ELIZABETHTOWN — Nobody would have guessed that Lady Eagles coach Patty Evers would be saying “survive and advance” after No. 2 seed East Bladen’s first-round game with No. 7 seed Union on Monday in the Four County Conference Tournament.
But the Lady Spartans put up a surprising early fight before succumbing to the Lady Eagles, 54-34. The win improved East Bladen to 21-4.
“I’m not real happy with our effort,” Evers said, “but we will love on (the girls) and work harder tomorrow.”
Evers had reason to be disappointed. Union — who lost to East Bladen during the regular season by the scores of 52-10 and 60-26 — battled the Lady Eagles to an 8-8 knot after the first quarter.
But East Bladen got down to business in the second stanza, putting its defense to work and outscoring the Lady Spartans by a 14-6 margin to take a 22-14 advantage into halftime. Ha’Tyra Moore-Peterson canned seven points in the quarter for the Lady Eagles.
The second half was vintage East Bladen. A trio of Lady Eagles — Moore-Peterson, Smily Scott and Patience Ward — each drained two baskets and East Bladen used a 16-8 run through the period to open a 38-22 lead.
In the fourth frame, Moore-Peterson fired in a pair of three-pointers and hit a jumper to lead the Lady Eagles to a 16-12 advantage in the quarter and seal the win.
“We’re moving on,” Evers said. East Bladen will face Midway in the second round on Thursday at Pender County High.
Moore-Peterson led the Lady Eagles with 21 points and added eight assists, seven rebounds and five steals. Gargala added eight points and Scott grabbed 12 rebounds, while Ashley Hardin contributed nine rebounds and four steals.