ST. PAULS — Second-half turnovers sparked a 23-7 run by host St. Pauls and helped lead to a 65-53 win over visiting East Bladen in a Three Rivers Conference tilt.
The loss drops the Eagles to 4-15 overall, 2-12 in the conference.
East Bladen broke from the gate fast, opening the game with an 11-2 burst behind a pair of three-pointers from Sincere Smith and one from Keshaun Davis. But the Bulldogs rallied to finish the first quarter on an 8-2 run and trailed by just 13-10 going into the second stanza.
That run continued for St. Pauls and grew to a combined 19-3 — 11-1 to start the second quarter — and the Bulldogs opened a 21-14 lead. East Bladen managed to close the deficit to 23-20 with a 6-2 burst before the intermission.
The Eagles’ momentum carried over after halftime as they opened the third quarter with a 6-0 run behind all six points from Smith, but the Bulldogs regained control with a 23-7 run to finish the period and take a 46-33 into the fourth quarter.
East Bladen cut the deficit to 46-41 with an 8-0 run to start the period, but St. Pauls didn’t let the visitors get any closer, finishing the game with a 19-12 burst to seal the win. Deondre Newkirk drained a pair of three-pointers in the quarter for the Eagles.
Smith led East Bladen with 19 points and had seven rebounds; Davis added 10 points; and Javant McDowell grabbed eight rebounds.
The Eagles will travel to face South Robeson on Wednesday in a conference game at 8 p.m.