BLANCHESTER — It seemed to be a perfect storm Thursday night against the Blanchester High School girls basketball team.
BHS head coach Bennie Carroll was nervous, a bit more nervous than usual. But his Ladycats prevailed 44-32 to claim the outright Southern Buckeye Conference National Division championship, the first league title for BHS girls basketball since 1989.
“A loss would have taken the shine off the other night,” Carroll said, noting the girls had secured at least a share of the league title with a one-point win Monday over Bethel-Tate.
But they wanted more. They weren’t content to share the crown.
Still, things were stacked against these newbies in the area of winning league championships.
Coming off the biggest win for BHS in nearly 30 years Monday night, all Blanchester had to do was beat Georgetown. The Lady G-Men came into the season having won 15 straight SBC National Division titles. No slip-ups since talk of the last millenium.
“The win over Bethel was an emotional game, it did take a lot of energy,” said Carroll. “Tonight was senior night and the girls had their minds on that. We were primed for an upset.”
Plus Carroll had to match wits against one of the best, his good friend Bernie Cropper.
“They’ve won 15 straight league championships. I don’t know if many people realize what a great accomplishment that is,” Carroll said of GHS. “I can tell you how hard it was just to win one. It was an honor to me to compete against him. I consider him a friend and one of the best coaches in the state of Ohio.”
On this night, though, Cropper would have to settle for second best.
Blanchester scored the first points of the night — fittingly a Kayla Dugger three-pointer with an assist to Rachael Doyle — and the Ladycats were off and running toward a league title.
“This whole group, starting with the seniors, is as good a group of kids as I’ve coached,” said Carroll. “Coming to practice every day to work, not complaining about anything we ask them to do.
“They’ve put in some time. We spent a lot of time over the last couple springs and summers. They deserve this because they’ve worked hard at it.”
BHS seniors are Sarah Burton, Tristan Culberson, Marissa Doughman and the aforementioned Dugger and Doyle.
While Burton and Culberson have taken their turns pacing the BHS offense, on this night it was clearly Dugger and Doyle. Dugger had 10 of her 13 points in the first half while Doyle scored 15 of her 17 points in the second half and grabbed a season-high 18 rebounds.
“The one thing that has happened for us, we’ve always had one kid who stepped up and had a good night,” the BHS coach said. “They ran some junk defenses on Sarah and Tristan. Kayla and Rachael stepped up and had big games.”
Doyle had five steals and three blocked shots. Burton finished with 11 rebounds and five blocked shots.
Carroll credited his defensive effort against Georgetown’s Kennedy Underwood as one of the keys to the win. She finished with two points.
“Marissa (Doughman) and McKenzie (Miller) and Tristan (Culberson), different ones on her, did a pretty darn good job. She didn’t get any easy looks at the basket,” said Carroll. “We played pretty hard under the circumstances, so I was proud of them for that.”
Feb 4, 2016
@Blanchester High School
Blanchester 44 Georgetown 32
(44) BLANCHESTER (fg-3fg-ft-tp) Culberson 3-1-0-7 Burton 1-0-2-4 Doughman 0-0-0-0 Doyle 4-0-9-17 Dugger 5-3-0-13 E. Gundler 1-0-0-2 Greene 0-0-0-0 Miller 0-0-1-1 Baldwin 0-0-0-0 Farrow 0-0-0-0 Lindsey 0-0-0-0 Patton 0-0-0-0. TOTALS 14-4-12-44
(32) GEORGETOWN (fg-3fg-ft-tp) Underwood 1-0-0-2 Kas Seigla 1-1-0-3 Gibbons 5-0-4-14 Johnson 1-0-0-2 McKinney 2-0-3-7 Tomlin 0-0-0-0 Cahall 1-0-2-4. TOTALS 11-1-5-32
FIELD GOALS: B 14-45 (Culberson 3-6); G 11-43 Gibbons 5-11)
3 PT FIELD GOALS: B 4-9 (Dugger 3-5); G 1-8
FREE THROWS: B 12-24 (Doyle 9-14 Burton 2-2); G 5-15
REBOUNDS: B-40 (Doyle 18 Burton 11 Miller 3 Culberson 2); G-41 (Gibbons 10 McKinney 7 Cahall 7 Underwood 5)
ASSISTS: B-4 (Doyle 2); G-2
STEALS: B-12 (Doyle 5 Miller 2 Dugger 2 Culberson 2); G-7 (Kas Seigla 4 McKinney 2)
BLOCKED SHOTS: B-8 (Burton 5 Doyle 3); G-3 (McKinney 2)
TURNOVERS: B-18 G-22
Reach Mark Huber at 937-556-5765, or on Twitter @wnjsports.