The Lady Eagles are scheduled to play Red Springs in Greenville in the first round of the Regional tournament Friday night. Red Springs advanced to the Regional with a 58-54 win over Whiteville Saturday night.
The Lady Eagles have reached the Sectional finals the past two years, and both times lost the championship game. But the third time was the charm.
"We have gotten to the edge the past two years, and were never able to get over the hump," East Bladen Coach patty Evers said. "It's good to get the win and advance to the Regional."
East Bladen seemed sluggish Saturday, especially in the early goings, managing only six points in the first quarter.
"We just didn't play as sharp as we have all season," Evers said. "Maybe it was the long bus ride up here, I don't know. I'm just happy we played well enough to get the win."
Pasquotank's plan going in was to stop East Bladen's 6-foot-2 center Dorothy Corbett. The Lady Panthers kept a man in front and behind Corbett, but the Lady Eagles still managed to get the ball inside to her.
But at times Corbett had problems getting her shot to fall. On several occasions bumps and pushes that are usually called fouls were not whistled by the officials.
Corbett stilled managed to score a game-high 26 points. Twelve came at the free throw line where she hit 12-of-18.
Free throw made the difference for the Lady Eagles in the end. East Bladen hit 7-of-10 from the line over a two minute stretch in the final quarter after the Lady Panthers trimmed a 12-point deficit to only four points with 4:19 left to go in the contest.
"We were not great at the line, but we made enough to win the game," Evers said.
The Lady Eagles managed to connect on only 1-of-6 free throws over the finals 30 seconds of the game, but East Bladen had built its lead back to eight points by that time.
East Bladen led 47-35 early in the fourth quarter when Pasquotank went on a 10-2 run, trimming the deficit to four points, 49-45, with 4:29 left. The Lady Panthers hit a 3-pointer and made good on 7-of-8 free throws on the run.
But the five free throws by the Lady Eagles along with baskets by Jatoya Kemp and Ursula Jamison helped East Bladen to a 9-2 run as the Lady Eagles went ahead 58-47 with 2:29 remaining.
East Bladen got into foul trouble early. Kemp picked up her fourth foul in the in the third quarter and Kayla Davis fouled out with more than seven minutes left in the fourth quarter.
The contest was tied at 6-6 at the end of the first quarter. Pasquotank never led by more than two points, and a free throw by Paige Powell with 4:26 remaining in the second quarter gave the Lady Eagles a 12-11 lead and East Bladen never trailed after that.
The Lady Eagles built their lead to eight points, 28-20, by halftime. East Bladen's biggest lead came following a Corbett free throw at the 3:25 mark of the third quarter as the Lady Eagles went ahead 36-22.
The third quarter ended with East Bladen on top 45-35.
Corbett pulled down 18 rebounds to go along with her 26 points. Jamison added 11 points and Paige Powell and Jatoya Kemp added eight and seven points respectively.
Erica Rivera paced the Lady panthers with 19 points and Rachael Rivera chipped in with 14.
The win upped East Bladen's record to 24-4. Pasquotank ended its season with a 20-5 record.
EB 6 22 17 18 -63
PC 6 14 15 21 -56
East Bladen (63) - Davis 6, Kemp 7, Powell 8, Keith 3, Whittington 2, Corbett 26, Johnson, Hall.
Pasquotank - (56) - Williams 2, R. Rivera 14, McPherson 4, Lewis 11, Gordon 2, Roberson 2, E. Rivera 19, Travis 2.