Blythewood, Westwood basketball teams head to postseason

BLYTHEWOOD – Senior night at The Castle was special for all seniors on the basketball teams, the cheerleaders, and the support staff who were recognized Friday night.

For the Westwood girls, not only will those recognized Friday have a strong mark on one another in life, Jessica Woods, Korletta Daniels, Miracle Branch, Jessica Bumpers, Courtna’e Pope, and Sage Graham-Brown have also put their mark on this year’s Redhawks.

“This group is really, really unique. All of them arrived here differently,” head coach Gregory Bauldrick said. “We’ve got kids who choiced here, we’ve got kids who transferred here, we’ve got kids who moved into the area militarily and chose us. We’ve got a group of kids who truly wanted to be Redhawks, and they show that every day with the investment they make into what we’re trying to do, the leadership, the character, the total person, the total student athlete.”

Woods, who joined the 1,000-point club earlier this season, leads the girls with a 12.5 points-per-game scoring average. Daniels averages 11.2 points and 6.2 rebounds per game.

Westwood (22-4) clinched its sixth straight region championship a week before finishing region play a perfect 10-0 Friday. They open the 4A playoffs against West Florence (8-14) at The Castle tonight at 6 p.m.

This year the Redhawks are the No.1 seed in the lower state bracket after having competed in the upper state bracket for the past several years. The winner of tonight’s game plays the winner of the Hartsville-Hilton Head matchup Saturday.

“It’s an unknown for us,” Bauldick said about lower-state competition. “We’ll do our research, we’ll prepare as best we can and control what we need to control. We don’t take any opponent lightly. If they’re good enough to be in the playoffs, they’re good enough to beat you.”

The Westwood boys bounced back Friday night and earned a No.12 seed in the lower state bracket with a 57-56 win over Richland Northeast. The Redhawks (12-14) came into the game with a 4-game losing streak in arguably the toughest boys basketball region in the state regardless of classification. Some last second heroics solidified a spot in the lower state bracket.

“The energy was different (Friday),” 1,000-point scorer and USC signee Arden Conyers said. “We were on a losing streak but we wanted a playoff spot so we had a lot of energy. I want to thank the crowd, our school showed a lot of energy and packed the house.”

Westwood finished fourth behind champion Irmo, second-place A.C. Flora, and third place Ridge View. Richland Northeast and Lugoff-Elgin both received at-large bids in the postseason.

Westwood travelled to No.5 South Florence Wednesday

Conyers, who with T.J. Boyd made the All-Region 5-4A team, said Friday that since the region battles are complete, it’s time to work on a playoff run.

“It was a tough region, but I feel like we’re battle-tested,” he said. “I feel like we’re ready. We’re going to go out to South Florence knowing that we’ve won more away games, and I guess that’s our luck.”

The Westwood-South Florence winner plays the No.13 Richland Northeast-No. 4 Lucy Beckham winner Friday.

The Blythewood boys (18-8) finished 7-3 in Region 3-5A, good for third place behind champion Fort Mill and second-place Rock Hill. The Bengals, a No.3 seed, play on the road at No.2 Byrnes. The winner plays the winner of the No.4 Chapin at No.1 T.L. Hanna matchup Saturday.

The Blythewood girls (15-13) finished third in the region at 4-6 and played at Byrnes Wedndesday. The winner of that game plays the No.4 Chapin at No. 1 Mauldin winner Friday.

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