W. Curt Vincent Editor
January 7, 2014
DUBLIN — West Bladen got a pseudo triple-double from Nate Pryor and withstood a frantic finish by Pender County on Tuesday to earn a 61-54 Four County Conference win.
The Knights improved to 8-6 overall and 2-2 in the conference, while the Patriots fall to 6-7, 1-4.
Malcolm Vaught and Pryor each hit early first-quarter three-pointers to put West Bladen up 6-5, and then the Knights finished the quarter with a 9-0 run for a 15-5 advantage.
The two teams all but traded points through the second stanza until West Bladen finished the half with a 4-0 spurt to take a 25-13 edge into halftime. Stefan McDonald led the charged in the second quarter with a basket and two free throws to end the half.
I’m pretty happy with that first half,” said West Bladen coach Travis Pait. “We played hard, took good shots and played good defense. We just have to box out better.”
They didn’t. But it didn’t hurt them right away.
The Knights opened the second half with a 6-2 run to open a 31-15 lead, but Pender answered with an 8-1 spurt that closed the gap to 32-23 midway through the third quarter. Pryor canned four straight free throws and the two teams traded points the rest of the way to close out the third period with West Bladen holding a 42-30 lead.
The Patriots closed to 42-36 to start the fourth frame and neither team could gain any further advantage until late in the quarter. The Knights went on a 7-1 run to open a 57-44 advantage before Pender responded with pressure defense that sparked a 10-0 spurt to cut the deficit to 57-54 with 25 seconds left to play.
Vaught was fouled quickly and he sank two free throws with 13 seconds left. After a quick miss by the Patriots, Pryor was fouled and canned both his free throws with 7 seconds left to seal the win.
“We played well, but still didn’t box out,” Pait said after the game. “But it’s a good win against a good team.”
Pryor scored 26 points and pulled down 12 rebounds to lead West Bladen. He was also 13-for-15 at the free throw line. Rahu Purdie scored eight points and had six assists, while Vaught had seven points and three steals.