Bengals pull off win in final seconds

COLUMBIA – The Blythewood basketball team faced a fortress of Spring Valley bodies under the net Monday night at The Jungle.

The Vikings jumped to a 10-point halftime lead, but the Bengals owned the second half and put the exclamation point on their rally at the very end.

With the game tied at 47 in the closing seconds, Samaad Wright and Isaiah Williams found their way inside for one last tie-breaking effort. Wright’s layup circled the rim and hit the backboard, but Williams got his hands on the ball and pushed it through for the go-ahead shot with 2 seconds left on the clock.

Spring Valley’s Kendall Cooke took the inbound pass and set up for a quick 3-pointer near the Vikings’ bench—but the ball careened off the rim and ensured the Bengals’ second-straight victory and third straight Region 4-5A win.

“Kids make plays. Coaching is overrated. Kids do that,” Blythewood head coach Zeke Washington said. “They (Spring Valley) came out in the beginning of the game and punched us in the mouth. Their offense was fundamentally sound, and their post play was awesome. It was hard for us to get around them.”

Blythewood (9-9, 3-0 Region 4-5A) came off an 82-80 win in double overtime at Rock Hill last Wednesday before the winter storm forced the Spring Valley game from Friday to Monday.

The Vikings (9-12, 1-3) overcame Blythewood’s early lead and blasted off to a 20-9 advantage late in the first quarter. The Bengals ended the period making four out of four foul shots from Randy Kelly and Will Olden to cut that lead to 20-13.

In the second quarter the Vikings got baskets from C.J. Rich and Joshua Nelson to take a 24-13 lead. The Bengals slowed down Spring Valley’s attack after that, but still struggled to get past the backcourt force of Vikings tall men Nelson Khalil Cooke, and Kendall Williams.

Wright made good on a pair of 3-pointers to try and cut into the lead, but Blythewood’s only basket inside the 3-point arc during the second quarter came from Jermaine Nelson.

“From the technique point of view, they had us with their sheer force,” Washington said. “We couldn’t even use any technique. They just like punched us. What helped us is that we started playing some of our post players to match them, but our technique really has to get better.”

The Bengals trailed 31-21 at halftime, but outscored the Vikings 21-6 in the third quarter to take charge of the game.

“What they wanted to do, and they are smart, they know that Randy and Isaiah are our two big guys, so they posted them up and made them work so hard and expend energy,” Washington said of Spring Valley’s plan. “But we just started rolling in young guys.”

Kelly opened the third with a basket and Wright followed up with his third and final 3 of the night to make it 31-26. Spring Valley’s Kendall Williams made two foul shots to make it 33-26.

From that point, it was almost all Blythewood in terms of thievery, defensive boards, and buckets.

Kelly got another basket, followed by a Jermaine Nelson bucket off of Isaiah Williams’ defensive rebound. Nelson got a second score, this time off a Trevon Williams defensive board, to make it 33-32 at around the 4:30 mark of the third.

Shortly after that, Trevon Williams claimed a second defensive rebound and fed it to Isaiah Williams, whose dunk gave Blythewood a 34-33 lead by the 4:10 mark, a lead that the Bengals would not give up.

Blythewood kept scoring on the fast break, with Isaiah Williams getting two baskets, including a second dunk, Wright getting a layup, and Olden getting a putback to go up 42-37 by the third-quarter buzzer.

Spring Valley outscored the Bengals 10-5 over the course of a slow fourth quarter, tying the game at 47 on C.J. Rich’s transition basket with 1:02 left.

Joshua Nelson got another steal off a bad Blythewood pass into the paint, but he was called for an offensive foul with 32 seconds left. The Bengals then inbounded and worked past Spring Valley’s full-court press. Once close to the net, the time was right for Wright’s shot. When it didn’t fall, Isaiah Williams was there to crush it in. 

“Samaad was just born smart. He can score,” Washington said. “He got to the basket and I thought he got off a decent shot, but it just rimmed off the basket, and Isaiah is just that athletic, and his timing is good.”

In the girls game, Spring Valley (10-8, 2-2) cruised past Blythewood (0-14, 0-3) 61-23.

Blythewood played host to Ridge View Wednesday night and will play at home again versus Northwestern Friday.

Spring Valley  – 20-11-6-10 — 47

Blythewood  – 13-8    -21-7 — 49

Spring Valley – C.J. Rich 14, Joshua Nelson 11, Cooke 7, Williams 7, Giles 4, Bailey 2, Burgess 2.

Blythewood – Samaad Wright 13, Isaiah Williams 12, Kelly 8, Nelson 8, Olden 5, Pack 3.

Bengal Girls

Spring Valley – 10-17-22-12 —    61

Blythewood – 2-5-13-3 — 23

Spring Valley – Amoura Williams 21, Ariana Wilkes 19, Hollis 6, Liebert 5, Humphrey 4, Ratchford 4, Smith 2

Blythewood – Victrum 6, Fluker 6, Young 5, Brown 2, Tyson-Dy 2, Martin 1, Joy 1.

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