ELIZABETHTOWN — East Bladen let a 15-point fourth-quarter melt away when visiting Heidi Trask went on an 18-0 run, but the Eagles finished the game with a 5-0 run and upended the Four County Conference leaders on Tuesday, 65-63.
The win improves East Bladen to 10-8 overall and 5-5 in the conference, while the Titans fell to 17-3, 8-3.
The Eagles opened the game with sky-high energy and intensity. Baskets by Jaquan Jones (two), Eian Hines and Alex Stephens helped the Eagles take an 8-7 edge, and then went on a 6-0 run that was fueled by a technical foul against Heidi Trask. Hines canned both free throws, Farrell Murchison added another free throw and then canned a three-pointer to give the Eagles a 14-7 lead.
The visitors, who had gone more than 3 minutes without a point, got a three-pointer to end the first quarter and closed the gap to 14-10.
The two teams all but traded points to open the second quarter, but East Bladen then went on a 7-0 run on baskets by Josh McMillian, Ethan Hines and a three-pointer from Stephens that opened a 27-18 lead. Down the stretch of the first half, the Eagles got an old-fashioned three-point play from Murchison and another long-range three-pointer from Stephens to build a 36-25 lead at intermission.
Things slowed a bit for both teams in the third quarter. The Titans opened the second half with a 6-2 run, but East Bladen got baskets from Eian Hines, Ethan Hines and a basket and free throw from Murchison that put the lead at 45-31. The two teams again all but traded points to finish the third quarter and the Eagles took a 49-36 lead into the fourth quarter.
Trask nailed a three-pointer to start the scoring, but East Bladen responded with a basket by Eian Hines and another three-pointer from Stephens. After the Titans had closed the deficit to 56-45, Murchison drained a pair of baskets to put the lead at 60-45 at the 4:44 mark.
It would be 3:44 before the Eagles would score again.
Meanwhile, Trask began hitting everything they put up, going on an 18-0 run that was aided by consistently rushed shots by East Bladen that would not fall.
The Titans tied the score and went up 63-60 with just over a minute left to play, but Murchison pulled the Eagles to within 63-62 with a pair of free throws. Moments later, Monterro Graham came in to hit one of two free throws for an injured McMillian and knotted the game at 63-63 with just under a minute to play.
After a Trask miss, Murchison banked in a runner with 10 seconds left and was fouled. He missed the free throw, setting up a desperation shot by the Titans. The shot missed and the put-back fell, but the referees ruled it left the shooter’s hand a split second after the buzzer sounded.
“We put ourselves in that position by rushing too many shots late in the game and not running time off the clock,” said East Bladen coach Ken Cross. “We were fortunate to get this one.
“I told someone that it was probably a good game to watch, but not so good to coach,” he added.
Murchison led the Eagles with 17 points and added seven rebounds, while Stephens had a double-double 15 points behind a trio of three-pointers and added 10 rebounds. Eian Hines scored 12 points before fouling out with 2:43 to play. Josh McMillian pulled down a game-high 16 rebounds for East Bladen.