Redhawks blow past Keenan

COLUMBIA – The Westwood boys eased past poor shooting Keenan to open the 2017 Bojangles Bash at Ridge View High Thursday night.

Tyrell Huff’s 6-for-7 shooting behind the 3-point line and 20 points on the night keyed the Redhawks’ 56-39 victory over the Raiders. Russell Jones Jr. put up 12 points as Westwood finished 20-for-38 from the floor.

“We shot it really well. We have a team that can make shots,” head coach Jeff DiBattisto said. “The other night we didn’t shoot well at Spring Valley, but tonight we did. I’m excited about that, but defensively we’ve got to get better.”

Zachary Dunlap (4) leads the fastbreak against the Class 2A preaseason No.1, Keenan Raiders. | DeAnna Robinson

Keenan (1-2) shot 14-for-42 on the night, but was effective in pushing Westwood out from under the net and forcing distance shots. Fortunately for Westwood, most of their shots fell.

“I love Zach (Norris),” Di Battisto said. “Great coach, a great program, I’ve got a lot of respect for those guys. To go up against a team of that caliber early in the season is great for us, because our region is fantastic.”

Two days after a disappointing 68-58 loss at Spring Valley, Westwood (5-2) slowly built up momentum as Keenan’s shooting left the building early.

The Raiders sank just one shot in the first quarter. Westwood held just a 7-2 lead after the first, but began finding its distance shooting in the second quarter.

Three-pointers from Jones and Zachary Dunlap gave the Redhawks a 13-4 lead, and Huff’s first 3 of the game made it 18-7 Westwood with five minutes left in the first half.

Dunlap sank a basket and Jones drained a 3 to close out the half and give Westwood a 25-10 lead at intermission.

The Redhawks struggled to penetrate Keenan’s defense around the lane throughout the game, but stayed well ahead with their distance shooting. Westwood shot 10 threes on the night, most of which were timely Huff attempts.

“My threes were on,” said Huff, who finally made it in the paint to deliver a layup late in the third quarter. “I wish I could have drove more (inside), but as a team we played good and got the win.”

Raiders eventually cut Westwood’s lead to nine points with 5:19 left in the game. The Redhawks held a 42-33 lead, but finished the game off with a 14-6 run, including two more 3s from Huff, to close out the win.

“He can really shoot it,” DiBattisto said of Huff. “We got some other guys who can shoot it too. That can be a strength of ours, but we can’t settle for that, but that ball has gotta go inside. Tonight though, that ball was falling.”

Westwood  – 7 – 18 – 13 – 18 – 56

Keenan – 2 – 8 – 15 – 14 – 39

WHS: Tyrell Huff 20, Russell Jones Jr. 12, Wormack 9, Stroman 6, Dunlap 6, Green 2, Coleman 1.

KHS: Dillon Jones 11, Raekwon Horton 11, Taylor 9, Stone 6, Da’Sant 2.