By Matthew ButcherWNJ Sports

BLANCHESTER – Blanchester’s 24-point eruption in the fourth quarter was not enough to make up Clermont Northeastern’s wire-to-wire lead, leaving the Wildcats with a 66-58 Tuesday night loss at BHS.

The ‘Cats’ record blemishes into 1-6 overall and 0-4 in the SBAAC National Division. They travel to Knightstown, Ind. Friday to take on local rival Goshen High at the famous Hoosier Gym that was featured in the 1986 film Hoosiers. They will resume league play after the new year with an inter-county battle at East Clinton.

“The kids are very excited, it’s going to be neat,” BHS coach Mike Malott said of the trip to the famous gym. “It’s a little weird to drive two-and-a-half hours to play a team that’s 10 minutes from us, but it’s going to be really awesome.”

Bryce Sipple led the Wildcats with 16 points, most of which came in the second half. Nainoa Tangonan had a very quiet nine points of his own, leaving Zach West and Kaden Cromer to score eight each to round out Blanchester’s scoring.

“We woke up there, went on a nice little run to take us back into the game,” said Malott. “We just have to do that for four quarters. We are now executing substantially better than we were at the beginning of the season.”

CNE improves to 6-4 overall and 3-1 in the SBAAC. The Rockets will be hosting Blanchester for the reverse fixture in late January, a game that they hope will be important in their own ascending league campaign.

The Wildcats took a timeout late in the first quarter after a slow 15-6 start, and it looked like it was going to be a long night for the home team. They dug their hole by allowing an immense amount of offensive rebounds and failing to convert or get a call on a tough shot selection.

“The biggest thing tonight was that we came out flat. We did not have the energy we had in prior games. I don’t expect that to be a trend because we have been playing with a lot of intensity,” Mallott said.

With timely fourth quarter three-point shooting from Jansen Wymer and Evan Mallott, along with several trips to the free throw line, Blanchester brought the lead down to as little as six in the final few minutes to sent the crowd into a raucous state. Wymer and Mallott had 11 and six points, respectively.

However, CNE drew out some lengthy possessions, sank free throws and ultimately protected the lead to pull out a victory. All of this was despite their leading scorer on the season, Connor Yeager, fouling out of the ballgame with more than three minutes to play.

SUMMARY

Dec 20, 2022

@Blanchester High School

Clermont Northeastern 66, Blanchester 58

CNE^19^15^20^12^^66

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(58) BLANCHESTER (fg-3fg-ft-tp) Sipple 5-0-6-16 Tangonan 3-2-1-9 West 2-0-4-8 Wymer 4-3-0-11 Cromer 3-0-2-8 Creager 0-0-0-0 Taylor 0-0-0-0 Malott 2-2-0-6 Estep 0-0-0-0 TOTALS 19-7-13-58

(66) CLERMONT NE (fg-3fg-ft-tp) Mattes 5-0-2-12 Brown 3-0-0-6 Boothby 6-4-0-16 Mott 2-0-0-4 C. Yeager 7-0-0-14 Woolery 1-0-0-2 Schmidt 0-0-2-2 Hunt 4-0-0-8 TOTALS 28-4-4-66

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