Clinton’s Lady Dark Horse basketball team hoped the third time would be the charm when they faced the undefeated East Bladen Lady Eagles on Friday night with the Four County Conference Tournament title on the line. Unfortunately for the Lady Horses, East Bladen had a much different plan. The game was played on near even terms in the first half, but the Lady Eagles used hot shooting in the third quarter to roar past Clinton and claim the tournament crown with a 76-37 drubbing of the Lady Horses.
Both teams lit up the scoreboard in the first quarter, with East Bladen’s Lacey Suggs pouring in 16 of the Lady Eagle’s 23 first quarter points, pacing East Bladen to a three point lead after the first frame. Clinton’s Alex Canady was nearly as hot leading Clinton with 12 first quarter points to keep the Lady Horses close.
The defenses picked up the pace in the second quarter as East Bladen could only add 10-points to their total and Clinton posted 8 points in the quarter. The teams went into the halftime break with East Bladen holding a 33-28 lead in what promised to be a close game down the stretch.
East Bladen came out of the break on fire, going on a 10-0 run to open the third quarter and outscoring the Lady horses 26-5 to open a commanding 59-33 lead at the end of the third quarter. It seemed the Lady Eagles could not miss and a turnover prone Clinton team found it hard to even get a shot off on many possessions.
With the outcome already determined East Bladen continued to pick apart the Clinton defense and piled on 17 fourth quarter points to finish off the Lady Horses by the final score of 76-37. The 39-point rout gave East Bladen the tournament title and wrapped up conference play with an unblemished record. After the game East Bladen head coach Patty Evers commented on her team’s strong finish, saying “we told them at halftime that they couldn’t expect Lacey (Suggs) to do everything. She had 21 points in the first half, and I told the rest of the girls that we had to give her some help. They responded and went out in the second half and made some shots. I am proud of the way we played in the second half.”
Suggs led all scorers with 27. Alex Canady paced the Lady Horses with 14 points and Brielle Mitchell added 12 for Clinton. The loss drops Clinton’s record to 22-5 overall with three of the losses coming at the hands of the Lady Eagles. The Lady Horses will open the playoffs with a home game on this coming Tuesday at 6:30 against and opponent yet to be determined.
After the game, Clinton head coach Chris Owens lamented his teams second half collapse, saying “our game plan was to be aggressive. We came out and executed in the first half and kept it close, unfortunately you have to play two halves and we didn’t do that tonight. We have to regroup and get ready for the playoffs next week, we are not done yet.”
Reach Mike Carter [email protected]