WILLIAMSBURG — A match-up of Wildcats took place Friday night as Blanchester made the trip to Williamsburg for SBAAC National Division action.
The high flying Blanchester squad was looking for its seventh straight victory. It’s often said that good teams find a way to win even when they aren’t on their “A game.”
That was the case on this night. Despite a rare cold shooting night from BHS and Brayden Sipple, the Wildcats were still able to come away with hard fought 71-55 victory.
“We missed some shots we normally make and you have those nights,” said BHS coach Adam Weber. “Shots rolling in and out that we are used to making that would have allowed us to pull away earlier.”
It was Homecoming night in Williamsburg and with a big crowd on hand, the home team came out fired up. That, coupled with a sluggish beginning for BHS, allowed Williamsburg to score the game’s first five points, prompting a quick timeout from Weber.
Williamsburg opened up a 10-4 advantage before senior guard Tanner Creager sparked BHS with six consecutive points to erase the deficit. A long three from Williamsburg momentarily stymied Blanchester. A steal and dunk by Sipple, and then a another one from long range by Creager put Blanchester on top. Sipple drained a 30 footer as the first quarter buzzer sounded to extend the BHS lead to 21-15 after one.
Blanchester began to slowly pull away as the second quarter got underway. The strong inside presence of Hunter Bare helped BHS to a double digit lead. This included a couple buckets, and a beautiful feed late in the quarter to Creager for a lay up.
Blanchester also was given a lift off the bench by Logan Heitzman who was able to contribute four points. It was a rare quarter in which Sipple was held in check with just five points, but as the teams went to the break BHS had taken command with a 43-27 lead.
Bare continued to do good things for Weber’s Wildcats as a bucket and a blocked shot that wowed the crowd gave Blanchester some early second half momentum.
“His defensive presence has been huge as of late,” Weber said of Bare. “He’s been great for us with rebounds and offensive putbacks.”
The offensive woes continued for BHS in the fourth as the clocked ticked under the 5:00 mark before two free throws from Sipple finally broke the scoring drought. It was much needed, as a Williamsburg three cut the margin back to 10 on the following possession.
A technical foul at the 2:30 mark seemed to finally give Blanchester the lift it needed to put the game away. A steal and breakaway jam by Sipple extended the lead back to 17 at the 1:00 mark. BHS finished it off with a beautiful feed from Sipple to Bare.
Sipple came alive when it mattered most to score 13 of his team’s 17 fourth quarter points.
“His shots weren’t falling as easy as they usually do. He was a little rattled but he battled through it mentally and came up with the plays late that helped us get to 12-1 which is what we came here to do,” said Weber.
Sipple, with his game-high 32 points, now stands at 1,541 for his career as he continues his assault on the Clinton County record books. Blanchester also got major offensive contributions from Creager (15 points) and Bare (10 points).
BHS, now sporting an eight-game winning streak, moves to 12-1. They are back home Tuesday night as they host the Georgetown G-Men.
In the junior varsity game, Blanchester came out on top 75-49. Bryce Highlander led Blanchester with 31 points.
In the freshman game, Zach West had 10 points but Blanchester was defeated 31-26.
Jan 17, 202
@Williamsburg High School
Blanchester 71 Williamsburg 55
(71) BLANCHESTER (fg-3fg-ft-tp) Roy 1-0-0-2 Creager 4-2-5-15 Sipple 11-1-9-32 Waialae 2-0-0-4 Ashcraft 1-0-2-4 Heitzman 2-0-0-4 Bare 4-0-2-10. TOTALS 25-3-18-
(55) WILLIAMSBURG (fg-3fg-ft-tp) Kelley 2-1-1-6 Vaughn 2-2-0-6 Sunderman 0-0-0-0 Ropp 1-0-0-2 Kreimer 5-1-1-12 West 6-0-2-14 Cummins 5-2-3-15 Klopfstein 0-0-0-0 TOTALS 21-6-7-55
Brian covers high school sports for the News Journal.