Photos by Kenneth Armstrong
DUBLIN – Freshman Shyron Adams scored 6 of his team-high 16 points during a 12-2 closing spurt that carried West Bladen’s Knights to a 64-59 boys basketball victory over Dillon, SC in the opening round of the Woodmen Life Christmas Tournament.
Dillon star Darius Boatwright flipped in a floater to give the Wildcats a 57-52 lead with 4:10 left to play, but Knight junior Drew Harris put back a rebound and senior Gerardo Reyes stole the ball and made 2 free throws to trim the margin to 57-56.
Junior Keshawn Lewis spun down the lane for a lay-up and a 58-57 West lead with 3:14 remaining. Adams stole the ball and raced for a lay-up then turned a pair of feeds from sophmore Tyre Boykin into lay-ups that sealed the victory.
“Shyron’s just a freshman, but the plays he made defensively -not just steals – but being in the right place on defense were huge for us,” said West Bladen Coach Travis Pait. “And I think he converted every opportunity that he had in the open court.”
Adams also finished with 5 rebounds and 3 steals. Seniors Jimmy Williams and Scott Bowen tallied 9 points each. Lewis added 8 points, and Reyes came up with 4 steals. Senior Jonathan Robinson grabbed 6 rebounds.
Boatwright, a 6-6 junior, pumped in a game-high 23 points for Dillon, and guard Corian Wright followed with 15 points.
The lead changed hands six times in a back-and-forth first quarter. Bowen, sophmore Trashawn Ballard and Boykin all drove for lay-ups as the Knights rallied for a 6-4 lead.
Lewis bombed in a pair of 3-point shots for West, but Boatwright worked the boards for a trio of buckets and a 13-12 Wildcat lead. Robinson found Adams cutting to the hoop for a lay-up and a 14-13 Knight lead at the quarter break.
Dillon went up 19-14 early in the second period, but Bowen drilled a 3-point shot from the right wing. Williams threw in a spectacular bank shot while falling to the floor then tacked on a free throw to slice the lead to 21-20.
Williams and Kerron Baldwin-Washington buried 3-point shots, and Adams converted a steal into a lay-up to vault the Knights in front 28-24. Adams drove for a lay-up, and Bowen flipped in a teardrop to keep West up 32-30 at halftime.
Adams put back a rebound, and Baldwin-Washington drove for a lay-up early in the third quarter. Adams dashed end-to-end with a rebound for a lay-up that kept the Knights even at 38- 38.
Junior Jaheim Lesane and Williams drained 3-point shots to put West Bladen up 44-40 at the quarter break.
Bowen started the final period with a transition lay-up, before Boatwright keyed a 10-0 Dillon run with a tap-in, a 3-point shot and a lay-up that pushed the Wildcats ahead 50-46.
Boykin drove for a lay-up, and Lesane knocked down a 3-pointer from the top of the key to bounce West Bladen back on top 52-50 with 5:18 on the clock.
“If we play the way we played tonight, we can play with anybody,” said Coach Pait. “We feel like we have ten starters, but we got good minutes tonight from Jackson Norris, Kerron and Trenton Lyons. We moved Jaheim from the corner to the top of the key to help with ballhandling.”
“It was a good win for us – a great win,” continued Coach Pait. “And now we get to play an 8 o’clock game in “The Castle” on the second night of the tournament – anything can happen.”
West Bladen improves to 3-6 and will play Scotland (8-2) in Thursday’s 8 p.m. semi-final.
WEST BLADEN (64) – Drew Harris 2, Jaheim Lesane 6, Kerron Baldwin-Washington 5, Jimmy Williams 9, Keshawn Lewis 8, Scott Bowen 9, Tyre Boykin 5, Shyron Adams 16, Trashawn Ballard 2, Gerardo Reyes 2, Trenton Lyons, Jackson Norris, Jonathan Robinson.