Free throws lift River Bluff past Dutch Fork
Inconsistent free throw shooting played a major role in the second half slump suffered by the River Bluff boys’ basketball team last year.
Friday night at home, it carried the sixth ranked Gators to victory in the Region 5-5A opener. Terrill Windom’s two free throws with 3.2 seconds left lifted River Bluff to a 62-60 win over Dutch Fork.
The game-winning points were part of a combined 16 free throws made by both teams in the fourth quarter. Windom and J.T. Reeves accounted for all 10 Gator free throws as the team finished 14-24 from the foul line.
“I was a little worried about if it came down to that,” River Bluff head coach Benjamin Lee said. “We didn’t necessarily shoot it that well from the free-throw line today. We will do better than that, so that we’re aren’t having as many close games. But when you need them, when you get them, that’s what you want. That speaks again to the kids. It speaks to their guts.”
“Free throws was a big key last year,” said Windom, who finished with 15 points. “We missed a lot of free throws at the end and we’ve got a couple of fourth quarter plays that we have input to make sure we close games wisely and knock down free throws and make the right plays and the right shots.”
Reeves had a game-high 25 points, including 11 in the third quarter on three 3-pointers, and Andrew Robinson added 12 points for River Bluff (15-2, 1-0), who led as many as 11 points in the second half.
Dutch Fork (10-5, 1-1), which had its seven -game winning streak snapped, rallied behind its defense and second-shot opportunities, A.J. Knight led the Silver Foxes’ comeback with 14 points, Jarvis McClurkin added 10 and Deonte Brown and Chase Reynold each had 9 points.
It was the second win this season in “The Swamp” by the Gators over the Silver Foxes. They upended them 58-48 last November at the Tip-off at the Dam.
The rematch was more closely fought in the second half. Two free throws by Knight with 5:10 left tied the game at 50-50. River Bluff increased its lead to four points, only to have Dutch Fork retie the contest with a Knight three-pointer with 14.6 seconds left.
Windom drove to the basket on the final possession, forcing the foul to set up his game-winning free throws. The Silver Foxes had one more opportunity, but the desperation three-pointer fell short.
“We came out slow in the second half,” Windom said. “They made a run and the run, it got us,” Windom said. “We just stayed poised. J.T. kept us in the game with big-time 3s. He knocked them down.”
The fifth straight win by River Bluff kept pace with undefeated archrival Lexington. The Wildcats play host to Dutch Fork Tuesday, while the Gators play host to Chapin.
Pelion 68, Edisto 67
Jeremiah Green’s basket as time expired lifted the Panthers to an upset win over the 2nd-ranked Cougars in their Region 5-3A opener.
The win also snapped a 4-game losing streak for Pelion (8-6, 1-0).
Four players scored in double figures for the Panthers, led by Malcolm Davis with 23 points. Niko Austin had 18 points, Travon Alston scored 14 and Ethan Davis finished with 10.
Irmo 46, Blythewood 45
Trevez Caldwell scored 14 points, Dylan Williams had 11 and C.J. Washington added 10 for the Yellow Jackets (10-7, 1-1).
Chapin 53, White Knoll 43
Jarod Kelly and Cole Edenfield each scored 15 points and Maddux Harrell added 10 for the Eagles (8-9, 1-1).
Tauris Watson had a game-high 18 points and Jalen Jennings added 11 for the Timberwolves (8-11, 0-2).
Dutch Fork 57, River Bluff 17
Katrice Jackson scored 16 points and Talayasia Barnwell added 14 as the Lady Silver Foxes (8-5, 2-0) remained perfect in Region 5-5A.
Gray Collegiate 46, C.A. Johnson 39
Kayla Gordon scored 14 points, Rebekah Shoop had 12 and Kennede Street finished with 10 for the Lady War Eagles (12-4, 2-0).
They face Calhoun County Tuesday at Allen University.
Blythewood 50, Irmo 45
Madison Dipico had 19 points in a losing effort by the Lady Yellow Jackets.
Batesburg-Leesville 35, Ninety Six 27
White Knoll 40, Chapin 24