‘Hawks Take Round 1 in ‘Battle of Blythewood’

Under pressure from Westwood’s Dominic Corbitt, Blythewood’s Josh Bowers eyes the basket as his momentum carries him out of bounds. (Photo/Kristy Kimball Massey)

BLYTHEWOOD – Westwood High School hosted the Bengals of Blythewood High Tuesday night in an important 4A Region IV match, vying for bragging rights as to who is tops in Blythewood. Westwood prevailed over the Bengals by a score of 63-53.

The first quarter was all defense. Each team made things tough for the other under the basket, causing missed shots and steals. Rebounding and hanging on to the ball was key. With 23 seconds to go in the first quarter and the score 10-9 Redhawks, Westwood’s Josh Bowers laid one up for the score and was fouled in the process. Bowers hit the free-throw, and the quarter ended with Blythewood up 12-10.

In the second quarter, Westwood regained the lead briefly, but had a miserable time controlling the Bengals. Things started to go wrong when a bad pass went out of bounds and Blythewood’s Keith Matthews hit a 3-pointer – his second of the night. Another 3-pointer by Blythewood’s Jacobi Bailey put Westwood further in the hole, 20-13.

The 7-point margin held for the remainder of the period, plus or minus one or two points, one way or the other. With less than a minute to go, Cameron Womack hit a Bengal field goal and teammate Khalil Harris was fouled and put another point on the board. Blythewood went into the locker room leading 26-19.

Early in the third period, an event occurred which changed the whole dynamic of the game. That event was the fifth foul charged against Westwood’s big man and one of the team’s leading scorers, Richie Finch. The one they count on under the rim.

But the Redhawks rallied, rose to the challenge and began hitting with more accuracy and causing Blythewood to have difficulty holding on to the ball.

In the third quarter Blythewood was held to just three field goals and a handful of free throws for only 10 points. With three minutes to go in the period, Westwood’s Jordan Watson hit two successive baskets, narrowing the gap to just a point, 33-32. With 1:33 to go in the period, Javonn King nailed a 3-pointer, giving the Redhawks the lead, which they would hold until the buzzer. The score at the end of the quarter stood at 37-36, Westwood.

Westwood extended their lead right from the start in the last period, when DeMonte Jacobs hit the first of the three 3-pointers that he would score, without a single miss. Matthews would come right back with a 3-pointer of his own for the Bengals.

The teams traded points here and there, and the Bengals high water mark came midway through the period when Ramel Johnson hit the goal for 2, tying the game 47-47.

Good shooting by Westwood and another 3-pointer by Jacobs began to make things look tough, but not impossible, for Blythewood. However, the end came at the foul line, when three successive fouls were called against Blythewood, sending Jacobs, Makale Tolliver and King to the line to hit 5 for 8, ending any chance for a Bengal comeback. The clock ran out with the score 63-53, Westwood.

The Bengals’ high scorer was Harris with 16 points. The high scorer for the game was Watson with 21 points.

The Bengals will get a chance to even the score when the two teams meet again on Feb. 10.

Friday, the Bengals host Ridge View, while Westwood hosts Spring Valley.