ELIZABETHTOWN — Visiting Whiteville used a second-quarter run and took advantage of Eagles turnovers to take a 71-58 win in the Three Rivers Conference opener on Friday.
East Bladen falls to 0-1, 0-1 with a majority of player ho were on the Eagles’ 12-2 football team that finished the season just a week earlier. Whiteville, also after a football playoff run, is now 1-0, 1-0.
The tow teams battled back and forth through the first quarter before the Wolfpack opened a 14-12 advantage. Adonis Avery kept East Bladen close with a pair of three-pointers in the period.
Whiteville turned up the defensive heat and went on a 16-7 run through the second quarter to open a 32-19 lead at halftime.
East Bladen opened the second half with a 5-0 run behind Avery’s three-pointer and pair of free throws to pull the Eagles within 32-24, and the home team had something going. Messiah Leach followed up with a pair of three-pointers and Sincere Smith canned a three-pointer — and with just over 3 minutes left in the third quarter, East Bladen was within 38-33.
But the Wolfpack finished the quarter with an 11-2 run and took a 49-35 advantage into the fourth quarter.
Avery bombed in a pair of three-pointers for the Eagles to pull East Bladen within eight at 49-41, but giveaways hurt East Bladen down the stretch as Whiteville went on a 9-2 spurt to seal the 13-point win.
East Bladen was led by Avery’s 21 points behind five three-pointers, while Leach had 14 points and Smith added 10. Javant McDowell led the Eagles on the boards with 15 rebounds.
East Bladen will host South Columbus in a Three Rivers Conference game on Tuesday at 8 p.m.