West Bladen boys capture Waccamaw title


By Martin Rickman

Sports@StarNewsOnline.com



D.J. Mason did more than exert his will on North Brunswick on Friday night. He might as well have engraved it in the floor.

The senior completely took over the Waccamaw Conference Championship as the West Bladen Knights defeated the Scorpions, 82-68.

Mason, who is committed to play at Campbell University in the fall, put his skills on display by altering shots at the rim, pulling down 15 rebounds and scoring 20 points.

"The only thing I wasn't able to do tonight was dunk," Mason said. "Coach told me to go out there and get rebounds, so I did that and helped my team win. I just wanted to get inside and make something happen."

The biggest impact Mason made on the game was forcing North Brunswick (14-8) to adjust to his presence on the court.

The Scorpions tried to take the forward away inside, but West Bladen (19-6) made the Scorpions pay by hitting outside shots in the first half to build a 43-23 cushion at the break.

The Knights' guards stepped up to the challenge, as Justin Gillespie, Devonta Smith and Shaquan Whitfield combined for 46 points and five 3-pointers.

"They shot the ball very well in the first half and that pulled us out of the zone we were running," North Brunswick coach Bryan Hayes said. "When that happens, you're asking a guy to match up against a guy playing in Division I next year. We had guys who wanted to step up to the challenge, but it's just hard to stop D.J. with one guy."

When North Brunswick tried to adjust to take away the perimeter, Mason took over, scoring 10 points in the third quarter.

Jeremy Young and Legrande Roseborough did their best to keep the Scorpions in the game in the second half, but it wasn't enough to match the Knights. Roseborough scored a game-high 25, while Young had all of his 11 points in the second half.



Girls

A dominating inside presence was the difference as Whiteville claimed the Waccamaw basketball championship over East Bladen, 51-44.

Whiteville outrebounded the Eagles by 13, leading to 37 free throw attempts on the night.

Jordan Ray and Jenna Watts each scored 16 points for the Wolfpack. Zhane Johnson led East Bladen with 12 points.