Bengals dominate Gators in all areas of the game to stay undefeated in Region 5-5A Play
Blythewood, SC (James Bowers) - Ben Lee’s 2017-2018 River Bluff High School Varsity Men’s basketball team is his best yet, as this edition of the Gators is poised to notch its first winning season in the five-year history of River Bluff hoops. Their game against Blythewood on Tuesday however, showed the squad has its weaknesses, as they were manhandled by the Bengals 69-48. The loss drops Bluff to an overall record of 16-5 and a 4-4 mark in region 5-5A play. Blythewood improves to 17-2, with a perfect 8-0 record in region play.
The Blythewood Bengals dominated from the outset, forcing numerous turnovers as they suffocated the Gator offensive attack. The closing speed of Blythewood’s players was impressive to say the least. At one-point,River Bluff’s J.T. Reeves, seemingly all alone at the top of the key when he caught a deep pass, quickly had a BHS man in his face to stifle the shot within a second of grabbing the ball. River Bluff’s defense was often unable to cover every open Bengal, which resulted in several three-pointers for the home Blythewood squad. The aggressive Bengal offense drew several shooting fouls over the course of the evening, allowing them several times to score from the free throw line as well.
The Gators played with energy, and even when trailing by upwards of 30 points, kept their tempo and heads up as defeat loomed. The second half was a little kinder to the Gators as they finally found some scoring opportunities to narrow the deficit, but it was too little too late. The Bengals had padded the lead a little too much for any hope of a River Bluff comeback, and they picked up a 69-48 victory on their home court.
Standouts for Coach Washington’s Bengals were Tre Jackson, who had 25 points on the evening and Robert Braswell with 16 points. JB Breeland and Travis Thompson tied for third on the Blythewood scoring chart with 12 points each.
The defeated Gators were led by Malachai Reeves’ 13 points. Da’Mone Spencer, who also got into double digits with 10 points, while Terrell Windom and J.T. Reeves had 9 each for Bluff.
Lee and company will try to put this loss behind them as they head for a second straight away game on Friday, this time against their in-district arch-rivals the Lexington Wildcats. The Gators have already beaten Lexington twice this season. The Wildcats, traditionally strong under the bright lights of the court, are struggling this season, coming off two consecutive defeats at the hands of Irmo and Spring Valley. A River Bluff win would keep them in fourth place in the 5-5A race. A finish in this spot would assure the Gators of their first-ever state playoff berth. In addition to the Wildcats game, the Gators will round out their schedule with a struggling White Knoll team. They’ll then play a must-win road game against Spring Valley, to whom they lost by one point at home two weeks ago, followed by a chance to sweep Irmo in the season finale. The Gators picked up their first ever win over the Jackets in a 49-46 home thriller on January 12.
Coach Zeke Washington’s Bengals hope to continue their assault on league competition and finish their conference season with a perfect 12-0 league record. The outright title is all but assured for the boys from Blythewood. Their remaining schedule shows Dutch Fork, Lexington, White Knoll, and Spring Valley, each of whom the Bengals have already beaten in convincing fashion this year.