Redhawks close season with 4-win streak

BLYTHEWOOD – This time against Dreher, the Westwood boys basketball team kept the drama out of the gym.

In a rescheduled game a week before, the Redhawks escaped the Dreher gym with a 44-42 win in a game that went down to the final seconds. On Monday night, Westwood exploded from the tip-off and used a stifling defense to shut down the Blue Devils 69-49 in the regular season finale.

“It’s the best game that I’ve seen them play so far,” Westwood head coach John Combs said. “It’s important for us to get a good start, and give our guys credit, they did. They came ready to play, they made shots, and they played good defense.”

Westwood just missed the playoff cutline, finishing in third place in the region. Only the top two teams from each region move on as a COVID-19 scheduling adjustment. | Leroy Howard

Bryson Felder led the way with 20 points and Jalen Faber had 17.

“Everything’s easier when you make good shots,” Combs said.

The win put the Redhawks (6-8 overall, 4-4 in Region 4-4A) into third place behind first place Irmo and second place A.C. Flora. In any other season, a four-game region winning streak to end the season would put Westwood in the playoffs. However, with the Covid-19 pandemic affecting scheduling, the postseason brackets allowed for just the top two teams in every region to compete.

The Redhawks dominated the boards and jumped out to a 22-6 lead after the first quarter. Westwood held Dreher to just six more points in the second quarter as it cruised to a 39-12 halftime lead.

Felder’s baseline jumper at the 6:06 mark of the third gave Westwood its first 30-point cushion of the game, a 43-12 advantage, and the Redhawks didn’t stop the onslaught.

Faber’s 3-pointer with five seconds to go gave Westwood a 40-point lead, as the Redhawks closed out the third quarter leading 63-23.

Dreher stormed out of the gate in the fourth, launching a 26-2 scoring run in the first six minutes. Coach Combs put the starters—Cam McBride, MeQuaje McDaniel, Faber, Felder, and Arden Conyers—back in with about two minutes to play and the Redhawks kept the Blue Devils away from the goal until the buzzer.

The Westwood boys had struggled amid the postponements, reschedulings, and non-region road games that made up a season in the midst of the Covid-19 era. The Redhawks showed over the final stretch that they were tougher than their obstacles.

On Friday night, McBride and the Redhawks bombed Lugoff-Elgin with 3-pointers early on, and used improved board play to close out a 64-49 Region 4-4A victory over the Demons, their third straight.

“Cameron McBride did a fantastic job with the threes in the first half,” Westwood head coach John Combs said. “six threes, anytime you shoot the ball that well, we want to get him the ball and this was the kind of game where we had a lot of guys give it to him.”

McBride had 18 points in the night from six first-half 3-pointers, and Bryson Felder followed up with 21 points from near and far to lead Westwood. Westwood finished the night hitting10 3-pointers.
McBride went right to work from behind the 3-point arc in the first quarter, draining four treys including one at the first-quarter buzzer to set the Redhawks up with an 18-13 lead.

Felder opened up the second quarter with the team’s first shot inside the 3-point line, a quick layup at the 7:17 mark. That shot opened up a 22-point second quarter that put the Redhawks up 42-28 at the half.

Westwood slowed the tempo down and kept Lugoff- Elgin off the boards by the third quarter, edging the Demons 11-9 and taking a 53-37 lead into the fourth quarter.

Lugoff-Elgin outscored the Redhawks 12-11 in the fourth, but Westwood cruised to victory with a double-digit win.

“Lugoff came in and competed very well,” Combs said. “I was just pleased that we were able to get the win.”

The Dreher game Monday was the last game for seniors McBride, McDaniel, Bruce Wade, Faber, Griffin Young, and Zavier Paul. Combs said that it was disappointing to see them lose the first four games of region play but he spoke highly of the seniors’ resolve to close out the season strong.

“For our seniors to go out this way, that’s a great testament to the senior class not giving up and not getting discouraged, but to keep playing well,” Combs said. “It’s not often you see a team win the last four region games but not have a chance at the playoffs. But since only the top two teams make it in, that’s just the way it goes. We knew that going in though. Our region is brutal, but I’ll give our guys credit, to finish the year solely in third is a pretty good accomplishment.”

Lugoff-Elgin – 13-15-9-12 – 49

Westwood – 18-24-11-11 – 64

Lugoff-Elgin – Spencer Hinton 17, Ransom 9, Gilchrist 5, Horton 5, McCain 4, Howey 3, Diggs 2, Hammeen 2, Goings 2.

Westwood – Bryson Felder 21, Cam McBride 18, Conyers 9, King 6, McDaniel 3, Young 2,Burnett 2, McDuffie 2, Evans 1.

Dreher– 6-6-11-26 – 49

Westwood – 22-17-24-6 – 69

Dreher – Landon Harrison 12, Devario Shepard 10, Hires 7, J. Elliott 7, Tucker 5, S. Elliott 4, M. Elliott 2, Cue 2.

Westwood – Bryson Felder 20, Jaylen Faber 17, McDaniel 9, Conyers 8, King 7, McBride 4, McDuffie 2, Donald 2.

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