DUBLIN — East Bladen put four players into double figures and drained 11 three-pointers on Thursday in the second round of the Woodmen Life Christmas Tournament, but Scotland County canned nine three-pointers and easily won the rebounding battle to beat the Eagles, 78-71.
The Fighting Scots opened the game with a 10-0 run that East Bladen never could battle back from.
“We came out a little flat,” East Bladen coach Kenzil McCall said. “We fought back but couldn’t quite get there.”
The Eagles didn’t get their first points of the game until 4:51 into the first quarter, and an 8-2 run pulled East Bladen to within 12-8. After trading points that kept Scotland up 19-14, East Bladen finished the quarter with a 4-3 edge and trailed 22-17 at the break.
Denzel Johnson canned his second three-pointer of the game to open the second stanza, but the Scots went on an 11-5 run to open a 33-23 edge. Scotland County almost put the game away with three straight three-pointers for a 42-25 lead before baskets by Eian Hines and Johnson ended the half to pull East Bladen within 42-29.
The Eagles opened the second half with a 14-5 spurt on a trio of three-pointers from Ethan Hines, a three-pointer by Demetrius Wooten and a bucket from Johnson to pull within 47-43. But Scotland County righted the ship and managed to go on a 13-8 spurt through the second half of the third quarter to take a 60-52 lead into the fourth frame.
The Fighting Scots used an 11-6 run to open the quarter and build a 71-58 lead before East Bladen caught fire from beyond the arc — Johnson and Eian Hines each nailed a pair of three-pointers down the stretch that helped the Eagles pull to within 71-66, but time ran out on the rally.
“The kids played their hearts out (Wednesday) against a good team, and to come back the next day like this is pretty tough,” McCall said. “We haven’t won a game yet, but we’re seeing positives and getting better.”
Johnson led East Bladen with 22 points behind five three-pointers. Ethan Hines scored 18 points with four three-pointers and Eian Hines had 13 points. Wooten had 12 points for the Eagles.
W. Curt Vincent can be reached by calling 910-862-4163.