Bengals contain Yellow Jackets

BLYTHEWOOD – Zeke Washington couldn’t say exactly how Blythewood finally contained Irmo center Winston Hill in the Bengals’ 56-47 victory Tuesday night.

“I wish it was something I did,” Washington said. “I wish I could say that I said something or did something. The kids just decided to compete. They wanted to compete better than they did in the first half.”

Hill hurt Blythewood (4-2) with 20 points in the second half, and enabled the Yellow Jackets to rally to a commanding 38-31 lead in the waning seconds of the third quarter.

Then, to start the fourth quarter, the Bengals figured out the Yellow Jackets.

Robert Braswell (20) weaves through the Yellow Jackets on his way to the hoop. | DeAnna Robinson

Among other combinations, forwards Robert Braswell and Travis Thompson began sticking to Hill, who had been punishing under the net in the third quarter. Blythewood defenders moved Hill out from under the net, and harassed him whenever he tried to shoot.

“We had so many post players play on him,” Washington said. “In the end, we had a guy who might way 175 but he’s 6-9 (Braswell). He gave him a lot of length, but I think that by committee, we were able to wear him (Hill) out. He’s a good player, but I think we wore him out.”

In the meantime, the Bengals defense got more aggressive with forcing turnovers.

The final quarter started easily enough with Thompson and Irmo’s Raekwon Heath exchanging foul shots. One minute into play, and Hill was at his familiar place, taking two offensive rebounds before finally putting up a shot that gave Irmo a 42-36 lead.

At that point, Hill’s shot was the last straw for the Bengals, as they closed out the game on a 20-5 scoring run.

Johnathan Breland escaped for a basket at the 6:40 mark. Then Braswell drained a 3-pointer to get the Bengals to within 42-41 with six minutes to go.

In a flash, Braswell picked up a loose ball and delivered a lead-changing dunk that brought the home crowed to its feet at the 5:25 mark.

On another loose ball, Breland scooped it up and hit a jumper at the foul line to make it 45-42.

After a Breland free-throw, Hill put up his next to the last shot.

By that point, Blythewood was finally able to stay a few points ahead of the Yellow Jackets. The Bengals, who made only two shots within the 3-point stripe in the first half, made good on seven short-range shots in the second half, and was 12-of-14 from the free-throw line.

“When they compete, there ain’t nothing for me to do but sit there,” Washington said. “I sit there and try not to mess them up.”

The Bengals jumped to a 21-11 lead, and then held on as Irmo rallied, using its 3-point shooting. Jackson hit four 3s in the first half and Braswell sank 2 as Blythewood led 24-19 at halftime.

Blythewood plays at River Bluff Friday.

Irmo  – 7 – 12 – 19 – 9 – 47

Blythewood  – 13 – 11 -11 – 21 – 56

Irmo: Winston Hill 22, Trevez Caldwell 11, Heath 5, Young 4, Rivers 3, Williams 2

Blythewood: Tre Jackson 25, Robert Braswell 15, Breland 5, Williams 5, Thompson 4, Heatly 2.