DUNN — West Bladen beat back a Midway rally late in the game by controlling the boards and hitting free throws on Friday to come away with a 43-39 Four County Conference win.
The Knights improve to 10-6 overall and 4-2 in the conference. The Raiders, who were handed their first conference loss, fell to 12-2, 5-1.
“We really played hard,” said West Bladen coach Travis Pait. “It wasn’t our best game, but we like this kind of (scrappy) game.”
Neither team showed its “A” game early, but the Knights got three-pointers from Corbin Stanley, Malcolm Vaught and Nate Pryer to take a 9-6 lead after the first 8 minutes.
Midway opened the second quarter with a basket that was answered by another three-pointer from Vaught. But the Raiders went on a 4-0 spurt to knot the game at 12-12 moments later. West Bladen responded with a 5-0 run, sparked by a three-pointer from Stanley, then closed out the half with a 5-4 advantage to take a 22-16 lead into intermission.
Stefan McDonald canned a three-pointer to open the third quarter for the Knights, but Midway controlled the rest of the period and outscored West Bladen by a 12-4 margin to cut the deficit to just 29-28 with 8 minutes to play.
The Raiders opened the fourth quarter with a 4-0 spurt and took their only lead of the game, 32-29. From there, West Bladen seemed to take every rebound and hit every free throw that came their way.
The Knights went on an 8-1 spurt for a 37-33 edge, but Midway battled back to pull within 39-38 with a minute left in the game. McDonald made a pair of free throws and Vaught followed with two free throws to seal the win.
Pryer led West Bladen with 14 points, while Vaught scored 10 points and pulled down seven rebounds. Brandon Council had nine rebounds for the Knights.