Spring Valley rallied for what may prove to be a significant Region 4-4A girls basketball win on Tuesday at Blythewood. The 44-42 verdict upped the Vikings record to 11-4, 2-0 in the early stages of the conference campaign, while the Bengals fell to 11-5, 1-1.
It was by no means a work of art by Anne Long’s new-look team, but the bottom line was pleasing enough. Blythewood scored the first eight points of the game and led 19-10 at the end of the first quarter, 31-20 at halftime and 38-31 going into the fourth quarter.
The Bengals’ over reliance on outside shooting was telling. Blythewood converted 13 of 30 field goal attempts with three 3-pointers in the first half, but after the break the perimeter touch turned cold. The Bengals never adjusted the approach – they just kept firing away. And missing.
Blythewood scored 11 points in the second half, four in the fourth quarter, and hit only three of 18 launches – most from 15 feet and beyond. The Bengals endured a nine-minute stretch without a field goal. Six turnovers in the fourth quarter were also telling in the Blythewood collapse.
“It could have been ugly, but I’m proud of the way the girls hung in when things weren’t going well,” said Long. “We executed better in the fourth quarter than we did all night.”
Blythewood’s lead was 40-33 with 7:10 remaining. Spring Valley then altered the equation with stunning swiftness – ringing up 11 unanswered points beginning with a 7-0 surge in a 34-second span that tied the score at 40 with 6:01 left to play. The Bengals never recovered.
Cierra Carter got things going with a score off a pass from Briana Hill at the 6:35 mark. Hill scored at 6:26 after stealing the inbounds pass. A great look by Carter set Akia Dunlap up for a three-point play at 6:01 to balance the ledger.
Hill drained a 15-footer at 3:53 to put Spring Valley ahead for the first time. Carter closed out the Viking scoring with a driving lay-up with 2:55 to go.
Kierra Brown broke the spell for Blythewood with a score off a turnover with 1:59 remaining.
Down the stretch, Spring Valley went 0-for-4 at the free-throw line and Blythewood was 0-for-4 from the field, missing an open eight-footer in the lane as the final horn sounded.
“We were fortunate to squeeze it out but we’ll take this one back to The Valley,” said Long.
Carter and Hill did the bulk of the scoring for the winning Vikings. Carter had a game-high 21 points and Hill matched her season high with 12 points.
Sophomore Breelyn Blanding paced Blythewood with 19 points, and Brown added 13. Blanding scored all but two of her points in the first half, 12 in the first quarter.