Lady Redhawks ready for Round 2

BLYTHEWOOD – For a brief moment at the beginning of their Class 4A playoff opener against Airport, the Westwood girls had trouble getting into a groove.

The Eagles proved resilient on the glass, but in the end were no match for the Redhawks, who dismissed them 64-36 at the Westwood gym Tuesday night.

“We wanted to try and create a situation where we come in refined rather than catching up and improving as the games goes, but that didn’t happen in the first couple of minutes,” Westwodo head coach Gregory Bauldrick said. “We got off to a slow start, but once we got it going, we felt comfortable.”

Unique Drake (5) stops and pops right in the defender’s face. | Martha Ladd

Mya Belton led all scorers with 18 points, including four of her team’s seven 3-pointers on the night. Unique Drake and Malayziah Etheridge each had 17 points as well as the other three 3s.

Westwood’s distance shooting and transition game rattled the Eagles throughout the game, as the Redhawks collected 15 steals. Airport had the edge in rebounds at game’s end though, 28 boards to the Redhawks’ 24.

The Redhawks travel to Greenville Friday to take on Greenville High in a second-round matchup. The Red Raiders eliminated Blue Ridge 63-42 Tuesday night.

Drake, the team’s all-time leading scorer who scored her 1,000th point earlier in the season, said the focus in practice will be winning the rebound

“We can’t just be giving people a second chance to put the ball in the basket,” Drake said. “We’ve got to secure the rebound. It’s a concern.”

Westwood (21-3), which finished second to Richland Northeast in Region III, fell behind 5-2 in the opening minutes, as Airport used defense and ball control to limit the Redhawks’ touches.

But after the Eagles took a 7-6 lead halfway through the first, Westwood took advantage of poor Airport ball-handling and finished the quarter on an 11-0 run.

The Redhawks moved to a 33-13 advantage by halftime. After steadily hitting on distance shots in the third quarter, Westwood moved up 60-28 with 2:46 left in the game, when Airport added good on two 3-pointers and a basket.

Airport, the third-place finisher in Region V, finishes the season 12-13. Caliegh Corlett had 12 points to lead the Eagles.

Though the Redhawks didn’t have the best start, they quickly took care of business.

“We definitely wanted to come out and give it our all, because nobody wants to go home in the first loss,” Drake said. “We came here to get the job done.”

AHS – 7 – 6 – 10 – 13 – 36

Westwood  – 17 – 16 – 16 – 15 – 64

AHS – Caliegh Corlott 12, Washington 5, Jackson 5, Durby 7, Candalaria 5, Henning 2.

WHS – Mya Belton 18, Malayziah Etheridge 17, Unique Drake 17, Leveretter 6, McCant 4, Lockett 2