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NCHSAA Class 2-A East Girls Play-offs

East Bladen 59, Eastern Randolph 42

Senior Imani Turner-Dobson posted a double-double of 10 points and 17 rebounds, and junior Lacey Suggs rang up 26 points to lead unbeaten East Bladen to a 59-42 victory over Eastern Randolph Saturday night in the opening round of the NCHSAA Class 2-A East Play-offs.

Coach Patty Evers’ Lady Eagles, the top seed in the Class 2-A East, improved to 25-0 and will host No. 16 seed Goldsboro, a 68-58 winner over Southern Vance, in Monday’s second round.

Junior Christiana Cromartie pumped in a corner jumper to ignite an early 8-0 Lady Eagle spurt. Senior Abbey Norris canned a 14-footer, Turner-Dobson banked in a 6-footer, and a Cromartie assist led to a Suggs lay-up.

Alexis Andrews finally broke the scoring ice for the Lady Wildcats with 3:46 left in the first period. Kella Goins drilled a 3-pointer to trim the Lady Eagle lead to 8-5.

Cromartie answered with a 15-foot jumper, and Suggs dropped in a transition lay-up. Norris fired in a 17-footer to put East up 14-6, and East led 14-8 at the quarter break.

Turner-Dobson flipped in a one-hander off of a Cromartie assist to begin the second period. After Sam Sweeney connected on a 3-point shot to trim the margin to 16-11, Norris pitched a pass ahead to Suggs for a fast-break lay-up.

Suggs made a free throw, and sophmore Emily Scott tossed in a 12-footer for a 21-11 East lead. After a Goins’ rebound basket, Cromartie found Turner-Dobson inside for a lay-up, then popped in a 12-footer. Suggs stole the ball and raced for a lay-up and a 27-13 Lady Eagle halftime lead.

Goins’ follow shot closed the gap to 27-16, before Cromartie nailed consecutive 15-foot jumpers from the wing. Suggs scored a transition lay-up, and Turner-Dobson converted a Cromartie assist into another lay-up and a 35-20 lead.

Junior guard Abby Ward drained a 3-pointer, Suggs hit a free throw, and Turner-Dobson put back a rebound. Suggs drove the baseline for a lay-up to give the Lady Eagles their biggest lead at 43-23 with 1:53 left in the quarter.

A 7-2 Lady Wildcat run sliced the East lead to 45-30 at the quarter break.

Suggs beat the Eastern Randolph press for a lay-up then added 2 free throws to push the East lead to 49-30 with 5:45 left to play. Suggs popped in a baseline jumper, then threw in an 8-footer and 2 more free throws to keep the Lady Eagles ahead 55-36.

Ward sank a trio of free throws, and Michelle Page added one more for the final margin.

“That was ugly,” said Coach Evers. “It was sloppy, and I just told the girls that I hope the real East Bladen team shows up Monday night. We were 12 for 22 at the foulline. That’s just lack of focus.”

Turner-Dobson just missed a triple double with 8 blocked shots. “Imani played hard,” said Coach Evers. “She played hard and Chris (Cromartie) knocked down some big shots.”

Cromartie finished with 10 points and 7 assists. Norris pulled down 9 rebounds, and Ward and Suggs were credited with 4 steals each. Ward also scored 6 points.

Goins topped the Eastern Randolph scoring with 18 points, and M’Leigha Brown added 8 points.

EB (59) – Abby Ward 6, Lexie Mendell, Michelle Page 1, Lacey Suggs 26, Miller Heustess, Christiana Cromartie 10, Abbey  Norris 4, Imani Turner-Dobson 10, Emily Scott 2, Shardajah Brown, Lexi Dawson.

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