The top-10 showdown between No. 3 Blythewood and No. 6 Spring Valley had some good for each team and some bad. Fortunately for Vikings coach Perry Dozier, the good outweighed the bad to the tune of a 74-66 victory for Spring Valley Tuesday night in a Region 4-4A clash.
Deangelo Ward led the way with 19 points for the hot-shooting Vikings (10-4, 2-0). Jordan Bruner finished with 18 points, 12 rebounds, eight steals and five blocks. Both players took over portions of the game where Spring Valley was able to extend the lead into double digits.
It started with Bruner in the first half. The Yale commitment was aggressive from the opening tip and helped the Vikings to make 10-of-11 first quarter field goals. The only miss, Bruner was able to corral the rebound and throw down a dunk.
“When we come to play, I love the way we execute,” Dozier said. “But it’s funny, I never know what I’m going to get. I take blame because it’s up to me to prepare them, but if we can play like we did in that first quarter and not to our competition, we’ll be in good shape.”
Ward did most of his damage in the third quarter. The Bengals (13-4, 1-1) trailed by as many as 15 points in the first half, but pulled within 39-35, early in the second half. Ward scored three straight baskets to help ignite a 13-0 run to push the lead back out to 52-35.
Blythewood had one final run in it. The Bengals made 11 3-pointers, but that was the bulk of their offense. Unofficially, the Bengals attempted over 40 3-pointers. It left coach Zeke Washington at a loss for words. But when he finally was able to shake off the shock, he was disappointed in the way his team performed.
“I don’t really know what to say,” Washington said at least three times. “They just beat us, whipped us. It’s very frustrating because it’s like we lose focus. They’re kids, so you never know what you’ll get with kids, but it’s my job to try and fix it.”
Eli Lake led the Bengals with 21 points.
Dozier thought Blythewood might try to shoot from outside with the 6-8 Bruner in the middle.
“Eli can shoot it and we knew that,” Dozier said. “We have that inside presence so we sort of expected them to shoot it from the outside. We tried to get them to speed up their offense and make them rush some shots.”
Spring Valley went 10-of-13 from the field in the third quarter. Dozier liked the way his team was able to get in transition for the easy buckets but didn’t like the turnovers. The Vikings committed 24 turnovers.
“It’s always been our game plan to get out and run,” Dozier said. “That’s our style this year, to try and push the ball and get the guys some easy shots. We executed better but it’s still not where I expect us to be. Then we struggled with ball protection. We have to get better but I will take the victory.”
B: Eli Lake 21, Keith Matthews 10, Wormack 8, Jackson 6, Shakir-Harris 5, Bailey 4, Churn 4, Hammond 4, Johnson 2, Bowers 2. SV: Deangelo Ward 19, Jordan Bruner 18, Kendall Wall 10, Harper 8, T. Bruner 7, Myers 6, Gantt 4, Guyton 2.
Spring Valley 82, Blythewood 34
Christian Hithe scored 21 points and Anaja Matthews added 13 as the Vikings had very little trouble dispatching Blythewood.
The Vikings jumped to a 23-6 lead after one quarter and never looked back. Matthews scored eight points – including two 3-pointers – while Hithe chipped in with seven in the opening period. Shantay Taylor and Dominique Hill scored four each. It was the 13th straight win for Spring Valley (13-1, 2-0). The only loss for the top-ranked team in Class 4A came in the season opener to Sumter.
Lauren Harley led Blythewood (4-8, 1-1) with 16 points.
B: Lauren Harley 16, Rikard 6, Keayra Jackson 4, Greene 4, Gallman 2, KeKe Jackson 2. SV: Christian Hithe 21, Anaja Matthews 13, Dominique Hill 10, Lewis 8, Taylor 8, Graham 5, S. Martinez 4, Porter 3, Jones 3, Davis 3, Wall 2, B. Martinez 2.