Bengals Take Down Redhawks

Westwood’s Kelvin Atkins (left) and Jaylen Smith stand their ground, but Blythewood’s Donovan Leach makes it to the hoop. (Photo/Kristy Kimball Massey)

BLYTHEWOOD – The Bengals basketball team (16-9, 6-3) continued their ascent up the Region IV-4A ladder Tuesday night with a convincing 64-47 victory over the Westwood Redhawks.

Blythewood head coach Zeke Washington told The Voice before the game how important the region game was.

“We’re in the playoffs right now, but we’re playing for a second, third or fourth seed so we need this one,” he emphasized.

With the win, Blythewood has a one-game lead over Westwood in the number two spot in the region. The top four spots are guaranteed a postseason bid. Spring Valley sits at the top (15-7, 7-1), Blythewood in second, Westwood (13-10, 5-4) in third and Ridge View in fourth (10-11, 4-4).

Prior to Tuesday night’s contest, Blythewood was coming off a 68-65 overtime victory over Lugoff-Elgin last week that kept the Bengals in the top half of the region race.

“They (Lugoff-Elgin) have a pretty good team and they’re young, but I don’t think we played our best basketball (that night),” Washington noted before Tuesday’s game against Westwood. “We got caught not doing our best and they almost had us. Hopefully it taught us a lesson that every time we lace these shoes up we have to give it our best.”

The Bengals definitely laced up their shoes tight enough Tuesday, especially Eli Lake, who poured in 15 of his game-high 17 points in the first quarter to spot the Bengals a 19-4 lead heading into the second quarter. Lake drained three 3-pointers during his scoring run.

However, Westwood stifled Blythewood in the second quarter and outscored the Bengals 16-5. With the Bengals holding on to a 24-14 advantage, Westwood’s Demonte Jacobs netted back-to-back 3-pointers as the final seconds ticked off the clock in the first half to pull Westwood to within 24-20.

Despite Westwood’s run to end the first half, Blythewood clamped down in the third quarter and outscored Westwood 13-5 to give the Bengals a 37-25 advantage heading in to the final frame. Before the game, Washington told The Voice one of the keys would be to slow down Westwood’s 6-foot, 6-inch post player Richie Finch.

“He can really play and we’re going to have to keep him off the boards because he can play,” Washington said.

The Bengals’ defense did just that, as Finch was a non-factor. Finch scored just two points and battled foul trouble the entire game.

Blythewood continued to pour it on in the fourth quarter, as the Bengals lit up the scoreboard for 27 fourth quarter points, including 13 from the free throw line. Three different Bengals finished in double figures including Lake (17), Khalil Harris (10) and Cameron Womack (10), while Trae Churn scored nine.

Blythewood will finish out the regular season at Ridge View Friday night and Westwood will travel to Spring Valley.

Westwood 47, Blythewood 64

WW: 4-16-5-22 – 47

BH: 19-5-13-27 – 64

Individual Scoring – Blythewood: Keith Matthews 3, Keiwan Hammond 6, Eli Lake 17, Tyree Lee 3, Khalil Harris 10, Cameron Womack 10, Donovan Leach 2, Jacobi Bailey 4, Trae Churn 9. Westwood: Dominic Corbitt 1, Demonte Jacobs 9, Xavier Davis 2, Makle Tolliver 8, Javonn King 11, Jordan Watson 8, Kelvin Atkins 6, Richie Finch 2.

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