BURGAW — West Bladen avenged an earlier 67-61 loss to Pender County and snapped a three-game Four County Conference skid on Tuesday, beating the Patriots on their own home court, 61-58.
The win improves the Knights to 15-6 overall and 6-5 in the conference. Pender County fell to 5-11 overall and 3-7 in the conference.
West Bladen was playing without two key components — point guard Kalvin Page, who recently broke his hand, and coach Travis Pait, who stayed home with a severe virus.
But the Knights got seven points from Sayaun Dent and three-pointers from Stefan McDonald and Jimmy Williams to open an 18-11 lead after the first quarter.
Keyshawn Lewis drilled a three-pointer in the second stanza for West Bladen, but the two teams knotted at 12-12 in the quarter and the Knights took a 30-23 advantage into halftime.
That back and forth activity continued after intermission. Seven Knights scored in the third quarter, led by five points from John Bowen and a three-pointer from Will Lambeth that allowed West Bladen to outscore the Patriots by an 18-16 margin and extend the lead to 48-39 going into the fourth frame.
Pender County manufactured a rally down the stretch outscoring the Knights by a 19-12 verdict, but nine points by Dent in the quarter — including hitting seven of nine free throws — kept West Bladen afloat and helped seal the three-point win.
“We really needed that win,” Pait said. “It’s been a tough time without Kalvin, but we’re adjusting and will be OK.
“This is a young group that’s learned a lot this season,” he added. “Even with the success we had early and during the holiday tournaments, I think they’ve yet to play their best basketball.”
Dent led the Knights with 18 points, while Bowen contributed 13 points. McDonald and Williams each scored eight points for West Bladen.
West Bladen will host Clinton on Friday at 8 p.m. in a Four County Conference matchup.
W. Curt Vincent can be reached by calling 910-862-4163.