Bengals Take Two of Three in Classic

Blythewood’s Kameron Riley (4) takes a tumble as Wheeler’s Jordan Usher (4) crashes the boards and Khalil Shakir-Harris (15) goes up for the block. (Photo/Ross Burton)

Blythewood’s Kameron Riley (4) takes a tumble as Wheeler’s Jordan Usher (4) crashes the boards and Khalil Shakir-Harris (15) goes up for the block. (Photo/Ross Burton)

COLUMBIA (Dec. 26, 2016) – After a Thursday loss in the Chick Fil-A Classic basketball tournament, the Blythewood boys wanted nothing more but to close out the holiday event at Richland Northeast with a victory.

The Bengals hit the floor Friday afternoon against Lafayette Christian Academy, started draining 3-pointers, and never looked back in a 67-51 domination of the Knights.

“They got the threes, and the guys felt good about themselves, and I just sat there,” head coach Zeke Washington said. “They played well, they moved the ball well. When they decide to play, it’s something to see.”

Lafayette’s Pierre Dupre sank the first basket of the game, but the Bengals drained six threes in the first eight minutes of play to take a 24-6 lead. Khalil Shakir-Harris struck first with two threes early on. Savion Dawkins also had two 3-pointers, and Charles Jackson and Keith Matthews had one apiece in that stretch.

The Bengals (8-3) spent the rest of the first half melting time off the clock and went into halftime with a 31-15 advantage.

Lafayette Christian (12-4) went 0-for-9 in 3-point attempts in the first half, on top of a meager 5-for-27 shooting, or 18.5 percent, from the field. The Knights’ 50 percent shooting in the second half improved the total percentage to 33.3 percent.

Lafayette tried to stop the bleeding once it found its 3-point stroke. The Knights sank seven threes in the second half, but it was nowhere near enough to get close to the Bengals.

Blythewood held a 24-point lead on Lafayette with 8:47 to go in the game before the Knights started to rally for a 12-4 scoring run. By the end of that run — Jackson’s second 3-pointer that made it 59-40 — there was just over five minutes left.

The Bengals managed to snuff out a Lafayette rally with impeccable ball handling under the glass. Blythewood scooped up 42 rebounds to the Knights’ 22.

Ending the tournament on a high note was a good thing for the Bengals, who went 1-2 in the tournament last year.

“They’ve been together a little longer. They’re a little stronger,” Washington said. “This is year five for the program. They decided they wanted to win two games here, and they did it, and we were competitive in the game that we lost. When they decide to play, it’s something.”

Blythewood opened up the tournament with a 63-61 win over Porter Gaud Wednesday. The Cyclones held a 30-26 lead at the 2:36 mark of the first half, but the Bengals closed out the first with a 7-0 run to take a 33-30 lead into the locker room.

A 10-2 scoring run gave them a 43-32 lead before Porter Gaud staged a little comeback, but the Cyclones could not regain the lead.

Thursday’s matchup with Wheeler High School — with the winner heading to the championship game Friday — did not play out well for the Bengals.

Wheeler’s E.J. Montgomery scored 26 points and three other teammates scored in double figures to hold off the Bengals 79-61.

Blythewood stayed close with the Georgia school for most of the game, trailing 39-35 at the half, but two small scoring runs over the course of the second half enabled Wheeler to stretch the margin of victory to 18.

Even so, Washington said his team looked good over the three-day stretch, and will look to keep focused in the Pepsi Classic in Florence next week.

“We’re going to do the best we can and get some experience,” Washington said. We’re just going to go play.”

Blythewood 63, Porter Gaud 61

Porter Gaud    30    31    –    61

Blythewood    33    30    –    63

Porter Gaud

Aaron Nesmith 23, Jake Langford 12, Whatley 7, Jackson 6, James 6, Smith 4, Shannon 3.

Blythewood

Keith Matthews 15, Robert Braswell 13, Charles Jackson 10, Josh Bowers 10, Riley 6, Breeland 4, Dawkins 3, Shakir-Harris 2.

Wheeler 79, Blythewood 61

Wheeler    39    40    –    79

Blythewood    34    27    –    61

Wheeler

E.J. Montgomery 26, Jordan Usher 17, Jordan Tucker 14, Darius Perry 12, Younger 6, Lewis 3, Aninye 1.

Blythewood

Keith Matthews 18, Charles Jackson 15, Braswell 8, Breeland 7, Dawkins 6, Shakir-Harris 5, Riley 2.

Blythewood 67, Lafayette Christian 51

Lafayette Christian    15    36    –    51

Blythewood    31    36    –    67

Lafayette Christian

Greg Williams 18, Caleb Starks 12, Jones 6, Hall 5, Campbell 4, Howard 2, P. Dupre 2, V. Dupre 2.

Blythewood

Charles Jackson 15, Robert Braswell 14, Khalil Shakir-Harris 10, Keith Matthews 10, Breeland 6, Dawkins 6, Bowers 4, Riley 2.