ELIZABETHTOWN — On a night when East Bladen’s offense looked out of sync, the Lady Eagles grabbed a quick lead and never gave it up, escaping with a 35-31 win over visiting First Flight on Tuesday in the first round of the Class 2-A playoffs.
The win improved East Bladen to 22-5. The Lady Eagles will travel to face Roanoke Rapids in the second round on Thursday.
Shardajah Brown canned a free throw and Ja’Tyra Moore-Peterson drained a jumper to open the game for the Lady Eagles, but things went cold quickly. The Lady Nighthawks were just as stymied and never got their first points until the 4:57 mark. East Bladen finished the first quarter with a 10-6 spurt, highlighted by a pair of three-pointers from Moore-Peterson — the last one coming at the buzzer to give the Lady Eagles a 13-8 edge, giving the sophomore 10 points in the quarter.
Brown bombed in a three-pointer to open the second stanza for the Lady Eagles and give the home team a 16-8 lead, but First Flight went on a 7-0 run to close the gap to 16-15. It was the last points of the half for the Lady Nighthawks, while East Bladen finished the half on a 4-0 burst behind two free throws and a basket by Moore-Peterson for a 20-15 edge.
Emily Scott started the second half with a basket for East Bladen before First Flight drained a three-pointer. But the Lady eagles responded with a 5-0 spurt on a basket by Yolanda Coston, bucket from Moore-Peterson and free throw by Ashley Hardin. The Lady Nighthawks got a free throw at the end of the third quarter to pull within 27-19.
Brown canned a pair of baskets to open the fourth frame and give East Bladen its largest lead of the game at 31-19, but First Flight went on a 5-0 run to close the gap before Scott hit a bucket to keep the Lady Eagles up 33-24 midway through the quarter.
The Lady Nighthawks put together a 7-0 burst to cut the deficit to 33-31, but Patience Ward dropped in a lay up late in the game to seal the win.
“We think too much,” said East Bladen coach Patty Evers.”We stood around waiting for someone else to do something. But we’ll take it.”
Moore-Peterson led the Lady Eagles with 16 points and added four steals. Brown contributed seven points and six rebounds; Scott had nine rebounds and three blocked shots; Hardin added five rebounds and Ward had five rebounds.
W. Curt Vincent can be reached by calling 910-862-4163.