Bladen’s best

March 11, 2014

They’re back, and the future appears bright.

After an absence of two seasons, during which the Lady Eagles varsity basketball team was ousted from the state playoffs in the first round, East Bladen returned last week to a place where they have become quite familiar over the past 10 seasons: the East Region portion of the playoffs.

And the positives surrounding this team, its accomplishments and the support it generated is a list that is extensive and diverse as Bladen County team has garnered in recent years.

These Lady Eagles include players from each of the four classes — freshman through senior. And the strength of this team, save for the lone senior Asha Graham, is squarely centered around sophomores Lacey Suggs, Abby Ward and Christiana Cromartie. But hardly an afterthought, juniors Abbey Norris and Imani Turner-Dobson will be expected to be the senior leadership next season. Role players like Miller Heustess, Lexie Mendell, Madeline West, Emily Scott and Lexie Dawson will give the Lady Eagles a good mix of experience.

But during this recently completed season, the Lady Eagles reached a few pre-season goals, like winning the conference regular-season title and its tournament, as well as winning a sectional title.

East Bladen lost in last week’s East Region semifinal against Reidsville, but coach patty Evers can be proud of a group that compiled a 28-2 record and shows no indication it won’t be back for another crack at a regional title and beyond over at least the next two seasons.

Perhaps the most impressive, and proudest item of all on the list of positives for the season, is the support the Lady Eagles received — especially at the East Region semifinal in Fayetteville on Wednesday night.

Not only was their a huge contingent from Bladen County in the Crown Arena to root on the Lady Eagles, but that crowd included folks from just about every nook and cranny of the county. That included a large number of West Bladen High fans, who were there cheering as loudly as anyone for their cross-county rivals.

In that way alone, it was a victorious night for not only East Bladen, but for Bladen County.

Our sincere kudos, congrats and attawaytogos to the Lady Eagles.