ELIZABETHTOWN — The Lady Eagles had a tough time shaking a pesky Wallace-Rose Hill squad that was making its first appearance of the season, but a huge fourth quarter by Ja’Tyra Moore-Peterson carried East Bladen to a 45-36 win in the opening round of the East Bladen Holiday Classic on Wednesday.
The win improved the Lady Eagles to 8-1 overall.
Baskets by Lorna Mendell and Moore-Peterson gave the Lady Eagles a quick 4-0 edge and the Lady Bulldogs couldn’t get on the board until the 5:25 mark when they cut the deficit in half. A free throw by Patience Ward and basket by Moore-Peterson gave East Bladen a 7-2 lead, but Wallace-Rose Hill — held scoreless for another 3:52 — went on a 6-0 spurt to take an 8-7 lead. Mendell buried another shot for a 9-8 East lead, but the Lady Bulldogs got the last bucket to take a 10-9 lead into the second quarter.
Shardajah Brown drained a three-pointer for the Lady Eagles to open the period, but Wallace-Rose Hill hit two shots to regain the lead at 14-12. Brown then buried another three-pointer and Anna Kate White canned a basket to give East Bladen a 17-14 lead at halftime.
Baskets by Ward and Moore-Peterson offset six points by the lady Bulldogs, but East Bladen went on a 7-0 burst on three free throws by Moore-Peterson, a basket by Ward and two free throws by Erica McKoy to open a 28-20 lead. Wallace-Rose Hill hit a free throw to end the third quarter.
The final 8 minutes essentially belonged to Moore-Peterson — who hit 13-of-16 free throws during the quarter along with two baskets for East Bladen’s final 17 points. Brown opened the period with her third three-pointer and McKoy added an early bucket to help the Lady Eagles seal a nine-point win.
“A win is a win,” East Bladen coach Patty Evers said. “But we found out how much of a leader Ashley (Hardin, who is out four to six weeks with a shoulder injury) is on the floor.
“We had to work hard on the boards, and Shardajah did a nice job for us,”she added.
Moore-Peterson’s 21 points led East Bladen, and she added seven rebounds. Brown added nine points with the trio of three-pointers and she led the Lady Eagles with 11 rebounds. Ward contributed six boards.
East Bladen will play North Brunswick on Thursday in the second round at 6:30 p.m.
W. Curt Vincent can be reached by calling 910-862-4163 or firstname.lastname@example.org.