ADAMS TOWNSHIP — Clinton-Massie’s defense clamped down in the second half Tuesday night, holding Blanchester to just 18 second-half points in a 58-49 victory at Brian Mudd Court.
The Falcons (1-4) erased a 14-point first half deficit to pick up their first win of the season. Blanchester falls to 1-7 in defeat.
Blanchester started the game strong, finishing the first quarter on a 9-2 run to lead 17-10 after one.
After the Falcons closed to within three, Blanchester went on a 13-2 run over the next 4:28. Blanchester led 30-16 with 2:42 left in the first half.
But the Wildcats scored just 19 points over the last 18:42 of the game. Clinton-Massie outscored Blanchester 42-19 over that span.
“In the second half, we just decided we needed to pressure them a little bit more,” CM head coach Steve Graves said. “We’ve got the guys that have the attitude and the want-to to do it. I couldn’t be more proud of the guys right now.”
Blanchester head coach Adam Weber believed it was at the defensive end where the game changed.
“When you lock them down in one half, and then you give a guy a direct line to the hoop, that describes what happened,” Weber said.
Kody Zantene, who spent much of the first half on the bench in foul trouble, scored 12 of his game-high 20 points in the second half. He also added 10 rebounds for a double-double.
“We rolled the dice a little bit, putting him in with three fouls in the first half,” Graves said. “But knowing him, the competitor, we’ve all seen it. Everyone in Clinton County has seen it in football.
“Kudos to the whole group, though. It was a total team victory.”
Eight different Falcons scored. Blake Ireland added nine points and six steals, while Keegan Lamb had eight points.
Bryce Sipple led a balanced Blanchester attack with 12 points. Brison Lucas and Seth Akers each added 11.
“I was proud of the way the guys carried themselves on the court,” Weber said. “There is zero question of whether we have the skill. It’s a matter of having the concentration and focus to put it together for four quarters. It’s not a lack of effort for sure.”
With just five games played before Christmas, Graves believes his team is putting it together at the right time.
“Christmas came early for us,” Graves said. “Last year, we didn’t get our first win until late. It’s nice to get one early.”
Tuesday, Dec. 21, 2021
@Brian Mudd Court
Clinton-Massie 58, Blanchester 49
(49) BLANCHESTER (fg-3fg-ft-tp) Bryce Sipple 5-1-1-12, Brison Lucas 2-1-6-11, Austin Dick 2-0-0-4, Seth Akers 2-2-5-11, Dylan Creager 1-1-0-3, Zach West 1-0-0-2, Justin Hogsett 0-0-2-2, Gabe McVey 2-0-0-4. TOTALS 15-5-14-49.
(58) CLINTON-MASSIE (fg-3fg-ft-tp) Luke Engelhard 2-0-0-4, Carter Euton 2-0-2-6, Kody Zantene 6-1-7-20, Keegan Lamb 1-0-6-8, Ryan Dillion 1-1-0-3, Blake Ireland 3-1-2-9, Alex Jones 2-0-0-4, Lex Russell 2-0-0-4. TOTALS 19-3-17-58.
FIELD GOALS: B 15/37 (Sipple 5/8); CM 19/53 (Zantene 6/10)
3 POINT FIELD GOALS: B 5/18 (Akers 2/4); CM 3/15
FREE THROWS: B 14/25 (Lucas 6/9, Akers 5/6); CM 17/24 (Zantene 7/7, Lamb 6/7)
REBOUNDS: B 29 (Sipple 8, Akers 5, Osborn 5, McVey 4); CM 34 (Zantene 10, Russell 6)
ASSISTS: B 6; CM 8
STEALS: B 9; CM 12 (Ireland 6)
BLOCKED SHOTS: B 4 (Osborn 3, Sipple 1); CM 0
TURNOVERS: B 19; CM 12
Matt Sexton covers high school sports for the News Journal. Follow him on Twitter @MattSextonPxP.