Blythewood splits wins with Lower Richland

BLYTHEWOOD – The Blythewood boys basketball team may be young, but the Bengals have been on a stretch of good decision-making on the court.

With only one senior coming off the bench and a starting lineup of four sophomores and a junior, Blythewood kept its cool against Lower Richland and rallied past the Diamond Hornets 67-64 Friday night.

“Kids win games, coaches just push ‘em out there a little bit,” Blythewood head coach Zeke Washington said. “The kids just decided that they were gonna do the right things, and as coaches we had their backs.”

After Samaad Wright made one of two foul shots on a pre-game technical foul charged to Lower Richland (9-4), both fast-break offenses opened up on one another after the tip-off.

The Diamond Hornets regularly relied on their shooting from behind the 3-point line to stretch their advantage. They made 6 three-pointers up to the 1:35 mark of the third quarter, when Lower Richland commanded a 51-42 lead on the Bengals.

Blythewood (11-6) was 2-for-8 on the night, with both its 3-pointers coming in the second quarter from its only senior, Markel Samuel.

Rather than match Lower Richland’s 3-pointers with shots of their own the Bengals raised their inside shooting, thanks to a spark from Julian Phillips.

Phillips scored the last nine points of the third quarter for his team to keep the Bengals close, 53-47, to start the fourth quarter. Then he opened the final stanza with a dunk, and after a Wright foul shot, a steal and a basket to make it 53-52.

About a minute later, with Lower Richland leading 57-53, Emanual Richards and Wright got baskets to tie the game at 57 with 3:45 to play.

Another Phillips basket put Blythewood in the lead for good. The Bengals eventually took a 65-60 lead at the one-minute mark after Richards popped off a back-door slam dunk and added another basket seconds later.

From that point, all Blythewood had to do was keep possession.

“They all made good, smart decisions out there,” Washington said. “They’re under so much pressure. I’m amazed at the way they’ve handled it. You’ve got a team full of sophomores playing varsity basketball, and it’s just a lot of pressure.”

Phillips led the way with 19 points and Richards had 15. Wright put up 11 points.

Blythewood’s boys and girls, who fell 65-32 to the Diamond Hornets Friday, open Region 4-5A play Friday at Irmo.

“All of our Fridays in region play are on the road,” Washington said. “It’s just more pressure on them, and it’s important that they keep making good decisions.”

Girls: Lower Richland 65, Blythewood 32

LR – 19-16-20-10 – 65

BHS – 4-12-9-7 – 32

LR: Anaia Nelson 21, Tyra Floyd 16, Shawnteanna Tillman 12, Tashania Jones 11,Brown 2, Jackson 2, Kelley 1.

BHS:  Boseman 8, Swannier 7, Williams 4, Terry 3, Jones 2, Wooten 2, Pinkney 2, Kelly 2, Galman 2.

Boys: Blythewood 67, Lower Richland 64

LR – 17-18-18-11 – 64

BHS – 20-16-11-20 – 67

LR: Melvin Archie 18, Dajon Townsend 16, Quenton Flood 12, Korey Richardson 10, Smith 2.

BHS: Julian Phillips 19, Emanual Richards 15, Samaad Wright 11, Cohen 9, Samuel 6, Knox 3, Williams 2, Rogers 2.