LAKE WACCAMAW — A balanced inside-outside scoring effort spelled doom for the Eagles of East Bladen High in their opener on Tuesday, as they fell to East Columbus High, 59-47.
The Gators took advantage of a poor defensive effort by East Bladen, allowing Elijah Gresham to score 18 points, mostly doing his work under the basket, and another 18 points from Derrick Young, who did most of his damage from the outside — including four three-pointers.
East Columbus opened the game with a 17-10 advantage after the first quarter, then extended the lead to 24-14 after a low-scoring second quarter.
In the third quarter, the Gators continued to dominate and outscored East Bladen by a 17-13 margin to balloon the lead to 41-27.
The Eagles erupted for 20 points in the fourth quarter, but East Columbus nearly matched the output with 18 points to seal the win.
Nine players scored for East Bladen. Devonte Beatty led the Eagles with 11 points, while Jaquan Jones added 10.
— In St. Pauls on Wednesday, St. Pauls High took a late lead and hung on for a 72-68 win over East Bladen High.
The loss drops the Eagles to 0-2.
East Bladen got off to a quick 7-4 lead, but the Bulldogs put together a 16-5 run to take a 20-12 lead. East Bladen managed to close the gap to 20-17 by the end of the first quarter.
In the second quarter, St. Pauls widened the lead by outscoring the Eagles 17-13 and took a 37-30 lead into halftime.
In the second half, East Bladen manufactured a 22-3 spurt that gave them a 52-43 edge, but St. Pauls roared back in the fourth quarter and took a 68-66 lead with just over 1 minute left.
Jaquan Jones led East Bladen with 34 points and had 10 boards, while Devonte Beatty had 11 and 14 rebounds. Latyson Robinson added 10.