It hasn’t been an easy week for the Blythewood boys basketball team, but it ended on a positive note.
The Bengals captured their first Region 4-4A championship with a 65-50 win over Ridge View on Friday. Blythewood shares the title with Spring Valley, but will be the region’s No. 1 seed because of a tiebreaker.
The Bengals will host a first-round playoff game Wednesday.
“It was a tough week, stressful week for me and everyone else,” Blythewood coach Zeke Washington said. “A lot of my coaching friends called me and tried to keep me calm, people at the school and my wife did too. It was a stressful week for the kids too, but I think it would make them better men because it will give them a little bit of stress when they are young.”
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The Bengals came into the week in driver’s seat in Region 4-4A, but lost two straight games including 73-54 to Ridge View on Thursday to force a winner-take-all for the region crown.
But Blythewood (19-7, 7-3) used its depth and a strong start to take control of the game. The Bengals led 34-29 at halftime and extended it to 50-41 after three quarters,
Ridge View got as close as six points in the fourth quarter until Eli Lake hit a layup, and the Bengals followed with back-to-back baskets to push the lead back to 12 points.
Trae Churn led the way for Blythewood with 14 and Lake added 13 for the Bengals, who were the preseason No. 1 team in Class 4A.
“We didn’t set ourselves up good by losing the last two, but we got the win and that is all that matters,” Lake said. “Coming into the season, we expected to win, and then it came down to this game and they are a good team. They were coming at us all game and it was physical, but we are just very excited.”
Washington praised his players, many of whom were freshman when he took over the program four years ago. The Bengals had a pair of losing seasons in Washington’s first two years, but have won 37 games over the past two years.
“When you got the right kids who work hard and are hungry, we were able to get a region title,” Washington said. “It is really the kids. They’ve got to buy in and believe in each other, and good things will happen.”
Kaiden Rice led Ridge View (15-8, 6-4) with 15 points, all on 3-pointers. Khalil Lewis, who had 21 points against Blythewood on Thursday, was held to six points.
The Blazers finish third in Region 4-4A and open the playoffs on the road Wednesday.
“Blythewood came out with great enthusiasm, and executed their offense really well and made some defensive adjustments,” Ridge View coach John Combs said. “We weren’t sharp, but you got to give Blythewood credit for making us not look good.”
RV: Cainan Griffin 11, Alewine 6, Lewis 6, Kaiden Rice 15, Corley 5, Mason 5, Coatie 2. B: Trae Churn 14, Eli Lake 13, Johnson 2, Matthews 4, Riley 6, Bowers 4, Hammond 7, Warmack 8, Shakir-Harris 4, Bailey 3.
Ridge View 63, Blythewood 49: Armanii Grice scored 19 points as the Blazers won their regular-season finale.
Ridge View finishes second in Region 4-4A, and will host a first-round playoff game on Tuesday.
RV: Ajukwa 6, Hobbs 2, Addison 9, Armanii Grice 19, Toney 1, Tisdale 14, Anderson 4, Harts 1, Lee 3, Gainey 4. B: Jackson 8, Greene 6, Rikard 7, Mims 6, Lauren Harley 19, Ray 1, Bostick 2.