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Three Rivers Girls Basketball Tournament: East Bladen 54, East Columbus 31

ELIZABETHTOWN – Senior Patience Ward sparked a 37-13 second-half blitz that carried East Bladen’s Lady Eagles to a 54-31 victory over East Columbus Monday night in the opening round of the Three Rivers Conference Girls Basketball Tournament.

Ward fired in 4 baskets in the third quarter. Sophomore Alexus Mitchell nailed a 3-point shot, another basket and a free throw, and senior Lorna Mendell sank 3 free throws and a basket as a 19-11 Lady Eagle surge grew the lead to 36-25.

Photos by Kenneth Armstrong

Three more baskets from Ward ignited an 18-6 East Bladen spurt in the final period. Freshman AnnaGrey Heustess pumped in 2 baskets, and MaKayla Dixon tossed in 2 free throws and a field goal. Mendell and Mitchell added a basket each.

Ward led the Lady Eagles with 23 points, 6 rebounds and 4 steals. Mitchell followed with 10 points and 6 rebounds. Heustess finished with 7 points, 7 rebounds and 3 steals. Mendell tallied 7 points, 4 rebounds and 4 steals. Sophomore Mya McDonald delivered 5 assists and 5 rebounds, and junior Katie Evans had 3 steals.

Evans drilled in a 3-point shot in the first quarter. Heustess worked inside for a basket and a free throw, and Mitchell and Ward added field goals. La’Zaydia Flowers netted 5 points to keep East Columbus tied 10-10 at the quarter break.

Ward heated up in the second quarter connecting on 2 field goals and 3 free throws as the Lady Eagles edged ahead 17-14 at halftime.

Flowers led the Lady Gators with 13 points, and Aziya Barr finished with 10 points.

Coach Patty Evers’ Lady Eagles improved to 21-4 on the season and will play Whiteville Thursday at 6 p.m. in the girls’ tourney semi-finals at East Columbus.

East Columbus   10     4    11    6 – 31
East Bladen        10     7    19   18 –54

East Columbus (31) – Aziya Barr 10, Dasia Parker, Asya Graham King 2, Lazaydia Flowers 13, Taylor Keaton, Sanauwa Campbell 4, Siera Strickland, G. G. Bellamy 2.

East Bladen (54) – Katie Evans 3, Lily Lin, Mya McDonald, Alexus Mitchell10, AnnaGrey Heustess 7, Abbie Cross, Karlie Priest, Maegan Burney, Patience Ward 23, Sara Gargala, Aaniyah Jackson, Lorna Mendell 7, Makayla Dixon 4, Mariah Smith.

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