TEACHEY — For the West Bladen Knights on Friday, it was like day and night from the first half to the second half in a 61-49 Four County Conference loss to Wallace-Rose Hill.
The Knights fall to 5-4 overall and 1-1 in the conference.
West Bladen opened strong and outscored the Bulldogs by a 12-9 margin through the first half.
The Knights’ defense continued to get stops in the second half and allowed the lead to get extended to 27-20 by halftime.
But something happened early in the second half, and everything change.
“I don’t know what it was,” said West Bladen coach Travis Pait. “They (Wallace-Rose Hill) did do anything different, but we just … I don’t know.”
The Knights, who committed just six turnovers the entire first half against the Bulldogs’ press, suddenly couldn’t hang on to the ball — committing eight turnovers in the third quarter and allowing Wallace-Rose Hill to win the period, 24-8, to open up a 44-35 lead.
West Bladen fought back and managed to pull within four in the fourth quarter, but the Bulldogs hit the free throws down the stretch to seal the 12-point win.
“We started out fantastic to open the game,” Pait said. “And we even started the second half OK … but then turnovers against their press really killed us and we had to start fouling.
“Honestly, we outplayed them the whole game,” he added. “But they got 22 points off our turnovers (19 in the game), and it was amazing we were even able to close within four late.”
Malcolm Vaught led the Knights with 18 points, while Nate Pryor added 13 and Rahu Purdie scored nine. Brandon Council grabbed 10 rebounds and Pryor had six.