WILMINGTON — Trailing by as many as 17 points in the first half, the Blanchester boys basketball team rallied for a 66-58 victory over Wilmington Tuesday night at Fred Summers Court.
It was Blanchester’s first victory over the Hurricane since Dec. 27, 1991, a 68-66 Wildcat victory at Wilmington High School.
“That was a great game and it was a lot of fun,” WHS head coach Matt Kramer said. “That was my first look at that Blanchester team. Sometimes you have to give the other team credit for taking your good shots and still being there. All the credit to them.”
Blanchester (9-1) took its first lead of the game on its first possession of the fourth quarter when Hunter Bare converted a three-point play.
Wilmington (4-5), which had led for almost the entire first three quarters, battled back on several occasions in the final period to tie the game.
The last such occasion was at 57-all with 1:45 left. After an empty Wildcat possession, Wilmington looked to retake the lead.
Jacksson Waialae made the steal for Blanchester and sent it ahead for a Brayden Sipple dunk with 1:00 remaining.
With Blanchester leading 59-57, Wilmington called a timeout with 37.4 left. A lob pass into Matt Butcher gave him a shot in the lane. He appeared to be fouled on the shot attempt, but no call was made.
Blanchester grabbed the rebound, sent it ahead for another Sipple basket to put Blanchester up 61-57.
A Cam Coomer free throw pulled Wilmington within three at 61-58, but Blanchester would put the game away at the line.
“That game was huge for our team,” BHS head coach Adam Weber said. “This win gives us a lot of confidence. We’ve still got to go to Bethel-Tate, to Felicity, to a few other tough places. This win should give us the confidence to win big road games.”
Sipple led all scorers with 31 points. He also had six rebounds, including five offensive rebounds. He passed East Clinton’s Robbin Luck and New Vienna’s Larry Terrell on the all-time county scoring list. At 1,438 points, he is 15 behind EC’s Wyatt Floyd for 8th all-time.
Hunter Bare added 21 points and 11 rebounds, including 6 offensive rebounds.
“Sipple is as good as he is advertised,” Kramer said. “They’ve got some other guys that can play too. It’s hard to see that on film. Bare’s a big strong kid. He was a presence for them. Tanner (Creager) made a couple of big shots in the first half at a time when it looked like it would go all our way.”
Creager had 10 points, including two big threes late in the first half with Sipple on the bench with three fouls and Blanchester down 16.
“Tanner banged two back-to-back threes that, in my opinion, saved the game,” Weber said. “Obviously, you play the fourth quarter to win the game, but he saved the game by making those two.”
Coomer led Wilmington with 20 points and seven assists. Butcher finished with 16 points and 10 rebounds. Gabe Jones had 12 points on four three-point shots.
“I thought tonight we got better,” Kramer said. “For the first time since I’ve been here, I feel like I have a unified locker room. It’s good that it hurts after a game like that. That’s part of the journey. Until it really hurts, it means you’re not fully invested.
“I saw pain on their faces, but it was a good pain. They want to get back into the gym tomorrow and work.”
Tuesday, Jan. 7, 2020
At Fred Summers Court
Blanchester 66, Wilmington 58
(66) BLANCHESTER (fg-3fg-ft-tp) Tanner Creager 3-2-2-10, Brayden Sipple 10-1-10-31, Jacksson Waialae 2-0-0-4, Hunter Bare 10-0-1-21. TOTALS 25-3-13-66.
(58) WILMINGTON (fg-3fg-ft-tp) Matt Butcher 7-2-0-16, Cam Coomer 6-2-6-20, Gabe Jones 4-4-0-12, Chris Custis 1-0-2-4, Brady Vilvens 1-0-0-2, Brandon Glass 2-0-0-4. TOTALS 21-8-8-58.
FIELD GOALS: B 25/65 (Sipple 10/25, Bare 10/15); W 21/62 (Butcher 7/16, Coomer 6/17)
3 POINT FIELD GOALS: B 3/11 (Creager 2/3); W 8/32 (Jones 4/8)
FREE THROWS: B 13/16 (Sipple 10/13); W 8/17 (Coomer 6/11)
REBOUNDS: B 45 (Bare 11, Waialae 8, Creager 8, Sipple 6); W 40 (Custis 13, Butcher 10)
ASSISTS: B 12 (Creager 5, Waialae 4); W 14 (Coomer 7, Custis 3)
STEALS: B 5 (Waialae 2); W 8
BLOCKED SHOTS: B 6 (Bare 4); W 0
TURNOVERS: B 11; W 9
Matt Sexton covers high school sports for the News Journal. Follow him on Twitter @MattSextonPxP.