With Bladenboro clinging to a 14-13 lead and 1:34 remaining in the third quarter, an intentional foul call sent Bulldog leading scorer Will Benton
to the bench with his fourth personal foul.
Two other Bulldogs appeared to be more involved in the play, but Benton, Bladenboro's principal ball-handler, was charged with the foul.
Milton Willis sank one of the two foul shots, and Whittington turned an offensive rebound into points and a 16-14 Cougar lead.
After Blake McClenny followed up his own miss to tie the game at 16-16, Whittington scored off another rebound to put the Cougars ahead to stay
Malik Cromartie's fast-break lay-up started the final period. Lay-ups by Mitchell Johnson and Whittington out of Elizabethtown's spread offense ran
the count to 24-16 with 3:26 left to play.
Benton returned to the game and along with David Howell ignited a 6-0 Bladenboro rally.
Howell canned two of four free throws, before Benton made one of two.
A Howell steal led to a Benton drive for a lay-up, and another steal preceded a Cougar foul that sent Benton to the line with 51 seconds left.
The Bulldog guard converted one of two to close the gap to 24-22.
Donavan Richardson stopped the Bladenboro run by nailing four-of-four foul shots in the final 20 seconds.
Benton topped all scorers with 9 points. Howell finished with 5, and McClenny contributed 4 points.
Whittington and Johnson shared scoring honors for the winners with 7 points each. Richardson chipped in with 6.
Baskets by Richardson and Anthony Autry staked the Cougars to an early 4-0, but Howell flipped in a scoop shot that led to a three-point play.
Benton beat the press for a lay-up and two free throws, but Cromartie's lay-up at the quarter buzzer evened the count at 9-9.
Walter Jefferson turned a Will Nance pass into a lay-up, and McClenny swished a runner from the baseline for a 13-9 Bladenboro lead.
Johnson threw in a runner from the lane, but Benton's free throw preserved a 14-11 Bladenboro halftime lead.
Bladenboro -- Freeman Turner, David Howell 5, Blake McClenny 4, Will Nance 2,
Walter Jefferson 2, Will Benton 9, Jonathan Benson.
Elizabethtown -- Damiano Whittington 7, Mitchell Johnson 7, Anthony Autry 2, Donavan Richardson 6, Earl Daughtry, Antwan Willis 2, Milton Willis 1, David Parks, Malik Cromartie 4.