OWENSVILLE — Blanchester’s furious second half comeback fell short Friday night, as the Wildcats lost at Clermont Northeastern, 51-42.
Blanchester trailed by 19 with under four minutes left in the third quarter. The Wildcats (0-5 overall, 0-3 SBC National) cut the deficit to eight in the final minutes but couldn’t get any closer.
By beating its second Clinton County team of the week, the Rockets (3-1 overall) remained unbeaten in SBC play at 3-0.
“I think we improved drastically in the way we played in the teamwork-side of things,” BHS head coach Adam Weber said. “We just battled to the end. I’m happy with the way they continued to compete.”
A nearly 13-minute stretch of the game determined the outcome.
Blanchester got off to a good start, jumping out to an 11-8 lead with 1:54 left in the first quarter. CNE shot just 2 of 14 in the first quarter but made five free throws to tie the game at 11 after one.
Gabe McVey’s basket with 1:54 left in the first quarter would be the last Wildcat field goal for 12 minutes, 47 seconds. Bryce Sipple’s basket with 5:07 left in the third would break the field goal drought.
During that stretch, CNE outscored Blanchester 26-4. Before Sipple broke the drought, Blanchester trailed 34-15.
Yet the Wildcats battled back, scoring the final nine points of the third quarter to cut its deficit to 10, 38-28, after three.
“You establish by game five what you know for certain about a team,” Weber said. “I don’t always know how we’re going to get points, whether it’s inside, outside or penetration. But I know we will play hard on defense all the way until the end, no matter what the score is. That is our strongest attribute right now.”
CNE went on an 8-3 spurt to open the fourth that pushed the margin back to 15 points, which proved to be too much for a late Wildcat rally to overcome.
Bryce Reece filled the stat sheet for CNE. He had 18 points, five rebounds and six assists.
“CNE came in at their place and did a really good job on the offensive side of the ball, especially Reece,” Weber said.
Brison Lucas and Gabe McVey each had nine points to lead Blanchester. Bryce Sipple added seven points and eight rebounds, while Seth Akers also had seven points.
Friday, Dec. 10, 2021
At Clermont Northeastern High School
Clermont Northeastern 51, Blanchester 42
(42) BLANCHESTER (fg-3fg-ft-tp) Bryce Sipple 3-0-1-7, Brison Lucas 2-1-4-9, Seth Akers 2-2-1-7, Zach West 1-0-1-3, Justin Hogsett 1-0-2-4, Gabe McVey 3-1-2-9, Andrew Osborn 1-0-1-3. TOTALS 13-4-12-42.
(51) CLERMONT NORTHEASTERN (fg-3fg-ft-tp) Carter Corey 0-0-1-1, Austin Yeager 2-1-0-5, Jake Mott 2-0-3-7, CJ Boothby 2-2-1-7, Logan Carlier 2-0-3-7, Bryce Reece 5-2-6-18, Connor Yeager 1-0-4-6. TOTALS 14-5-18-51.
FIELD GOALS: B 13/36 (Sipple 3/6, McVey 3/8); C 14/49 (Reece 5/15)
3 POINT FIELD GOALS: B 4/13 (Akers 2/4); C 5/19 (Boothby 2/4, Reece 2/6)
FREE THROWS: B 12/19 (Lucas 4/4); C 18/29 (Reece 6/9)
REBOUNDS: B 38 (Sipple 8, West 5, Hogsett 4, McVey 4); C 35 (A. Yeager 8, C. Yeager 7, Mott 6, Reece 5)
ASSISTS: B 5; C 7 (Reece 6)
STEALS: B 5; C 9 (Mott 3, Reece 2)
BLOCKED SHOTS: B 1 (Osborn 1); C 2 (C. Yeager 2)
TURNOVERS: B 21; C 8
Matt Sexton covers high school sports for the News Journal. Follow him on Twitter @MattSextonPxP.