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By John Clark

WHITEVILLE – Whiteville’s Wolfpack bombed in nine 3-point shots – 7 in the 1st half  – and defeated East Bladen 64-50 Tuesday night in the opening round of the Waccamaw Conference Boys Basketball Tournament.

East Bladen, now 10-12, will wait until Saturday to learn where they will play in the Class 1A state playoffs. The Wolfpack improved to 10-13 and advances to play Waccamaw tournament host Heide Trask in a semi-final game Wednesday at 7:30.

Will Fisher and Brycen Edwards threw in a pair of 3-point shots each, and Fisher popped in a 10-footer as Whiteville jumped ahead 16-9. Rodney Lacewell, a 6-8 senior, turned a pair of assists from junior Kewone Maynor into the 1st 2 Eagle baskets.

Senior Lee Barnes banked in a 3-point shot, and junior Dominick Collins drove for a lay-up to keep East within 11-9, before the 2nd Edwards’ 3-ball and a steal and lay-up by Amari Best.

The Wolfpack run continued into the 2nd period as Fisher canned 2 free throws, Best muscled in 2 baskets – one off an Edwards assist – and Edwards and Bishop Herring drilled in 3-balls to up the count to 28-9. Senior Peyton Tatum dropped in a pair of follow shots, and Collins sank a free throw, but another Fisher 3-ball and a Best follow pushed the margin to 35-14 at halftime.

Lacewell put back a rebound basket then powered in a pair of lay-ups off assists from Tatum to start the 2nd half. Leggett and Edwards answered with 3-balls for Whiteville, but Barnes buried a 3-ball for the Eagles, and sophomore Keyshawn Kemp banged in a follow shot. Kemp flipped in a 6-footer, Collins made a free throw and Barnes netted 2 foul shots to keep East within 50-30.

Corey Faison drove for a pair of 3-point plays and 2 more baskets to keep the Wolfpack on top in the final quarter. Maynor put back a rebound, and Tatum and Kemp tossed in short jumpers. Kemp added a lay-up, and Barnes fired in a pair of 3-balls for East. Sherman Long nailed a pair of 3-point shots then popped in a runner for the final Eagle points.

Barnes led the Eagles with 14 points and 4 rebounds. Lacewell finished with 10 points and 7 rebounds. Long tallied 8 points. Kemp racked up 6 points and 11 rebounds. Tatum contributed 6 points, 4 rebounds, 3 blocked shots and 2 assists. Collins posted 4 points and 5 rebounds.

Fisher connected on four 3-point shots and topped the Wolfpack scoring with 18 points. Edwards rang up four 3-point baskets and finished with 14 points. Best finished with 13 points and 9 rebounds. Faison tallied 11 points.

East Bladen  9    5  16  20 — 50
Whiteville   16  19  15  14 — 64

East Bladen (50) — Dominick Collins 4, Chace Butler, Sherman Long 8, Shannon Hankins, Lee Barnes 14, Kewone Maynor 2, Peyton Tatum 6, Tevin McLean, Keyshawn Kemp 6, Rodney Lacewell 10.

Whiteville (64) — Justin Ward 1, Will Fisher 18, Brycen Edwards 14, Amari Best 13, Bishop Herring 5, D. J. Shipman, Corey Faison 11, Rudy Jernigan 2.

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