CLINTON — Freshman sensation Milayka Boykin put up 36 points for Clinton, but it wasn’t enough to overcome the total team effort by the Lady Eagles on Friday in the championship of the Four County Conference Tournament.
East Bladen, seeded No. 1 in the tournament, used an 18-12 fourth quarter to seal a 56-52 win over the No. 2 Lady Dark Horses and improved to 25-1.
“We played loose and relaxed, but with emotion,” East Bladen coach Patty Evers said. “We knew she (Boykin) would get her points with N.C. State at the game, but we shut down everyone else.”
Clinton managed to eek out a 14-13 lead after the first quarter of play, but the Lady Eagles used a 14-12 advantage in the second quarter to take a 27-26 lead into halftime.
In the third quarter, neither team could take total control and, when the period ended, the game was knotted at 38-38 — setting up a classic finish to the first Four County Conference Tournament.
But East Bladen would have to take on the final 8 minutes without three-point specialist Asha Graham, who fouled out in t6he third quarter. And sooner than later, Christiana Cromartie would follow Graham to the bench.
“Even though Asha and Chris fouled out, Miller (Heustess) and Imani (Turner-Dobson) gave us real good minutes in the fourth quarter,” Evers said.
The Lady Eagles played inspired basketball down the stretch, and out scored Clinton by six to take the title.
Turner-Dobson turned in a triple-double with 13 rebounds, 12 points and 10 blocked shots.
“That was big for us,” Evers said. “And it should give her some huge confidence.”
Graham led East Bladen with 15 points, while Lacey Suggs had nine. Abby Ward and Cromartie each scored eight points.