Bengals best Vikings in close matchup

BLYTHEWOOD – With a Region V-5A title already clinched, the Blythewood boys needed to close out a win against Spring Valley to finish the region slate 12-0.

On Senior Night before a lively crowd at the Blythewood gym, the Vikings made the Bengals work for a 62-59 victory.

After getting off to a tepid start, Blythewood kept a comfortable cushion throughout the game, but Spring Valley’s 28-point fourth quarter gave the Bengals a scare.

“It’s the little things that hurt us, that we just gotta do a better job of doing,” Bengals head coach Zeke Washington said. “We won the game, but that’s not gonna make it in the playoffs. You’ve gotta play for your community, you’ve gotta play for your teammates.”

The top-seeded Bengals open the 5A playoffs Wednesday, playing host to the sixth-seed in Region VII.

Tre’ Jackson led the way with 20 points for the Bengals (21-2, 12-0). Johnathan Breeland had 16 points. The two guards combined for just 7 first-half points and scored the rest over an intense second half.

Robert Braswell, seeing some time at point guard as well as in his familiar position at forward, had 11 points and 10 rebounds.

Blythewood held Spring Valley to just one field goal and a pair of free throws in the first quarter, but the Bengals shooting was not much better. They finished the first quarter up 13-4.

The Vikings edged the Bengals 13-12 in the second quarter, giving Blythewood a 25-17 lead at the half.

The Bengals had trouble scoring in the lane in the first half, but Jackson and Breeland managed to score some baskets in the paint in the third quarter. Blythewood led 43-31 going into the fourth.

Up to that point in the game, neither team went on a big scoring run, and in the fourth quarter the Vikings shooters finally got hot. Blythewood managed to keep a couple of steps ahead of Spring Valley, but the Bengals couldn’t muster up a run to close out a solid win.

A 3-point play from Quincy Hill with 12 seconds to play made it 60-55 Bengals. With four seconds left, Elkins took the free-throw line for three shots.

Elkins made just one of three, and Breeland sank a pair of free throws to make it 62-56, but Elkins drained a 3-pointer at the buzzer.

The final score of the game was meaningless, but it rammed down the message that Washington says the team needs to work on for the playoffs.

“We just have to get better, make better decisions, work on our free throws,” Washington said. “You have to want to win for more than yourself. That’ll take care of a lot of things, you’ve got to play for more than just yourself.”

Blythewood 62, Spring Valley 59

Spring Valley – 4 – 13 – 14 –  28 – 59

Blythewood – 13 –  12 – 18 – 19 – 62

SVHS – Jacobie Elkins 17, Jamal Williams 14, Rashad Williams 12, Smith 6, Jones 4, Hill 3, Cohens 2, Moore 1.

BHS – Tre’ Jackson 20, Jonathan Breeland 16, Robert Braswell 11, Heatley 6, Thompson 5, Manuel 4.