After sitting on the bench for the first half, Eli Lake couldn’t wait to take floor, and it showed.
The Blythewood senior scored 12 second-half points and helped spark a third-quarter spurt as the Bengals defeated rival Westwood 60-48 on Tuesday to move into a tie for first place in Region 4-4A.
Blythewood is tied with Spring Valley, which lost to Dutch Fork 67-59 on Tuesday.
“I was like a cocked rifle ready to explode out there,” Lake said. “I was sitting there on the bench and thinking we could be playing so much better out there. We didn’t have the energy like we normally do. I just wanted to be the guy to start it off, even if didn’t mean me scoring. I just wanted to give us some energy.”
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Lake, who sat out the first half for breaking team rules, didn’t take long to get warmed up. The Navy signee hit a pair of 3-pointers in the first two minutes of the third quarter and helped energize the Bengals, who saw their 10-point halftime lead grow to 48-29 after three quarters.
In the third quarter, Blythewood was able to get its full-court press going and speed the game up against the Redhawks’ speedy guards.
“Eli came out and played inspired,” Blythewood coach Zeke Washington said. “He is a leader for us, and when he comes out and plays like that, it kind of ups the level of play for everyone around us.”
Westwood tried to rally in the fourth quarter and got within 54-43 with 3:59 left. But Keith Matthews scored four consecutive points to quiet the rally. Matthews, a junior, finished with a game-high 16 points.
The Bengals (15-4, 3-1) played the game without guard Khalil Shakir-Harris (injury) and Robert Braswell (sickness). Braswell hasn’t played since the Dutch Fork game Jan. 8, and Washington hopes to have them back by Friday’s game against Ridge View.
Adam Douglas led the Redhawks (8-8, 1-3) with 11 points, and Jordan Watson added 10.
B: Jackson 4, Keith Matthews 16, Bowers 8, Eli Lake 12, Wormack 6, Churn 6, Riley 6. W: Jones 2, Robinson 6, Davis 5, Crosby 2, Jordan Watson 10, Barnes 7, Adam Douglas 11, Lee 2.
Westwood 57, Blythewood 43
Unique Drake scored 15 points, and Maya Belton added 12 points and 11 rebounds as the Redhawks pulled away in the second half for the win.
Westwood (15-2, 3-1) led 21-20 at halftime but outscored the Bengals 24-11 in the third quarter to stay in a three-way tie for first in the region with Spring Valley and Ridge View. The Redhawks travel to Spring Valley on Friday.
Lauren Harley led Blythewood (4-12, 1-3) with 18 points.
W: Unique Drake 15, Maya Belton 12, Maliyah Lockett 9, Britt 7, Davis 4, Marshall 4, Houston 2. B: Lauren Harley 18, Rikard 8, Jackson 6, Ray 6, Greene 4, Weeks 1.