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NCHSAA Class 2-A, Boys Play-offs, West Bladen 58, East Bladen 53

East Bladen High SchoolWest Bladen High School LogoSenior guard Malcolm Vaught drove for the lay-up that snapped a 4-minute scoring drought, and West Bladen held on for a 58-53 victory over East Bladen in the opening round of the NCHSAA Class 2-A Play-offs Wednesday night at West.

Coach Travis Pait’s Knights, the No. 4 seed in the 2-A East, improved to 21-4 and will host the winner of Thursday’s Southwest Onslow at East Duplin game. The Knights are hopeful that the second round game can be played on Friday.

West Bladen led 48-38 at the third quarter break, and junior Daquan Lennon started the final period with a driving lay-up. The Knight lead grew to 56-40 with 5:15 left after senior guard Rahu Purdie bombed in a 3-pointer and put back a rebound.

Senior Monterro Graham drilled a long 3-pointer to start a 13-0 Eagle run. Sophomore Eian Hines buried a 3-ball from the top of the key, and senior Farrell Murchison nailed a 3-pointer from the right wing to slice the lead to 56-49.

East’s Trevor Lloyd cut to the basket and banked in a one-hander off a Dayvon Powell assist. Junior Jermaine Robinson made a leaping interception at mid-court and raced for a lay-up with 1:15 remaining to pull the Eagles to within 56-53.

Vaught then snapped the Knight cold spell with his lay-up that put West up 58-53 with 59 seconds left. Vaught then stole the ball, but the Knights missed the lay-up.

“We went to the 1-3-1 (zone), and they hit a long one,” said Coach Pait. “I thought our defensive positioning was good, but we didn’t get our hands up on the shooters. Malcolm made up for it with the big lay-up, then made that big steal.”

Purdie topped the West Bladen scoring with 21 points. Stephon McDonald finished with 13 points, Vaught followed with 10, and sophomore Sayaun Dent added 8 points.

“I thought we got pretty much what we wanted offensively in the first half,” continued Coach Pait. “There was some rust after not playing for almost 2 weeks, but some of that was playing them. It’s never easy.”

The Eagles jumped in front 4-0 as Farrell Murchison hit a driving bank shot, and Jermaine Robinson put back a rebound. East Bladen had a chance to go up 6-0 after a Murchison steal, but a dunk attempt failed.

“We gave away 4 points trying to dunk the ball instead of taking the easy lay-up,” said East Bladen Coach Ken Cross. “And we lost by 5 points. That first one led to a transition basket, so it was a 4-point swing.”

Vaught rolled in a floater for the first West basket, and McDonald turned a transition lay-up into a 3-point play and a 5-4 Knight lead.

Murchison tied the game with a foul shot, but Purdie buried a 3-pointer from the right corner. Sophomore Ethan Hines dunked in a follow to close the gap to 8-7, but Lennon converted a Purdie assist into a lay-up.

McDonald and East’s Ethan Hines traded free throws, before Vaught drained a 3-pointer, and Lennon found McDonald with a pass for a lay-up and a 16-8 Knight lead at the quarter break.

Vaught banked in an 8-footer and tacked on a free throw, and Purdie canned 2 foul shots for a 21-8 West lead.

Ethan Hines answered with a driving lay-up, and Graham popped in a baseline jumper. Purdie pumped in a 12-footer, but Murchison followed up his own miss to keep the margin at 23-14.

Dent sank 2 foul shots, and Purdie raced for a lay-up and a 27-14 lead. Murchison rallied the Eagles by banking in a 6-footer and nailing a 3-point shot to trim the margin to 27-19.

After Purdie made 2 free throws, junior Chris Cromartie banked in a turn-around, and Ethan Hines scooped in a bank shot to pull East Bladen to within 29-23.
McDonald and Lennon sandwiched Knight lay-ups around a spinning lay-up by Jermaine Robinson as West took a 33-25 halftime lead.

Dent started the second half with a lay-up off of a McDonald assist, and Purdie and McDonald tossed in 15-footers to grow the Knight lead to 39-25.

Jermaine Robinson turned a rebound basket into a 3-point play, then passed inside to Cromartie for a lay-up. An Ethan Hines’ free throw brought East to within 40-31.

Dent put back a rebound, but Eian Hines flipped in a runner, and Jermaine Robinson knocked down a long 3-pointer to whittle the lead to 42-36.

Ethan Hines answered Purdie’s driving lay-up with a floater from the baseline. Dent converted 2 foul shots, and McDonald drove for the lay-up and the 48-38 lead.

Farrell Murchison topped the East Bladen scoring with 13 points, and Jermaine Robinson and Ethan Hines were right behind him with 12 points each. Eian Hines grabbed 6 rebounds to lead East, and Murchison and Ethan Hines followed with 4 rebounds each.

Freshman Jonathan Robinson and Dent led the Knights on the boards with 5 rebounds each. Purdie and McDonald dished out 3 assists each.

East Bladen finishes the season with a 10-14 record. “If we had played hard for the entire game like we did at the end, there would have been a different outcome,” said Coach Cross. “But we waited until we got down to decide to play hard.”

EB (53) – Denzel Johnson, Jermaine Robinson 12, Dayvon Powell, Farrell Murchison 13, Chris Cromartie 4, Eian Hines 5, Larrell Murchison, Monterro Graham 5, Ethan Hines 12, Matt Massengill, Trevor Lloyd 2.

WB (58) – Justin Ruffin, Rahu Purdie 21, Malcolm Vaught 10, Stephon McDonald 13, Daquan Lennon 6,  Brian Floyd, Sayaun Dent 8, Jonathan Robinson, Brandon Council.

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