BY PHILIP M. BOWMAN

pbowman@postandcourier.com

West Ashley’s boys struggled in the first half of Friday night’s basketball game against Cane Bay.

The Wildcats, a team with impressive talent and a solid resume, went scoreless for more than five minutes in the second quarter and fell behind 20-16 against the Cobras, a team searching and struggling to get to .500.

But just when you thought the Cobras had a chance for the upset against the top-10 team, Ernest Heyward took over and helped the host Wildcats gain a 53-49 victory.

West Ashley coach Ronnie DuPre wasn’t impressed with his team’s effort.

“We handled the ball really poorly,” DuPre said. “It was a poor performance for late January. I think we clinched a spot in the playoffs. But if we play like this in February, it’s going to be a short run.”

Down by four, 20-16, with 2:25 left in the first half, Heyward scored a 3-point play the old-fashioned way to cut the deficit to one point.

But he wasn’t done. He stole the ball on the Cobras’ next possession and scored to give West Ashley a 21-20 lead. With 2:07 left, Heyward scored on an inbounds pass to make it a 23-20 game. The Wildcats reeled off six more points before the buzzer and took a 29-20 lead into the locker room.

“Other than that run where we took care of the ball, we didn’t have a spurt where we played like a winning basketball team,” DuPre said. “Cane Bay shot the ball well and played good defense. But I think this was more about us not playing up to our potential.”

The victory gave the Wildcats a 17-4 record, including 4-1 in Region 7-AAAA. Cane Bay fell to 6-11, 1-4.

Heyward led West Ashley with 21 points, with 15 coming in the first half.

Sophomore guard Luis Rivers led Cane Bay with 20 points, connecting on three 3-point goals.

Cane Bay (49): L. Rivers 20, Hammond 4, R. Rivers 3, Lawyer 4, Dingle 2, Coaxum 4, Doctor 12.

West Ashley (53): Subieso 6, Heyward 21, Zorn 2, June 8, Mallard 2, Fields 8, Glenn 6.

Records: West Ashley 17-4, 4-1; Cane Bay 6-10, 1-4.