05/22/2024
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West Bladen High School LogoEast Bladen High SchoolWest Bladen’s Knights travel to East Bladen Wednesday night for a game that has key implications for both teams’ fates in the tough Four County Conference.

Coach Travis Pait’s Knights are 2-3 in league play and 11-3 overall, while Coach Ken Cross’ Eagles are 3-3 in the conference and 8-7 overall. Clinton, Midway and Heide Trask are all tied for the league lead with 4-2 records.

The West/East winner will stay within a game of the top spot in the loss column, while the loser will fall 2 games back with only 6 or 7 conference games remaining.

Except for an unusual free throw malady that seems to befall teams visiting certain locations in Duplin County, both East and West could be tied for the top spot. West Bladen lost at Heide Trask when the home team attempted 39 free throws, while the Knights only went to the foulline 13 times.

The same plague hit East Bladen at Wallace-Rose Hill where the home team shot 51 free throws, while East was only awarded 20 attempts. The Eagles lost that one in overtime.

West Bladen started the season 10-0 and won their own Woodmen of the World Christmas Tournament with victories over Class 4-A Lumberton and 2-A power Fairmont (11-4) in the championship game.

January opened with a tough week for the Knights that included the game at Heide Trask, a narrow loss at Pender and then a one-point loss to Clinton. West Bladen recovered with a 73-70 win over Four County leader Midway (12-3) Friday night.

A trio of high-scoring guards headline the West Bladen offense. Senior Rahu Purdie has posted games of 30 and 29 points this season and leads the Knights with an 18.9 average.

Senior Malcolm Vaught fired in 20 points against Clinton and averages 11.5 points per game. Junior  Stephon McDonald is right behind Vaught with an 11.4 ppg average.

Sophmore forward Sayaun Dent contributes 7.8 points per game, and senior center Brandon Council is a force on the boards and adds 4.6 points per game. The Knight offense averages 62.5 points per game and the defense allows 51 ppg.

East Bladen’s Eagles claimed two non-conference wins over East Columbus, and one each over St. Pauls, Carrboro, and Topsail.

In league play the Eagles have a road win at Pender and a big win at home over Trask. The Eagles lost in overtime at Wallace, by 4 points at Clinton and by 6 points to Midway.

Senior forward Farrell Murchison who poured in 28 at Wallace leads the Eagle scoring with a 12.4 points per game average.  Sophmore guard Ethan Hines averages 10.9 points, and his brother Eian Hines scores at a 9.4 ppg clip.

Senior forward Monterro Graham contributes 9.7 points per game, Jermaine Robinson adds 5.6 ppg off the bench and junior center Chris Cromartie tallies 5 points per game. The Eagles average 62 points per game, while they give up 57 ppg.

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