Lake Lifts Bengals Over Hawks

Trae Churn (34 white) drops one over Westwood’s Rashawn Crosby. (Photo/Kristy Kimball Massey)

Trae Churn (34 white) drops one over Westwood’s Rashawn Crosby. (Photo/Kristy Kimball Massey)

BLYTHEWOOD (Jan. 20, 2016) – The most the Westwood boys’ basketball team could hope for at Blythewood Tuesday night was to stick to their game plan of slowing down the tempo.

The Redhawks did manage to slow down the Bengals for a quarter, but Blythewood eventually rolled to a 60-48 victory over their Region IV-4A rival.

“Our kids played really hard, played efficient really early,” Bengals head coach Ezekiel Washington said. “We had to battle them, because they played very, very hard in the first half.”

Eli Lake, one of the team’s most consistent shooters, sat on the bench for the first half for violating team rules. He took the court in the second half and immediately made an impact for the Bengals (15-4, 3-1), sinking two 3-pointers within two minutes of the third quarter’s opening and giving Blythewood a 39-23 lead.

“He came out inspired,” Washington said. “And he came out and lifted us. He’s a leader for us, so if he comes out and does that, everybody else ups their play.”

From that point on, the Redhawks (9-8, 1-3) didn’t come closer than 11 points behind the Bengals.

Westwood head coach Terry Dozier said he knew his team didn’t have the depth to match up with the Bengals, so at the outset the Redhawks wanted to keep Blythewood from making fast breaks to the basket. The plan worked for a little while, but he said the Redhawks then began taking chances on defense.

“In the first quarter we went with the game plan, pushout break, but be patient on offense, play fundamental defense,” Dozier said. “We started gambling on defense, we started jamming the ball, which led to their breaks. That’s not part of the game plan. We wanted to meet them at half court, stay with them and make them make tough shots.”

Westwood got off to an 8-4 start four minutes into the first quarter. Keith Matthews hit a 3 and a foul shot bookended a pair of Westwood free throws from Adam Douglas. Kameron Riley’s basket evened the score at 10.

Another Riley layup gave Blythewood a 12-10 edge at the first quarter buzzer.

Both teams kept within a couple of shots of one another until Blythewood made a 9-0 scoring run between the 3:03 mark and the 1:23 mark of the second quarter to take a 31-18 lead. The Bengals took a 31-21 advantage into the locker room at halftime.

Lake took the court to start the second half and enabled the Bengals to stretch out the Westwood defense.

Matthews led all scorers with 16 points. Lake’s 12 points and nine rebounds gave the Bengals a boost.

Douglas led Westwood with 11 points, including a 7-for-8 performance from the free-throw line. Jordan Watson had 10 points.

The Bengals travel to Ridge View Friday night and look to stretch their region winning streak to three games. Washington said he hopes to see Robert Braswell and Khalil Shakur-Harris back from sickness and injury this Friday.

“We’ve got a lot of work to do and we’ll see how it goes,” he said. “We’re trying to get everybody back. We’ll see.”

Blythewood 60, Westwood 48

WHS: 10-11-8-17 – 48

BHS: 12-19-17-12 – 60

W –Adam Douglas 11, Jordan Watson 10, Barnes 9, Robinson 6, Davis 5, Lee 3, Dobey 2, James 2, Crosby 2. B –Keith Matthews 16, Eli Lake 12, Bowers 8, Churn 6, Womack 6, Riley 6, Jackson 4, Johnson 2. REC: Westwood 9-8, 1-3, Blythewood 15-4, 3-1.