FELICITY – In a matchup of the top two girls basketball teams in the Southern Buckeye Conference, the Goshen Warriors defeated the Blanchester Wildcats 33-28 Saturday evening at Felicity High School.
The deciding stretch of the game started in the third quarter. Tristan Culberson scored for Blanchester with 6:42 left in the third, giving the Wildcats a 20-16 lead.
For the next 10:31, Blanchester would not score. When Rachael Doyle scored with 4:10 left in the fourth, Blanchester trailed 28-22.
“(Goshen) did some things defensively that gave us some trouble,” BHS head coach Bennie Carroll said. “In that stretch, we also missed a few very makeable shots that would have, maybe, stemmed the tied a little bit.
“I can’t fault my kids. We fought like tigers. We just didn’t get a lot of good looks. The good looks we did get, we didn’t make them.”
Nevertheless, Blanchester (18-4) found a way to claw back into the game. Following a Bri Vondreau free throw, Culberson knocked down a three to pull the Wildcats within four, 29-25.
After a missed Goshen free throw, Culberson knocked down another three with 47 seconds remaining to cut the Wildcat deficit to one, 29-28.
“Give the girls credit, even when they got down by seven, they still found a way to fight back into the game,” Carroll said. “They showed a lot of moxie.”
Whitney Turner was fouled, and she made both free throws to give Goshen a 31-28 lead with 44.3 left.
Blanchester turned the ball over with 27 seconds left, only to see Goshen give the ball right back with 15.3 remaining.
The Lady Wildcats inbounded under their own basket, but another errant pass gave the ball back to the Warriors with 6 seconds left.
Paige Garr finally put the game away for the Warriors with two free throws with 1.9 remaining.
“We knew it was going to be a war,” Carroll said. “It was almost like playing a mirror image of us. They get after it hard defensively just like we do.”
Culberson led Blanchester with 10 points and 4 rebounds. Doyle just missed a double-double, finishing with 8 points and 14 rebounds.
Olivia Taulbee led Goshen with 11 points. The Warriors finished the regular season at 19-3. Goshen is the third seed in the Division II Withrow sectional.
“In the first half, I thought our defense was exceptional,” Carroll said. “They’ve got shooters, and I thought we did a great job getting out there on their shooters. In the first half, on defense, we played as well as we could.
“I told the girls after the game, ‘don’t get your head down. You just played a team that won their 19th game. It’s not like you got beat by some bad team here.’”
Blanchester, seeded fifth in the Lebanon sectional, will need a win Thursday against the third-seeded Clinton-Massie Falcons to equal the school record for victories. The 1989 Fort Ancient Valley Conference championship team finished the season 19-3.
Feb. 6, 2016
@ Felicity High School
Goshen 33, Blanchester 28
(33) GOSHEN (fg-3fg-ft-tp) Bri Vondreau 0-0-4-4, Kelsie Jeandrevin 2-0-2-6, Olivia Taulbee 4-2-1-11, Whitney Turner 0-0-2-2, Anna Dowd 1-0-0-2, Paige Garr 3-0-2-8. TOTALS: 10-2-11-33.
(28) BLANCHESTER (fg-3fg-ft-tp) Rachael Doyle 2-0-4-8, Tristan Culberson 4-2-0-10, Sarah Burton 2-1-1-6, Kayla Dugger 2-0-0-4. TOTALS: 10-3-5-28.
FIELD GOALS: G 10/40 (Taulbee 4/8, Garr 3/12); B 10/33 (Culberson 4/8)
3 POINT FIELD GOALS: G 2/15 (Taulbee 2/4); B 3/9 (Culberson 2/5)
FREE THROWS: G 11/17 (Vonderau 4/8); B 5/10 (Doyle 4/7)
REBOUNDS: G 27 (Dowd 6, Garr 5, Shinkle 4); B 32 (Doyle 14, Culberson 4, Burton 4)
ASSISTS: G 6 (Shinkle 2); B 3
STEALS: G 9 (Turner 4); B 3
BLOCKED SHOTS: G 0; B 4 (Doyle 4)
TURNOVERS: G 17; B 21
Matt covers high school sports for the News Journal. Follow him on Twitter @mattsports.