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Photos by Kenneth Armstrong

DUBLIN – Clinton exploded for 29 first-quarter points en route to a 75-37 boys basketball victory over East Bladen Wednesday in the opening game of the Woodmen Life Christmas Tournament.

Senior Kris Williams threw in a lay-up, a follow shot and a 3-point bomb as the Dark Horses sprinted to an early 12-2 lead.

Freshman center Javant McDowell dropped in a pair of follow-shots and a lay-up to keep East Bladen within 29-8 at the quarter break.

Three-point baskets by Hampton Brock and Carson Ellis helped the Dark Horses pad their lead to 43-17 at halftime.

Byron Bowen scored on a lay-up, put back a rebound and sent a pass to McDowell for another lay-up in the second quarter. McDowell tacked on a free throw, and senior Sincere Smith added a basket for the Eagles.

The Dark Horses opened the second half with a 25-6 burst that widened the gap to 68-23. McDowell and Smith tossed in a basket and a free throw each for the Eagles in the third period.

Senior Deondre Newkirk canned a free throw to begin the final period for the Eagles. Junior Keshaun Davis turned a steal into a lay-up then drove to the basket for a pair of old-fashioned 3-point plays.

Newkirk nailed a 3-point shot to pull East within 70-35. After Tymair McIntyre drilled a 3-point shot for Clinton, Davis drove for the final Eagle basket.

McDowell led the Eagle offense with 12 points and 5 rebounds. Davis scored all 10 of his points in the final quarter, and Smith finished with 7 points.

Kris Williams topped the Clinton scoring with 12 points, and Kahari Williams followed with 11 points.

“We knew they were good coming in, and they played as expected,” said East Bladen Coach Kenzil McCall about the 8-1 Dark Horses.

The Eagles will play Thursday at 4 p.m. against Whiteville.

EAST BLADEN (37) – Adonis Avery, Byron Bowen 4, Robert Cooley, Keshaun Davis 10, Zaire Turner-Dotson, Messiah Leach, Pierce Melvin, Deondre Newkirk 4, Javant McDowell 12, Sincere Smith 7, Anthony Wooten, Reashoid Pone.

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