BLANCHESTER — In front of a near-capacity crowd at Blanchester High School Tuesday night, the Wildcats avenged their only loss of the season in dominating fashion.
Outscoring a depleted Clermont Northeastern squad 55-23 in the middle two quarters, Blanchester cruised to an 87-57 win over the Rockets.
Blanchester (15-1 overall, 9-1 SBC-National) led by as many as 52 points in the fourth (80-28).
Clermont Northeastern (14-3, 9-1) played without standout Skyler Schmidt, who was serving the first of a two-game suspension for his ejection against East Clinton Friday night.
In addition, the Rockets were also without starter Mason Martin. Schmidt and Martin combined to score 42 points and pull down 27 rebounds in the first meeting between the teams.
The loss of those two, combined with several players recovering from the flu virus, made the task an incredibly tall one for the Rockets.
It became an impossible task when Blanchester brought its “A” game. No opponent this season has had an answer when the Wildcats have played their best basketball.
“CNE was put in a hard spot,” BHS head coach Adam Weber said. “At the end of the day, you’ve got to play who’s in front of you and in the conditions that are there. As much as we would have liked to have them at full force, that was out of our control.
“I was proud of our guys staying zoned in and handling their business the right way.”
Blanchester had runs of 18-2 and 19-4 in the first half alone. The third quarter was 27-7 Wildcats.
In the middle two quarters, Blanchester shot 61.3 percent from the floor (19 of 37), 82 percent from the line (14 of 17) and outrebounded CNE 26-16.
“We had five or six possessions in a row where we didn’t have the ball on offense for more than four seconds,” Weber said. “We finished it with a dunk almost every play. That’s what makes us hard to play against. We can secure the defensive rebound, we can come downhill on you and sometimes there’s nothing you can do.”
Brayden Sipple and Hunter Bare had 21 points each in the middle two quarters. Sipple finished with 38 points on 13 of 17 shooting. He also had seven rebounds and four assists.
Bare finished with 21 points, and likely would have had more, but he sat most of the first quarter in foul trouble and the last quarter due to the game being out of hand.
“It was another complete team effort,” Weber said. “They are committed to winning. Personal achievements are not deterring them from their focus and discipline in practice and enjoyment of each other.”
Jerryd Burns led the Rockets with 14 points. CNE struggled from the floor, especially from behind the arc. The Rockets were 22 of 72 overall (30.6 percent) and 7 of 32 from three-point range (21.9 percent).
It was quite the show for the Wildcats in front of a raucous home crowd.
“People will come and watch good people who are good at something,” Weber said. “That’s what we have here. We have good kids who are liked by their peers, their teachers and members of the community. And they’re putting on a show.
“The Blanchester community has been pivotal in encouraging these guys to keep coming to the gym and keep trying to get better.”
Tuesday, Jan. 28, 2020
At Blanchester High School
Blanchester 87, Clermont NE 57
(57) CLERMONT NE (fg-3fg-ft-tp) Jerryd Burns 6-1-1-14, Logan Pottorf 1-0-0-2, Jared Decatur 3-3-2-11, Austin Yeager 1-1-2-5, Owen Fishback 3-1-1-8, Bryce Reece 1-1-0-3, Blake King 2-0-0-4, Angus Krug 5-0-0-10. TOTALS 22-7-6-57.
(87) BLANCHESTER (fg-3fg-ft-tp) Team 1-0-0-2, Bryce Highlander 1-1-0-3, Braden Roy 1-0-2-4, Tanner Creager 2-0-0-4, Jacksson Waialae 3-2-3-11, Brayden Sipple 13-3-9-38, Jay Ashcraft 1-0-2-4, Hunter Bare 8-0-5-21. TOTALS 30-6-21-87.
FIELD GOALS: C 22/72 (Burns 6/18, Krug 5/8); B 30/59 (Sipple 13/17, Bare 8/13)
3 POINT FIELD GOALS: C 7/32 (Decatur 3/4); B 6/15 (Sipple 3/3)
FREE THROWS: C 6/10; B 21/25 (Sipple 9/9, Bare 5/7)
REBOUNDS: C 43 (Krug 9, Pottorf 8, King 7); B 40 (Sipple 7, Waialae 7, Creager 6, Ashcraft 5)
ASSISTS: C 7 (Pottorf 4); B 15 (Creager 5, Sipple 4, Waialae 3)
STEALS: C 5; B 13 (Waialae 5, Roy 3)
BLOCKED SHOTS: C 1; B 6 (Bare 3, Waialae 2, Heitzman 1)
TURNOVERS: C 18; B 13
Matt Sexton covers high school sports for the News Journal. Follow him on Twitter @MattSextonPxP.