Bengals K-O Vikes, Grab First Place

Trae Churn (34) threads the needle Tuesday for 2. (Photo/Kristy Kimball Massey)

Trae Churn (34) threads the needle Tuesday for 2. (Photo/Kristy Kimball Massey)

BLYTHEWOOD (Feb. 3, 2016) – The Blythewood boys’ basketball team delivered a second-quarter knockout blow to Spring Valley Tuesday night.

While Vikings shots careened off the rim and backboard in that frame, the Bengals ran the floor and sank their shots in a 24-4 run that lifted them to a 69-52 victory over their Region IV-4A rival at Blythewood Gym.

“We switched up what we normally do,” Blythewood head coach Zeke Washington said, noting his team’s more passive approach than the Bengals’ usual fast-attack bent. “That might have caught them off guard, but the kids executed really well. We normally don’t have that look, but I thought we needed it for this game.”

Ten of 14 Blythewood players on the roster got points on the board. Churn’s 12 points led the team, along with Keith Matthew’s 11 and Eli Lake’s 10 points and nine rebounds.

The win puts Blythewood (17-4, 5-1) on top of the region standings by a half game in front of the Vikings (15-6, 5-2). Spring Valley beat Blythewood 74-66 on Jan. 12.

“We had to have it,” Washington said of Tuesday night’s win. “Our kids have some pride and wanted to redeem themselves.”

They went right to it from the tip-off.

Churn’s inside work in the first quarter gave Blythewood the initial edge, putting in four baskets in the first five minutes of the game. Coupled with a Josh Bowers put-back and a 3-pointer from Lake, Churn’s points boosted the Bengals to a 13-4 lead.

Kendall Wall’s layup with about two minutes to go in the first quarter made it 13-6, but was the last Spring Valley score until Jordan Bruner’s field goal at the 3:28 mark of the second period.

Meanwhile, the Bengals opened the second with an 11-0 run to go up 24-6. Robert Braswell got that run started with a 3-point play, and soon after Cameron Womack sank a basket and a 3. Lake added his second 3 of the game.

Bruner and Noah Guyton were the only scorers for the Vikings in the second quarter. Otherwise, the Blythewood hurt continued.

After Bruner’s shot, Matthews was good for a 2-pointer and a 3. After Guyton’s basket, the Bengals got field goals from Churn, Lake and Khalil Shakir-Harris to put the game out of reach.

Blythewood was up 37-10 at the half, but Washington knew that Spring Valley was going to try and take that lead away.

“I’ve seen them down before at the half,” Washington said, “and those athletes come at you in waves. We did a good job of holding them off.”

As anticipated, Spring Valley did come back in the second half, outscoring the Bengals in both quarters. Noah Harper scored 19 of his game-high 21 points in the second half, including a third-quarter run in which he scored nine straight Spring Valley points.

“They turned it up in the third because they have pride and they are very well coached,” Washington said, “but our kids were able to withstand it and we were able to hold them off.”

Blythewood scored just enough to keep them 20 points away for most of the rest of the game.

“You spot any team 20 points, 30 points, I don’t care if it’s the worst team or the best team, that’s a hard thing to do,” Spring Valley head coach Perry Dozier said. “And they’re a good team. We beat them in the second half, but it’s not enough. That can only happen when we’re not playing defense. They played much harder and they wanted it more than we did, that’s what it came down to.”

Blythewood plays at Lugoff-Elgin Friday.

Blythewood 69, Spring Valley 52

SV: 6-4-18-24 – 52

BHS: 13-24-11-21 – 69

S – Noah Harper 21, Ward 9, Bruner 6, Wall 4, Myers 4, Jones 3, Grant 3, Guyton 2. B – Trae Churn 12, Keith Matthews 11, Eli Lake 10, Bailey 8, Womack 7, Bowers 7, Shakir-Harris 5, Riley 4, Braswell 3, Hammond 2. REC: Spring Valley 15-6, 5-2, Blythewood 17-4, 5-1.

 

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