Suggs’ 28 leads East over West, 71-27

W. Curt Vincent -

ELIZABETHTOWN — Lacey Suggs filled the stat sheet Thursday with a double-double and more, leading the Lady Eagles to a 71-27 Four County Conference win over West Bladen that capped a perfect 14-0 regular season.

The win also moved East Bladen, the No. 1 Class 2-A team in the state, to 24-0 overall.

Suggs sent a message to the Lady Knights right from the start, draining a three-pointer and scoring 12 points in the first quarter that helped the Lady Eagles race out to a 20-5 lead after just 8 minutes of play.

Suggs opened the game with an old-fashioned three-point play, but West Bladen’s Laikyn Pait canned a pair of free throws to pull the Lady Knights to within 3-2. It was the closest West Bladen would ever get.

East Bladen went on a 13-0 run that was highlighted by Suggs’ three-pointer and four points from Christiana Cromartie. Kaylee Steven hit a free throw to stop East Bladen’s run, but Emily Scott and Suggs each buried baskets to give the Lady Eagles a 20-3 advantage. Patience Parker nailed a bucket before the quarter ended for West Bladen.

The scenario hardly changed in the second stanza.

East Bladen opened the period with a 12-0 spurt that opened a 32-5 lead, sparked by a three-pointer by Abby Ward and seven points from Suggs. A free throw by Logan Autry stopped the run and the two teams traded points right before half, sending the Lady Eagles into intermission with a 36-9 lead.

“We just have to relax and slow down,” said West Bladen coach Rick Rhoda. “We haven’t run the offense yet this game.”

The Lady Eagles hardly gave the visitors a chance to set anything up. Suggs opened the second half with a 5-0 burst on her own with two baskets and a free throw to widen the lead to 41-9 before Pait hit a long three-pointer for West Bladen. But the Lady Eagles spurted again, this time for six unanswered points on two buckets by Suggs and one from Jenna Dove. Pait hit two free throws for the Lady Knights before East Bladen put together another 6-0 run on a basket and free throw by Ja’Tyra Moore-Peterson, a basket by Dove and free throw from Stevens. Jerena Purdie hit a bucket for the West Bladen to finish the third quarter, but the Lady Eagles to a 53-16 lead into the fourth frame.

East Bladen went on a 6-2 run to open the quarter, thanks to another three-pointer by Ward, and set the clock running for the rest of the game with 7 minutes to play. The two teams went on a scoring spree for the rest of the game, but East Bladen got the better of it in the period, 18-3, to seal the 44-point win.

“I think we played great defense, and we shared the ball as well as we have all year,” said East Bladen coach Patty Evers. “We were patient, too. And what can I say about our seniors? Not only are they good athletes and students, but they are good people.”

Suggs led East Bladen with 28 points, 10 rebounds, six assists, five steals and went 7-for-8 at the free throw line. Cromartie scored 10 points and blocked seven shots; Stevens had seven points; and Ward scored six points, had seven assists and three steals; Lexi Mendell had four assists.

For West Bladen, Pait had 13 points, five rebounds and five steals. Purdie added six points and Parker scored five.

The Lady Knights fell to 7-16 overall and finished the regular season at 5-9 in the conference.

W. Curt Vincent can be reached by calling 910-862-4163.

W. Curt Vincent

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