FAYETTEVILLE — The sports staff of The Fayetteville Observer dipped into Bladen County for a trio of All-Cape Fear Region girls basketball selections this week. Those choices included a coach of the year, a first-team player and second-team player.
Topping the list was East Bladen High’s Patty Evers, who was named the region’s top girls basketball coach. Earlier in the spring, she was named co-coach of the year for the Four County Conference.
Evers, who recently finished her 13th season as the Lady Eagles’ head basketball coach, led East Bladen to a 28-2 record this past season and a deep run into the state’s Class 2-A playoffs. That run ended in the East Region semifinals to Reidsville.
The playoff success followed two straight seasons of losses in the first round of the state playoffs for East Bladen. But prior to that, Evers’ teams marched straight to the state championship game three consecutive seasons.
“It’s always nice to know that hard work pays off,” Evers said. “There are a lot of great coaches in our area, and girls basketball has been srtong in the southeast for years.
“I think our program is well respected because of the success we have had — great players make good coaches, and out girls have worked really hard to leave their mark at East Bladen,” she added. “I’m very honored and humbled.”
Also receiving All-Region accolades was one of Evers’ players, sophomore Lacey Suggs, who was named to the first team after averaging 19.1 points, 5.6 rebounds and 2.7 assists per game.
Suggs, who was recently selected to participate in the Select 60 North Carolina elite camp and tabbed the player of the year in the Four County Conference, also received North Carolina Basketball Coaches Association’s All-District 4 honors by being named to the first team.
After the East Region tournament in Fayetteville, Suggs was named to the all-tournament team after scoring 22 points against undefeated Reidsville.
“Lacey is very deserving of the honor because she puts in the work to be a better player,” Evers said. “I think she took her game to a different level and her drive to win is unbelievable. That isn’t something you can coach — motivation like that comes from within and that’s what we try to get out of our players. I’m very proud of her ….”
West Bladen High senior center Courtney Thompson was recognized by The Observer sports staff and placed on the All-Region second team.
Thompson, who will play her collegiate basketball at Methodist University in Fayetteville, finished her high-school career No. 4 on the state’s career rebounding list with 1,403. He biggest night of the season came on Valentine’s Day, when she pulled down 31 boards in a 38-22 win over Midway.
She helped the Lady Knights reach the state’s Class 2-A playoffs, where they lost 62-42 in the first round to a powerful Wilson Beddingfield squad and finished 13-11.