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WILMINGTON- Senior guard Jada Simpson fired in 17 of her game-high 27 points in the 2nd half to key a 27-20 Wilmington Laney surge that carried the Lady Buccaneers to a 49-41 victory over East Bladen Thursday night in the Hoggard Holiday Classic.

Laney held a slim 22-21 halftime lead, but Simpson bombed in a pair of 3-point shots and 2 other baskets to spark a 15-9 Lady Buccaneer spurt. Senior Maegan Burney answered with a pair of baskets for East, sophomore Laila Smith nailed a 3-point shot, and senior AnnaGrey Heustess cashed in 2 free throws to keep the Lady Eagles within 37-30 at the quarter break.

Burney tossed in 2 baskets and a free throw in the final quarter, Laila Smith popped in a basket and a free throw, and sophomore Iveonna “NeNe” Ward buried a 3-point shot. However Simpson threw in a 3-pointer, another basket and 2 free throws as Laney held on for the win.

Burney led East Bladen with 17 points, 5 rebounds and 2 steals. Laila Smith racked up 13 points, 8 rebounds and 2 assists. Heustess checked all the stat columns with 6 points, 7 rebounds, 4 blocks and 4 assists. Ward tallied 5 points and 3 assists.

Laila Smith pumped in 2 baskets and a free throw to start the game, and Burney sank 2 free throws and a basket. Heustess knocked down a 3-point shot to keep East close, but Simpson canned a pair of 3-pointers and sophomore Piper Conklin banged in 2 baskets as Laney edged ahead 13-12.

Burney netted a pair of baskets for the Lady Eagles in the 2nd period. Laila Smith and Ward added baskets, and Heustess hit a free throw. However Simpson dropped in 2 more baskets, and sophomore Aniece Lewis connected on a 3-ball to keep Laney up 22-21.

Conklin finished with 8 points, and Lewis followed with 6 points for Laney.

East Bladen, now 8-2, will entertain Clinton Tuesday in Southeastern Athletic Conference action.

Laney              13  9  15  12 – 49
East Bladen  12  9    9  11 – 41

LANEY (49) – Jada Simpson 27, Aniece Lewis 6, Meadow Shepard 2, Tisha Mathis, Za’Niya Miller, Bailey Willard 6, Savannah Herrmann, Piper Conklin 8.

EAST BLADEN (41) – Iveonna “NeNe” Ward 5, Cabria Baldwin, AnnaGrey Heustess 6, Karli Priest, Zoe Smith, Maegan Burney 17, Laila Smith 13.

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