CLINTON — The Dark Horses of Clinton, the No. 1 seed in the Four County Conference Tournament, built an eight-point lead in the first quarter and then piled it on in the third quarter to hand No. 4-seeded East Bladen a 69-59 loss on Thursday in the semifinals.
The loss drops the Eagles to 14-10 on the season and they will receive their Class-2-A state playoff pairing on Saturday.
After a 6-6 knot early in the game, Clinton went on a 9-1 run that resulted in a 17-9 lead after the first quarter.
The two teams traded points through the second quarter and the Eagles found themselves trailing by a 33-25 margin at halftime.
The Dark Horses put together a 20-11 run through the third quarter and, with only the final 8 minutes remaining, the top seed held a 53-36 advantage.
East Bladen managed to close the deficit to 12 at 62-50 with just under 3 minutes to play, but only a pair of three-pointers late by Alex Stephens managed to get the Eagles any closer before the buzzer.
Jaquan Jones led East Bladen with 14 points and grabbed 12 rebounds, while Stephens contributed 13 points. Ethan Hines scored 10 points for East Bladen.