BETHEL — Leading by just two points after three quarters, the Bethel-Tate Tigers surged to start the fourth quarter Friday night, defeating Blanchester 68-55.
A 12-2 run over the first 2:20 of the fourth quarter gave the Tigers the cushion they would need.
The win sets up a showdown with Williamsburg next Friday. The Tigers (14-4 overall, 8-1 in SBC) trailed the Wildcats by one game heading into Friday’s games.
As for Blanchester (9-10, 4-5), the formula was the same for head coach Adam Weber.
“This has been the blueprint,” Weber said. “As soon as the game gets more serious or more physical, we have struggled the entire season.”
After falling behind 17-9 after one quarter, Blanchester scored the first nine points of the second, led by Quenton and Dylan Miller.
Bethel would push the lead back to five midway through the second, but would only lead 29-27 at the half.
Blanchester and Bethel-Tate traded the lead throughout the third quarter. Tommy Bingamon’s three late in the third gave the Tigers a lead they would not relinquish, as they led 45-43 heading into the fourth.
Weber was pleased with how his team played in the first three quarters.
“They’ve shown growth,” Weber said. “That’s what you’re looking for as a coach. The first three quarters, it was pretty strong, it was pretty committed offensively. Then the physicality picked up a notch.”
The Tiger momentum carried over into the start of the fourth quarter, as Bethel-Tate opened the period on a 12-2 run. The 15-2 run in total, going back to Bingamon’s three late in the third, gave Bethel-Tate a 55-45 lead with 5:40 left.
Blanchester struggled from the floor in the fourth. Blan was just 2 of 7 from the floor, and only one of those field goals came in the game’s final 5:40.
The Wildcats tried to hang around from the free throw line, as Blan made 8 of 9 in the fourth and 12 of 13 for the game. However, Blanchester would get no closer than nine points the rest of the way.
Dylan Miller had a strong game, despite playing most of the fourth quarter with four fouls. Miller had 26 points. Quenton Miller added 11 points and seven rebounds.
Bingamon led Bethel-Tate with 25 points, while Trenton Weeks added 15.
Weber and his Wildcats face another stiff test Tuesday as East Clinton comes to town for senior night.
“There are no easy ones left,” Weber said. “For our seniors, I’m still pleading with them to continue to get better and win a physical, intense rivalry game and see how far this ride can keep going.”
February 10, 2017
At Bethel-Tate High School
Bethel-Tate 68, Blanchester 55
(55) BLANCHESTER (fg-3fg-ft-tp) Blake Baker 1-0-0-2, Nick Hopkins 1-1-0-3, Quenton Miller 5-1-0-11, Dylan MIller 7-2-10-26, Jordan Stroud 2-1-0-5, JD Wiederhold 3-0-2-8. TOTALS 19-5-12-55.
(68) BETHEL-TATE (fg-3fg-ft-tp) Trenton Weeks 6-0-3-15, Griffin Reinert 5-3-0-13, Tommy Bingamon 10-4-1-25, Caleb Bastin 1-0-0-2, Jacob Collins 0-0-5-5, Jake Stolz 4-0-0-8. TOTALS 26-7-9-68.
FIELD GOALS: B 19/46 (D. Miller 7/14, Q. Miller 5/11, Wiederhold 3/4); BT 26/54 (Bingamon 10/13, Weeks 6/16, Reinert 5/9, Stolz 4/8)
3 POINT FIELD GOALS: B 5/20 (D. Miller 2/6); BT 7/21 (Bingamon 4/6, Reinert 3/5)
FREE THROWS: B 12/13 (D. Miller 10/10); BT 9/13 (Collins 5/6)
REBOUNDS: B 28 (Wiederhold 8, Q. Miller 7); BT 29 (Reinert 5, Bingamon 5, Weeks 4)
ASSISTS: B 9 (Hopkins 4); BT 15 (Weeks 7, Stolz 3)
STEALS: B 5 (D. Miller 2, Stroud 2); BT 9 (Weeks 4, Bastin 3)
BLOCKED SHOTS: B 0; BT 3 (Stolz 2)
TURNOVERS: B 18; BT 11
Matt Sexton covers high school sports for the News Journal. Follow him on Twitter @bymattsexton