ELIZABETHTOWN — Patience Ward and Ja’Tyra Moore-Peterson each had a double-double Friday, combining for 38 points and 24 rebounds to lead East Bladen past visiting West Bladen, 68-36, in the Three Rivers Conference regular-season finale.
The lady Eagles improved to 22-1 overall, 17-1 in the conference; the Lady Knights fell to 7-16 overall and 5-12 in the conference.
After a Moore-Peterson free throw to open the game for East Bladen, the visitors got baskets from Conner Brisson and Elizabeth Allbright for a 4-1 lead. It would be their only lead in the game.
The lady Eagles went on a 5-0 spurt on a basket by Moore-Peterson, two free throws by Ashley Hardin and a free throw by Erica McKoy to open a 6-4 edge. After a free throw by Kasee Singletary for West that knotted the game, East Bladen answered with a 6-0 run on two baskets and two free throws by Ward. A Singletary bucket for the Lady Knights was followed by another 6-0 run from East Bladen on a basket by Ward and four free throws by Moore-Peterson to finish the first quarter with the Lady Eagles up, 18-8.
Hardin started the second stanza with a free throw for East Bladen before baskets by Allbright and Carley Dawson for the visitors were sandwiched around a bucket by east’s Moore-Peterson. The Lady Eagles then went on a 5-0 burst on a free throw by Hardin and two baskets by Ward to open a 31-17 lead.
Allbright hit another basket underneath for West and Ward answered for East with a basket; Allbright muscled in another bucket in close for the Lady Knights and McKoy answered with a basket for the Lady Eagles; Patience Parker canned a basket for West Bladen and Moore-Peterson responded with a bucket for East Bladen; and after a free throw by Brisson for the visitors, the Lady Eagles finished the half with a 5-0 spurt on an old-fashioned three-point play by McKoy and two free throws from Moore-Peterson to take a 37-19 lead into halftime.
East Bladen goaded the Lady Knights into 11 turnovers in the third quarter and outscored the visitors by a 15-5 margin to take a 52-24 advantage into the fourth quarter. Moore-Peterson hit a three-pointer and a basket in the quarter for East, while McKoy canned three baskets; West got a basket each from Allbright and Parker.
The two teams traded a free throw to start the final eight minutes — Ward for east Bladen and Parker for West Bladen — before the Lady Eagles went on a 9-0 run behind two baskets from Kaley Smith, three free throws by Ward and a basket by McKoy to open a 63-25 lead.
West Bladen answered with an 8-0 burst on two buckets by Parker and a basket each from Allbright and Brisson to close the gap to 63-33. Shardajah Brown stopped West’s run with a basket for the Lady Eagles and, after a free throw by Dawson for the lady Knights, Abbie Cross and Izzy Smith canned baskets to give East Bladen a 68-34 lead. Mikayla Winebarger hit her lone shot of the game for the Lady Knights just before the game ended.
“We emphasized boxing out and rebounding in practice, and I think we did a good job,” said East Bladen coach Patty Evers. “We ran the floor well and we’re working on defense — which has to be better.”
Ward led the Lady Eagles with 20 points and added 12 rebounds and six steals; Moore-Peterson scored 18 points and had 12 rebounds and five assists; McKoy scored 14 points; Brown had eight rebounds; Lorena Mendell had two blocks; and East Bladen was 21-of-33 from the line.
“We got outplayed in every aspect that can be done,” said West Bladen coach Brian McCleney. “We played as hard as we could.”
Allbright led the Lady Knights with 12 points and Parker scored nine points.
W. Curt Vincent can be reached at 910-862-4163 or firstname.lastname@example.org.