LEES CREEK — East Clinton kept the top spot in the Southern Buckeye Conference National Division with a 76-57 victory over visiting Blanchester Thursday.
It didn’t come as easily as EC’s previous seven league victories. Coming into Thursday, the Astros had won their conference tilts by 34, 46, 39 (first meeting with Blanchester), 44, 33, 29 and 11 points.
It appeared early this one would resemble their first meeting. East Clinton started the game on an 11-2 run, with nine of those points off Blan turnovers.
“I told my girls we had to take care of the basketball or it was going to get ugly fast,” BHS coach Pete Jackson said. “They responded well.”
The Wildcats (7-10, 5-5) managed to pull within 16-12 early in the second quarter, but then fell behind 29-19 with 1:33 left in the first half. Blan scored the last five of the half to trail just 29-24 heading to the intermission.
East Clinton (12-2, 8-0) slowly stretched its lead in the third quarter with its largest margin being 45-30 at the 2:00 mark.
“Unfortunately, being out third game in four days, we ran out of gas in the second half,” Jackson said. “All our girls played hard. All the girls that came off the bench played well. I was proud of their effort.”
The Astros extended their advantage to 20-plus points for the first time in the game with a 10-0 spurt that made it 59-38 with 5:51 left in the game.
EC’s biggest advantage of the evening was 24 on three occasions, with the latest being 72-48 with 1:51 left in the game.
“Hats off to East Clinton,” Jackson said. “Bill Bean does a great job with the program.”
Astro Lauren Runyon led all scorers with 19 points. Runyon added 11 rebounds and five steals. Teammate Libby Evanshine chipped in with 17 points, 12 of them in the first half. Jayden Murphy added 11 for the Astros.
Ainsley Whitaker led Blan with 16 points. Teammate Torie Potts joined her in double-figures with 12.
January 20, 2022
@East Clinton High School
East Clinton 76 Blanchester 57
(57) BLANCHESTER (fg-ft-tp) Irwin 1-0-3, Winemiller 4-0-9, T. Potts 5-1-12, Whitaker 6-4-16, O. Potts 2-1-6, Tipton 0-0-0, Waldron 0-0-0, Ambrocio 0-0-0, Stanforth 2-0-6, Staehling 2-0-5. Total 22-6-57. 3-point goals: 7 (Stanforth 2, Irwin, Winemiller, T. Potts, Whitaker, O. Potts). FTM-FTA 6-11, 55 percent.
(76) EAST CLINTON (fg-ft-tp) Collom 1-0-3, Evanshine 7-2-17, Whiteaker 1-5-7, Runyon 8-3-19, Lilly 2-2-6, Tong 2-0-6, Jones 2-1-5, Hadley 0-0-0, Stonewall 1-0-2, Murphy 3-2-11, Schiff 0-0-0, Scott 0-0-0, Frazier 0-0-0. Total 27-15-76. 3-point goals: 7 (Murphy 3, Tong 2, Collom, Evanshine). FTM-FTA 15-19, 79 percent.