Thompson’s monster game lifts West Bladen

W. Curt Vincent Editor

February 15, 2014

DUBLIN — Courtney Thompson grabbed 31 rebounds Saturday, taking over the No. 6 spot on the state’s career all-time rebounding list, and scored 22 points to lead West Bladen past visiting Midway in a Four Conference tilt, 38-22.

The win moved the Lady Knights to 12-8 overall and 7-6 in the conference. The Lady Raiders fell to 9-12, 7-6.

West Bladen opened the game like it was focused on getting a shutout. The Lady Raiders couldn’t find a point until the 1:29 mark of the first quarter — meanwhile, the Lady Knights got three baskets from Thompson and one from Miriam Mendoza, along with a pair of free throws by Thompson, to take a 10-0 lead.

Midway scored the quarter’s final two points, getting a free throw at 1:59 and another at the 1:28 mark to trail 10-2 going into the second quarter.

The Lady Raiders canned two quick baskets to open the second stanza, but Laikyn Pait buried a basket and Thompson hit a free throw to expand the lead to 13-6. Midway hit another basket, but West Bladen went on a 6-0 spurt fueled by a pair of baskets by Mendoza and one from Thompson. After a free throw by Midway, West Bladen closed the half with two free throws from Thompson and one by Mendoza to take a 22-9 lead into halftime.

The third quarter was far quieter than the first two, as neither team could manage a point in the last few minutes of the period. But the Lady Knights opened the quarter with a pair of free throws from Akira Grimes and a three-pointer by Taylor Stephens to open a 27-7 advantage.

Midway answered with a mini 3-0 spurt and Stephens quickly responded with a basket — and that’s the way the third quarter ended, with West Bladen holding a 29-12 lead.

Thompson all but took over in the fourth quarter. The Lady Raiders started launching three-pointers — hitting two — but rarely managed to get a rebound, as Thompson was grabbing everything in sight. A rebound early in the period tied her for sixth all-time in the state, but she was hardly done. She pulled down six more rebounds in the quarter.

At the other end, Thompson scored all of West Bladen’s nine points in the quarter, canning four baskets and hitting a free throw.

Midway never got closer than 13, and Thompson’s final two baskets late in the game sealed the 16-point win.

“We played a lot better,” West Bladen coach Pam Stephens said. “We had a good practice Friday and we told the girls that we had to win this game.

“We talked about not giving up second-chance opportunities and they worked hard on that,” she added. “Our thing in practice was ‘get it, grab it, don’t let ‘em have it.’ I’m really tickled with this win.”

Thompson’s 31 rebounds dropped former East Bladen star Courtney Melvin into the No. 7 slot on the all-time list. Her 22 points led the Lady Knights against Midway, while Mendoza added seven points and Stephens had five points and four assists. Pait had seven rebounds.