West Bladen, now 8-3 in the conference and 17-4 overall, will travel to Clinton Friday night for a first-place showdown with the 8-3 Dark Horses. Midway lost at Wallace-Rose Hill Tuesday night and drops out of the tie for the top spot with a 7-4 league mark.
Senior guard Rahu Purdie threw in 18 points to lead the West Bladen scoring. Senior guard Malcolm Vaught bombed in four 3-point shots to finish with 16 points for the winners.
West junior Stephon McDonald fired in 15 points and grabbed 9 rebounds. Sophomore forward Sayaun Dent recorded a double-double with 12 points and 11 rebounds. Freshman Jonathan Robinson contributed 7 rebounds off the bench for the Knights.
“Jonathan had another big game,” said West Bladen Coach Travis Pait. “That’s about 4 in a row for him. Sayaun played big for us, and Stephon was big on the boards with 9 rebounds.”
Vaught opened the scoring with a 3-point bomb, and McDonald banked in a floater for a 5-0 West lead. Dent muscled in a follow to keep the margin at 7-2.
The Patriots closed the gap to 7-6, but Purdie sank 2 foul shots, and McDonald stole the ball and raced for a lay-up and an 11-6 Knight lead.
Ramell Hansley drilled in a 3-pointer to highlight a 7-0 Pender run that put the Patriots up 13-11 at the quarter break.
Hansley scored again to start the second period and push the Pender lead to 15-11. Vaught nailed a 3-point shot from the left wing, and McDonald beat the Patriot press for a lay-up and a 16-15 lead.
After Julius Powell’s 3-point shot vaulted Pender back in front, Dent dished an assist to McDonald for a lay-up, and a Purdie assist led to a Dent lay-up.
Purdie popped in a 14-footer, and Robinson rebounded a miss and found Dent for a lay-up and a 24-18 West lead.
Vaught and Purdie made 2 free throws each, Vaught buried another 3-point shot, and Robinson powered in a rebound for a 33-22 Knight lead.
Purdie pumped in a 14-footer from the right elbow, but another Powell 3-ball whittled the West lead to 35-27 at the half.
Pender closed the gap to 35-31, but senior center Brandon Council put back a rebound, and Purdie scored a lay-up in transition for a 39-31 West lead.
McDonald tossed in a baseline 12-footer, and Dent hit 2 free throws. Vaught connected on another 3-pointer to stretch the West lead to 46-35.
After a pair of Pender baskets, Purdie answered with a 3-point bomb for a 49-39 lead. Daquan Lennon’s free throw put West up 50-41 at the quarter break.
Purdie flew down the land and arched in a 6-footer, and Robinson sank a free throw to keep West up 53-43. Purdie knocked down a 14-footer from the elbow, and Dent put back a rebound and converted a pair of foul shots for a 59-47 lead with 3:35 left.
McDonald pulled up for an 8-footer, and Vaught split the Pender defense and banked in a runner to keep the margin at 63-52 with 2 minutes left.
Free throws by McDonald and Purdie and a McDonald lay-up closed out the West scoring.
“That was a big win,” said Knight Coach Travis Pait. “That is a good team. Their record may not be as good as some, but they are a good team.”
“We played well,” continued Coach Pait. “We were patient against their zone, and kept moving the ball. We didn’t get rattled, even when things went wrong, and we boxed out well. I am happy.”
Powell and Ramell Hansley shared scoring honors for Pender with 10 points each.
Game time for Friday’s boys’ showdown at Clinton will be approximately 7:30 p.m.
WB (67) – Justin Ruffin, Rahu Purdie 18, Malcolm Vaught 16, Stephon McDonald 15, Daquan Lennon 1, Brian Floyd, Sayaun Dent 12, Jonathan Robinson 3, Brandon Council 2.Share: