Vikings’ defense too much for Westwood


COLUMBIA – Spring Valley and the Westwood boys went shot for shot for most of Tuesday night’s game.

The Vikings defense proved slightly better, at least in the third quarter.

Russell Jones Jr. (2) ignores the footsteps of the Spring Valley defender bearing down on his back and goes up to the hoop. | Leroy Howard

The Redhawks were outscored 16-9 in the third, and while Russell Jones Jr. scored 21 points, the Vikings came out on top 68-58 at Spring Valley.

“Defensively we were just not locked in,” Westwood head coach Jeff DiBattisto said. “We were playing out of sorts, and I’ll take responsibility for that. I’ve got to do a better job at getting them prepared defensively.”

Besides Jones, Sam Stroman added 11 points and Tyrell Huff had 10 for the Redhawks (2-1).

For a fleeting moment before the end of the first half, Westwood appeared to have solved the tall and strong presence of Spring Valley (2-1) in the paint.

Down 29-24 with four minutes to go till intermission, the Redhawks got a basket from Tyrell Huff, and then another from Russell Jones Jr. to put them within a point.

A Jones 3-pointer at the 2:58 mark gave Westwood a 31-29 lead.

Westwood’s turning of the tables lasted all of 17 seconds.

The Vikings closed out the second quarter with buckets from Antwain Moore, Montray Middleton, and Maddux Harrell. Their efforts allowed them to take a 35-31 lead into halftime.

Antwain Moore opened the second half with a 3-pointer to make it 38-31 Spring Valley, and the Vikings rolled to a 51-38 lead before Westwood’s Zachary Dunlap put in a basket at the third quarter buzzer.

The Redhawks edged the Vikings 18-17 in the fourth, but Spring Valley never allowed Westwood to make a game-winning run.

Spring Valley’s Julian Smith and Jacobie Ellis scored 14 points apiece. Rahsad Williams added 10.

DiBattisto said the Redhawks were able to put together some scoring combinations, but boxing out opponents under the net and getting rebounds was an issue.

“I thought we did some pretty good things on offense,” DiBattisto said. “Our perimeter shots weren’t falling for us, but we’ve got to be able to defend the rebound.” and they took advantage of us in rebounding. I didn’t think we just did not box out, and that’s got to get corrected.”


Westwood – 17 – 14 – 9 – 18 – 58

Spring Valley  -17 – 18 – 16 – 17 – 68


WHS: Russell Jones Jr. 21, Sam Stroman 11, Tyrell Huff 10, Dunlap 9, Wormack 6, Green 1.

SV: Julian Smith 14, Jacobie Elkins 14, Rashad Williams 10, Harrell 9, Moore 8, Williams 7, Cohens 2, Alicea 2, Middleton 2.

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