ELIZABETHTOWN — Patience Ward scored 14 of her game-high 22 points in the first half and Ja’Tyra Moore-Peterson added nine points in the opening 16 minutes to lead the Lady Eagles past visiting South Columbus on Tuesday, 56-34.
The win moved East Bladen to 4-0 overall and 2-0 in the Three Rivers Conference.
The first quarter was the Ward and Moore-Peterson show, as the two combined for 11 points. The lady Knights opened the game with a 7-0 run and held the Lady Stallions scoreless for the first 5:01. Two free throws pulled South Columbus to within 7-2, but East Bladen finished the quarter with a 6-3 spurt and took a 13-5 edge into the second stanza.
The two teams traded buckets to open the quarter, but Moore-Peterson hit back-to-back baskets and, after South Columbus sank two free throws, Ward hit a bucket and canned two foul shots before Moore-Peterson hit a three-pointer at the buzzer to finish off a 7-0 East Bladen run and give the Lady Eagles a 28-11 advantage at halftime.
But despite the big lead, Coach Patty Evers wasn’t happy about the sloppy play.
“We didn’t make smart decisions — reaching over people, making bad passes, you name it,” she said.
Those things got cleaned up in the second half.
Ward nailed a pair of baskets to open the third quarter and extended the East Bladen lead to 32-11. South Columbus countered with a three-pointer and, after a free throw by Erica McKoy, the Lady Stallions added a basket to cut the deficit to 33-16.
Lorna Mendell drained a two-pointer and Ashley Hardin hit a three-pointer to boost the Lady Eagles’ lead to 38-16. After a South Columbus bucket, Moore-Peterson hit a bucket and Hardin got her second straight three-pointer. But the Lady Stallions finished the quarter with a 4-0 spurt to close the gap to 43-22.
East Bladen all but put the game away with a 9-0 run to open the fourth quarter on baskets by Anna Kate White, Ward and Kaley Smith — along with a three-pointer by Moore-Peterson — to open a 52-22 lead. South Columbus answered with a 10-2 run that closed things to 54-32, but Abbie Cross canned a bucket for the Lady Eagles down the stretch as East Bladen sealed the 22-point win.
“Ja’Tyra and Ashley were more patient with shots in the second half and Lorna did a super job — she didn’t score a lot, but that’s not all she does for us,” Evers said. “We still have a lot to work on, but overall I’m happy with our defense.”
Ward led the Lady Eagles with 22 points and added six steals. Moore-Peterson contributed 15 points with two three-pointers and added seven rebounds and seven assists. Mendell turned in seven rebounds and four points, while Hardin had six points on the two three-pointers.
East Bladen will travel Friday to face Red Springs at 6 p.m.
W. Curt Vincent can be reached at 910-862-4163 or firstname.lastname@example.org.