DUBLIN — A 13-0 first-quarter run by the Lady Gators helped propel the visitors to a 45-33 Three Rivers Conference win over West Bladen on Friday — and 47 turnovers didn’t help the Lady Knights’ cause.
The loss drops the Lady Knights to 1-4 overall, 0-3 in the conference.
A three-pointer by Kasee Singletary for West Bladen was sandwiched between two baskets by the visitors before the Lady Knights went on a 5-0 run behind a basket by Mikayla Winebarger and three-pointer by Indiyah Williams to give West Bladen an 8-4 lead.
But the Lady Gators answered with the 13-0 outburst to take the lead for good late in the first quarter, 17-8. The Lady Knights got a pair of free throws from Singletary, but East Columbus finished the quarter with a basket to carry a 19-10 advantage into the second stanza.
West Bladen opened the period with a 7-0 run behind a three-pointer by Chasitty Lacey and baskets by Elizabeth Allbright and Seniah Johnson to close within 19-17. The Lady Gators finally put a point on the board with a free throw at the 4:17 mark, but it would be the only point they would score in the quarter. The Lady Knights were also held scoreless over the last 4:17, save for a free throw by Conner Brisson, and they went into halftime trailing by just 20-18.
“We played the way we’re supposed to play in the second quarter,” said West Bladen coach Brian McCleney.
It didn’t last.
East Columbus opened the second half with an 8-0 spurt to take a 28-18 advantage before the Lady Knights answered with a 6-0 run behind a three-pointer by Lacey, basket by Singletary and free throw by Brisson. The lady Gators responded with their own 6-0 run, but West Bladen finished the third quarter with a 4-1 spurt to cut the deficit to 35-28.
Allbright canned a bucket to open the fourth quarter and get West Bladen within 35-30 before East Columbus hit a three-pointer and a basket to open a 40-30 edge. Singletary drained a basket and Johnson hit a free throw for the Lady Knights, but East Columbus finished the game with a 5-0 run to seal the 12-point win.
“We gave too many fouls and had too many turnovers because we were so careless with the ball,” McCleney said. “And we didn’t rotate on defense like we should.
“The girls are still learning the new system and they’re playing hard,” he added.
The Lady Knights were led by Singletary’s 10 points, while Lacey added six points with her pair of three-pointers.
W. Curt Vincent can be reached by calling 910-862-4163 or firstname.lastname@example.org.