BURGAW — No. 7 seed East Bladen fought back from an early 11-point deficit, draining 14 three-pointers, and upset No. 3 seed West Bladen in the semifinals of the Four County Conference Tournament on Thursday.
The Eagles improved to 4-22 and will face a third straight conference giant when they take on top-seeded Clinton on Friday in the championship at 7:30 p.m. at Pender County High. West Bladen falls to 17-9 and awaits its seeding for the state’s Class 2-A playoffs, which will be announced Saturday.
The Knights opened the game by establishing momentum and outscored East Bladen by an 18-7 margin.
But the Eagles got their offense going in the second stanza and managed to whittle the deficit by two points, outscoring the Knights by an 18-16 margin. West Bladen still owned a 34-25 advantage going into halftime.
East Bladen came out of the intermission refocused and all but owned the third quarter. The Eagles used a 21-13 run through the period to pull within 47-46 going into the fourth frame.
The two teams lit up the scoreboard for 43 points in the final 8 minutes of regulation, and it was East Bladen that got the best of it — by a 22-21 margin — to knot the game at 68-68 and send the contest into overtime.
The Eagles continued their second-half momentum and outscored West Bladen 15-12 in overtime to seal the win.
Adonis Avery pumped in eight three-pointers and finished with 28 points to lead East Bladen, while Eian Hines scored 26 points with a trio of three-pointers. Sincere Smith scored 10 points for the Eagles.
West Bladen was led by John Bowen’s 25 points behind three three-pointers, while Sayaun Dent scored 24 points. Kalvin Page contributed 11 points and Jonathan Robinson had 10 points for the Knights.