West Bladen 54, Midway 52
West Bladen’s Lady Knights rallied from 8 points down in the final 6 minutes to pull out a key 54-52 Four County Conference girls basketball victory over visiting Midway Friday night.
The Lady Raiders opened the final quarter with a 7-2 spurt that extended their lead to 45-37, before senior Miriam Mendoza banked in a 3-point shot to begin the Lady Knight rally.
Sophmore Laikyn Pait sank 2 foul shots to answer a pair of free tosses by Midway. Senior Delasia Richardson muscled in a rebound with 3:24 left to trim the margin to 47-44.
After Midway hit 2 of 4 free throws, sophomore Alanna Ludlum canned one foul shot for West. Pait flipped up a runner that banked in, and Richardson turned an assist from Mendoza into the tying basket with 1:44 remaining.
Ludlum stole the ball and outran the Midway defense for the go-ahead lay-up with 53 seconds on the clock. Ludlum grabbed a defensive rebound to regain possession for West.
Mendoza found Richardson inside again for another lay-up and a 53-49 West lead with 36 ticks left. Mendoza tacked on a foul shot at the 26 second mark to keep the Lady Knight lead at 54-50.
Two free throws pulled Midway within 54-52, and West Bladen missed 6 free throws in the final 20 seconds. For the game the Lady Knights connected on only 9 of 29 free throw attempts and lost 4 more opportunities on lane violations.
“We didn’t give up, and the girls hung in there,” said West Coach Pam Stephens. “I sure would have appreciated some more (made) free throws.”
Mendoza fired in 17 points and grabbed 7 rebounds to lead the West Bladen scoring. Richardson posted a double-double with 10 points and 12 rebounds.
Sophmore Kassidy Anderson drilled a 3-point shot and finished with 7 points. Senior Breanna Jackson followed with 6 points and 5 rebounds, and Pait also totaled 6 points for the winners.
Point guard Amber Poole pumped in 18 points before fouling out with 3 minutes left to lead the Midway scoring. Teammate Brianna Butler chipped in with 16 points.
Mendoza turned a feed from Jackson into an early basket, then nailed a 17-footer to tie the game at 4-4. Menoza banked in an elbow jumper, and Anderson pumped in a 12-footer from the baseline to keep West within 11-9 at the quarter break.
Anderson converted a Richardson assist into a lay-up, Jackson fired in an elbow jumper, and sophomore Akira Grimes swished a pair of free throws to keep West within 17-16 midway the second quarter.
Eight straight Midway points opened up a 25-16 lead, but Grimes dropped in a lay-up, Jackson popped in a basket, and Mendoza banked in a runner ahead of the buzzer to pull West within 25-22 at halftime.
Mendoza stole the ball and sprinted for another lay-up, then buried a 3-point shot to keep the Lady Knights within 29-27. Richardson banked in a short jumper, and Anderson drained a 3-point shot to close the gap to 33-32.
Richardson added a free throw, and Pait turned a loose ball into a lay-up that brought West to within 38-35 at the quarter break.
The Lady Knights improved to 4-1 in the league and 7-7 overall. “This was a big win,” said Coach Stephens. “This helps us hold onto that third play-off spot (from the league).”
WB (54) – Miriam Mendoza 17, Kassidy Anderson 7, Breanna Jackson 6, Alanna Ludlum 4, Akira Grimes 4, Delasia Richardson 10, Jenna Dove, Tierra McKoy, Kaylee Stevens, Alex Perry, Evelin Ortiz, Logan Autry, Laikyn Pait 6.