Bengals Double Up Cavs

Although RNE’s Zavier Blyther-Wright (35) makes a good show of it, Bengal freshman Camron Womack (21) gets away clean with a shot in the lane. (Photo/Joe Seibles)

Boys Stage Stunning Comeback; Girls Cruise to Victory

BLYTHEWOOD – The Blythewood Bengals are on a winning streak, as both the boys and girls teams won handily against the Richland Northeast Cavaliers Tuesday night, with the girls winning 52-36, and the boys coming back from a double-digit deficit to win 48-40.

Both ball clubs struggled to shake off rusty starts in the first quarter, but responded well as the games progressed.

 Lady Bengals

In the girls’ game, the Lady Bengals focused on their height advantage with center Brooke Taylor receiving many of the early touches. The Lady Bengals moved the ball quickly on offense and found Taylor in the post. The Lady Bengals’ perimeter players also found their rhythm as the first quarter wore on, and stretched their lead out to 14-9 by the start of the second quarter.

Coach Steve Inabinet stepped the intensity up a notch for the Lady Bengals as they came out in the second quarter in a full-court press defense.

“We went to the trap in the second quarter and I think it woke us up,” said Inabinet.

The Lady Bengals forced turnovers with the traps and mounted a run to extend the lead to 23-19 at the halftime break.

The second half saw more of same from the Lady Bengals.

The press had worked so well in the first that Blythewood stuck with it and as the game wore on, the lady Cavaliers struggled to keep their composure.

Breelyn Blanding forced a steal and found Bryana Anderson in transition for a pull-up jumper with 2:58 in the third, to extend the lead to double-digits at 32-22.

Richland Northeast would not give up, however, as Sydney Reed found her touch from three-point land, nailing multiple three pointers before the end of the third quarter. But each time the Lady Cavaliers would make a run, the Lady Bengals were there to squash it.

Midway through the fourth quarter, as the Lady Bengals were beginning to take their time on offense and wind the clock down, Jasrial Thompson buried a deep three-ball, which was the nail in the coffin for the Lady Cavs.

Both coaches pulled their starters with 2:00 to play and the Lady Bengals protected the ball and their lead, finishing off the Lady Cavaliers by the final score of 52-36.

“We came out flat and a little rough in the beginning, but we changed up some things in the second half and the team adjusted well,” said Inabinet. “Hopefully we can keep this momentum for our next game with Ridge View on Friday, which will be a tough one.”

The Lady Bengals had three players score in double figures.

Lauren Harley led the team with 15 points. Blanding finished with 11 total and Taylor finished with 10.

 Boys

In the boy’s game, the Bengals had another slow start, but this time, it cost them; albeit temporarily.

The Cavaliers of Richland Northeast jumped out to a hot start, while Blythewood missed multiple point-blank baskets to start the game. With the first three minutes of the first quarter burned away, the Cavaliers stood with a 13-2 lead.

But the Blythewood team never lowered their heads and more importantly, the kept shooting.

The second quarter began the comeback, as Kenny McCray buried a three-pointer, followed by a second three-ball from Donovan Leach on the following possession, cutting the Cavalier lead to 19-10.

Blythewood worked the ball inside for a nice post bucket from Camron Womack and a few plays later, another McCray three-pointer cut the lead to four points and sparked a prompt timeout from Richland Northeast.

No amount of timeouts could cool off the Bengals, however, as they closed the gap to two points just before the half, virtually washing away the giant gap before them in the first quarter.

The second half started with a display of defense that both teams could be proud of. Three and a half minutes passed before a single point was scored, as both teams fought tooth-and-nail for the precious momentum that was now up for grabs again.

Blythewood’s man defense was turned up to another level as they forced a 10-second backcourt call and a 5-second dribbling violation.

A technical foul called on the Cavaliers after a player spiked the ball presented the first opportunity for the Bengals to take the lead since the game started.

Eli Lake calmly stepped to the line and sank both free throws, giving the Bengals a 29-28 lead.

The next offensive possession for the Bengals, Lake buried a deep two-pointer from the extended wing, giving Blythewood a four-point lead as the third quarter ended.

The fourth quarter saw a high amount of free throws from the Bengals, as they found themselves in the double-bonus for most of the fourth quarter. Midway through the final period, a block by Lake sealed the deal for the Bengals, as a determined Blythewood time finished down the stretch and executed their ‘clock-killing’ offense to wind down the game and solidify a 48-40 victory.

Coach Zeke Washington gave all of the credit to the players for the comeback.

“I wish I could say I changed something, but it was all the players tonight. They stuck with it and kept shooting, the assistant coaches kept their spirits up, they fought back,” said Washington. “It was a great win, but we’ve just got to get ready for the next one.”

McCray led the Bengals in scoring with 15 points. Lake finished with 13 and Jacobi Bailey, the hero from the Spring Valley game finished with six points.

Both Bengals squads will look to extend their winning streaks to three games this Friday when they travel to Ridge View to take on the Blazers. The games begin at 6 p.m.