DUBLIN — Ja’Tyra Moore-Peterson was an unstoppable force Thursday, leading East Bladen to a 52-33 Four County Conference win over West Bladen.
The Lady Eagles improved to 20-4 overall and 12-2 in the conference. The Lady Knights fell to 11-13, 7-7.
West Bladen opened the game with a 5-0 run behind a basket from Akita Grimes and three-pointer from Laikyn Pait. Moore-Peterson and Ashley Hardin each sank a bucket for East Bladen while Jerena Purdie canned two free throws for the Lady Knights to keep the home team up 7-4 midway through the first quarter.
But the Lady Eagles closed out the period with a 13-0 run behind three straight baskets from Moore-Peterson and one each from Emily Scott and Patience Ward. Hardin also dropped in a three-pointer to close out the first quarter with East Bladen leading 17-7.
The Lady Knights started the second stanza with a basket from Pait and East Bladen answered with a bucket from Moore-Peterson. Purdie dropped in a basket for the Lady Knights and Scott popped in a jumper for the visitors that was answered by Grimes for West Bladen before the Lady Eagles finished the half with a 5-0 spurt behind baskets from Shardajah Brown and Moore-Peterson, along with a free throw from Scott that put East Bladen up 26-13 at the half.
The Lady Knights opened the second half with a basket from Purdie, but East Bladen answered with a 7-0 run fueled by two baskets from Moore-Peterson and a three-pointer from Brown that extended the lead to 33-15. Pait pumped in a jumper for West Bladen and Scott answered at the other end for East. After Logan Autry canned a free throw for the Lady Eagles, the visitors got a three-pointer and bucket from Moore-Peterson to extend the lead to 38-15.
West Bladen came back with a free throw by Purdie and basket by Pait, but Ward finished the third quarter with a basket that gave the Lady Eagles a 42-21 advantage.
The Lady Knights struck first for the fourth straight quarter, getting two free throws from Pait, but East Bladen went on a 6-2 burst behind a pair of baskets by Brown and one from Scott to open a 48-25 lead. West Bladen answered with an 8-0 run that featured a pair of baskets each by Pait and Jenna Dove that cut the deficit to 48-33, but the Lady Eagles got a free throw by Scott and an old-fashioned three-point play by Moore-Peterson to seal the 18-point win.
“We had some good offensive sets,” East Bladen coach Patty Evers said. “Emily came alive and handled the ball well and we did a good job on defense.”
Moore-Peterson led the Lady Eagles with 24 points and added five rebounds, four assists and three steals. Scott contributed 10 points and eight rebounds; Brown added nine points; Hardin had six rebounds; and Ward had seven rebounds.
” Give East Bladen credit, they played really good defense,” said Lady Knights coach Rick Rhoda. “Just like the first time we played them, we gave up too many offensive rebounds and put-backs. But I was happy to see us bounce back late in the game.”
For West Bladen, Pait tallied 15 points and five boards, while Purdie added nine points and eight rebounds. Grimes and Autry each contributed five rebounds.
W. Curt Vincent can be reached by calling 910-862-4163.