By Thomas Grant Jr.
The high school regular season ended spectacularly in Region 5-4A.
Both the Ridge View and Westwood boys’ were tied entering Friday’s regular-season finale. The Blazers held the head-to-head tiebreaker and needed either a win at A.C. Flora or a Redhawks’ loss to Richland Northeast to clinch the region.
Neither would occur as Ridge View was stunned 46-45 by the Falcons while Westwood held off Richland Northeast 52-49 in overtime to win its first-ever Region 5-4A title.
AC Flora never trailed, jumping out to a 20-9 lead in the first quarter. Will Willard led the Falcons with 18 points.
Ridge View got within 41-39 in the fourth quarter, sparked by the 3-point shooting of Talan Staley. A.C. Flora would get free throws from Cooper Wiley and the Blazers opted for a layup in the final seconds instead of a 3-pointer in the final seconds.
Both teams will have homecourt advantage through the first two rounds. Should both teams advance and win in the third round, they will meet for a third time Feb. 28 at the Florence Civic Center in the Lower State final.
This was not the only region title settled at A.C. Flora. In the girls game, the Lady Blazers rolled to a 64-47 win to finish 10-0 in Region 5-4A.
Anasha Harvey scored 18 points, Destiny Drakeford had 14 and Lucia Bailey finished with 11 for Ridge View.
Over in Blythewood, the RedHawks got 21 points and 12 rebounds from Zion Brown and T.J. Bell added 10 as they outscored the Cavaliers 9-6 in overtime for the victory.
Earlier in the week, the Blythewood boys closed out the regular season with three straight wins to claim the Region 3-5A title. On the girls’ side, the Lady Bengals clinched second place despite a season-ending overtime loss to Spring Valley.
The Blythewood girls owned the tiebreaker over the Lady Vikings and will open the playoffs at home.
Photo by Derek King – Westwood’s T.J. Bell (1) and Zion Brown (3)