. Chadwick turned a Corrothers assist into a lay-up and a 42-37 lead with 1:36 on the clock.
Two free throws by Alexandria Bellamy narrowed the gap to 42-39, but George knocked in 2 key free throws with 23 seconds remaining. Another George free throw upped the count to 45-39 at the 9-second mark. A Trinity Smith 3-ball at the buzzer sliced the final margin to 45-42.
Singletary led the Lady Knights with 13 points, 6 rebounds and 4 assists. Senior Seniah Johnson scored 10 points. Chadwick racked up 7 points, 9 rebounds and 4 steals. Meadows finished with 5 points and 8 rebounds. Corrothers grabbed 9 rebounds, and sophomore Hannah Pait had 4 rebounds.
Trinity Smith led all scorers with 20 points, and senior Jazmin Faison tallied 8 points.
“It was a tough ball game,” noted McCleney. “Whiteville’s Smith and I’Reona Johnson are 2 of the best players in the league. We had a good defensive effort on both of them. It was really big to hold Johnson to 3 points. This was a good win for us.”
Seniah Johnson nailed a 16-footer then turned a George assist into a lay-up to start the game. Pait powered in a rebound for a 7-5 West Bladen lead at the quarter break.
Seniah Johnson turned a pair of Singletary feeds into lay-ups then banked in a runner. Singletary drove for a pair of lay-ups and canned 2 free throws to stretch the Lady Knight lead to 19-10. West Bladen led 19-14 at halftime.
Meadows converted a Singletary feed into a lay-up and hit a free throw. Singletary connected on 5 of 6 free throws to push the Lady Knight lead to 27-17 at the 2:58 mark of the third period.
Chadwick raced for a 3-point play in transition, and Pait turned a Singletary assist into a lay-up and a 32-27 lead at the quarter break.
The Lady Knights remained unbeaten in league play with a 4-0 record and are 6-2 overall. West Bladen will host West Columbus on Jan. 3rd.
Whiteville 5 9 13 15 – 42
West Bladen 7 12 13 13 – 45
WHITEVILLE (42) – Trinity Smith 20, Alexandria Bellamy 3, Sha’nekera Faulk, Marnasia Smith 2, Ruth Maldonado, Jazmin Faison 8, I’Reona Johnson 3, Tessa Nicholson Emily Hewett 6.
WEST BLADEN (45) – Lainey Autry, Haley George 4, Kasee Singletary 13, Lexie Corrothers 2, Seniah Johnson 10, Rylee Chadwick 7, Mikayla Meadows 5, Hannah Pait 4.