Lady Knights win play-in game, 40-38

DUBLIN — The Lady Knights opened the Three Rivers Conference basketball tournament Saturday at home with a play-in game against South Columbus, and had to rally in the second half to pick up a 40-38 win.

The win improved West Bladen to 8-16 and into a first-round match-up at home on Tuesday against Red Springs at 6 p.m.

The Lady Knights manages just one basket in the first quarter, that from in close by Elizabeth Allbright, but hit five free throws — including three of four by Patience Parker — to stay close. The visiting Lady Stallions took a 10-7 edge into the second stanza.

West Bladen shooters began to find the range, with Chasitty Lacey and Parker each draining a three-pointer to lead the Lady Knights to a 14-12 advantage through the quarter and trailed by just 22-21 going into the intermission. Lacey also canned a basket in the period along with Conner Brisson and Carley Dawson, and Mikayla Winebarger dropped in two free throws for West Bladen.

The Lady Knights fell behind by eight in the third quarter, but the two teams finished the period knotted at 9-9, allowing South Columbus to carry a 31-30 edge into the fourth frame. Lexi Corrothers buried a pair of buckets for the Lady Knights in the quarter.

The West Bladen defense turned things up a notch down the stretch and held the Lady Stallions to just seven points, while five different Lady Knights — Corrothers, Parker, Lacey, Nyasia Ellison and Seniah Johnson — buried a basket to complete the comeback and end South Columbus’ season.

“We had to fight hard again,” West Bladen coach Brian McCleney said, “but the girls never gave up.”

Parker led the Lady Knights with 10 points, while Corrothers and Lacey each scored seven points.