PINETOPS — The season came to a close for the Lady Knights of West Bladen at the hands of a strong Southwest Edgecombe team on Tuesday in the first round of the Class 2-A playoffs, 74-41.
The Lady Knights finished 12-15.
West Bladen battled through the first quarter, using balanced scoring to stay close. The Lady Knights got baskets from Erica McKoy and Laikyn Pait, along with free throws from Jerena Purdie and Akira Grimes, but the Lady Cougars built a 13-7 lead going into the second stanza.
The wheels began to come off for West Bladen in the quarter, as Southwest Edgecombe erupted for a 25-9 run through the period to carry a 38-16 advantage into the intermission.. For the Lady Knights, Purdie sank three free throws and the trio of Patience Parker, Elizabeth Allbright and Indiyah Williams hit buckets.
The Lady Cougars kept coming in the second half, manufacturing a 17-8 run through the third quarter to build a 55-24 lead with 8 minutes to play. Purdie dropped in a basket and free throw for West Bladen, while Logan Autry and Parker each sank a bucket and Jenna Dove drained a free throw.
The two teams combined for 36 points in the fourth frame and Southwest Edgecombe managed to take a 19-17 advantage to seal the 33-point win. Pait led the Lady Knights in the period with two baskets and two free throws, while McKoy and Mikayla Winebarger each buried three-pointers.
“(The girls) put up a fight against the best team we’ve faced this year,” said West Bladen coach Rick Rhoda. “They had numerous weapons and a very tough defense.
“I believe we had more girls score than ever before (and that was great to see,” he added. “I’m proud of them and I’m proud to have coached the seniors we’re losing.”
A total of 10 Lady Knights scored in the game, led by Pait’s eight points. Purdie contributed seven points, while Parker added six points and McKoy had five points.