Blythewood blisters Spring Valley

COLUMBIA – The Blythewood boys were slow-going in the first half at Spring Valley Tuesday night.

But once the Bengals found their tempo, the Vikings found them unstoppable.
In their sixth game of Region 5-5A competition, the Bengals missed 3-point attempts, and the Vikings scooped up the rebounds to keep control through the first quarter.

Blythewood made some defensive shifts under the basket in the second quarter that paid off in rebounds.

From there, the Bengals rebounded to even the score at the half, then blister the Vikings 40-16 in the second half for a 70-46 victory.

Robert Braswell floats to the hoop through Spring Valley defenders. | Ross Burton

“We had to start playing better, or they was going to beat us,” Blythewood head coach Zeke Washington said. “The kids had a choice, you can either give the region away, or you can have a chance to go one game up. The kids made a decision that they were gonna play better. I wish I could take credit, but the credit goes to the kids and the coaching staff to keep me calm.”

Spring Valley held the Bengals (15-2 overall, 6-0 region) in check through the first quarter, then closed out an 18-13 lead on Darius Cohen’s three foul shots and a basket in the final two minutes.

By that point, the Vikings outrebounded the Bengals 10-5. Blythewood 3-point shooters came up 2-for-7 in the first.

Robert Braswell was one of those shooters who was down on his luck in the first quarter. In the second quarter he moved inside the 3-point stripe, and with Tre’ Jackson started sinking baskets in the lane to close the gap.

A Jackson 3 tied the game at 26 with 1:30 to go in the first half. Jackson’s basket with 30 seconds left gave Blythewood a 30-28 lead, but Darius Cohens responded with a bucket that tied the game at 30 at halftime.

“They played well and they really wanted that game,” Washington said of Spring Valley, “But we played a whole lot better. We rebounded a lot better, the effort was a lot better and we played more as a team. I don’t think we hustled enough in the first half and played together in the first half.”

From Travis Thompson’s putback one minute into the third quarter, Blythewood poured it on. The Bengals’ blew out the Vikings 26-5 in the third quarter. They outrebounded Spring Valley 12-2 in that stretch.

Blythewood won the fourth quarter 24-11, and outrebounded the Vikings 18-5 in the second half.

Jackson and Cayman Williams each had a 3-pointer in the second half, but the Bengals kept getting second attempts inside that guaranteed success.

“We know we’ve got great outside shooters, but if we don’t get paint touches, it’s gonna be tough,” Washington said. “Paint touches get us easier baskets, and it also gets them in foul trouble.”

Jackson led the way with 24 points, eight boards and eight steals. Jonathan Breland scored 13 second-half points, and Williams scored 11 of his 13 points on the night in the second half, and had three blocked shots. Braswell had 11 points.

The win secures a 2-game region lead for Blythewood going into the second half of the 12-game region slate. The Bengals travel to Irmo Friday.

“It’ll help us a little bit, but we need to be more disciplined,” Washington said of having his team ride a momentum wave into the final six games of the regular season. “I have to do a better job of making sure they have their legs. I thought in the first half, we didn’t have our legs. Our region is a very good region.”

Blythewood 70, Spring Valley 46

BHS  – 13 – 17 – 26 – 24 – 70

SV – 18 – 12 – 5 – 11 – 46

BHS: Tre’ Jackson 24, Jonathan Breland 13, Cayman Williams 13, Robert Braswell 11, Thompson 5, Heatley 4

SV: Rashad Williams 15, Darius Cohens 11, Smith 8, Middleton 2, J. Williams 4, Jones 3, Alicea 2, Doctor 1.