McDonald leads Knights to conference win over Midway

By: W. Curt Vincent -

DUBLIN — West Bladen got a big second half from Stefan McDonald and pulled away in the fourth quarter Friday to hand the visiting Raiders of Midway a 70-59 Four County Conference loss.

The Knights improved to 12-3 overall and 3-2 in the conference.

After McDonald canned two free throws to open the game, Midway went on a 6-2 run before Sayaun Dent and John Bowen hit baskets and McDonald nailed another free throw for a 9-6 edge. After a Raiders bucket, Shaquille Johnson stole a Midway pass and raced the length of the court for a monster dunk. The Raiders hit a trio of free throws, but West Bladen had a 5-0 spurt on a basket by Jonathan Robinson and free throws by Dent and Jimmy Williams to take a 16-11 lead into the second quarter.

Keyshaun Lewis bombed in a long three-pointer and Dent canned a bucket to open the second stanza and give the Knights a 21-11 edge. But Midway answered with a 7-0 run before a McDonald free throw stopped it — only to see the Raiders go on a 9-0 burst that gave the visitors a 27-22 advantage.

But West Bladen closed the half with an 8-3 spurt on free throws by Robinson, Dent, McDonald and Lewis — along with a basket by Bowen — to go into halftime knotted up at 30-30.

“If we don’t turn the ball over, we’re up 30-14 right now,” West Bladen coach Travis Pait said. “But we’ll be OK. Stefan is going to play a great second half.”

Pait was pretty prophetic.

Midway opened the second half with a 6-1 run for a 36-31 lead, but the Knights responded with an 11-2 burst on two baskets by Robinson, a three-pointer and basket by McDonald, a basket by Johnson and two free throws by Dent for a 42-38 lead.

The two teams traded a pair of baskets to finish the third quarter with West Bladen up, 46-42.

The Knights outscored Midway in the fourth quarter by a 24-17 margin thanks to 10 free throws, three-pointers by McDonald and Bowen, along with baskets by Robinson, Johnson, Bowen and Malique McDowell. West Bladen finished the game on a 12-6 run to seal the win.

“We didn’t get rattled, and that was big for us,” Pait said. “Stefan had a good half, Robinson played well, McDowell gave us good minutes and we guarded well. We also got to the line a lot.”

The Knights were 26-of-36 from the foul line — McDonald himself was 13-of-18 and Dent was 5-of-6.

McDonald, who scored 15 points in the second half, led West Bladen with 21 points and two three-pointers. He also contributed nine rebounds and five assists. Robinson scored 11points and grabbed eight boards for the Knights, while Johnson scored nine points and had nine rebounds. Bowen scored 11 points and Dent added nine points to the cause.

W. Curt Vincent can be reached by calling 910-862-4163.

W. Curt Vincent