BLANCHESTER — A 29-5 run midway through the third quarter Tuesday night allowed Blanchester to pull away and defeat Fairfield 92-65.
The win was the 13th straight for Blanchester (18-1). Fairfield fell to 11-7.
A scary moment halted the game with 2:41 left when Blanchester guard Jacksson Waialae landed hard on his head and neck following a block attempt. He was helped off the floor after being down for several minutes.
While no official update on his condition was available after the game, they were hopeful that he would be ready to play in one week when the Wildcats next take the court at Bethel-Tate on Feb. 11.
Blanchester finishes the regular season with three games in four nights.
“I think with Jacksson taking that spill tonight, it turns out to be a break that we needed,” BHS head coach Adam Weber said. “We obviously need to have him for those three critical games and to clinch at least a share of the league title.”
Waialae was the second-highest scorer on the night, finishing with 28 points on 10 of 16 from the floor and 6 of 10 from three-point range.
“He’s got a quick release and is as athletic as anyone on the floor,” Weber said. “When he’s in rhythm, like any good shooter, it’s almost impossible to do anything but hope he misses. And he didn’t miss many.”
Fairfield, which was missing two starters due to illness, simply ran out of gas in the third quarter trying to keep up the high pace of the opening half.
Blanchester tightened defensively and turned defense into offense on possession after possession. The Lions had no answer for Brayden Sipple, who had 43 points on 17 of 26 shooting in a little over three quarters.
Sipple had another strong game with college coaches in attendance. Their attendance has been as consistent as Sipple’s performances.
“One thing I’ve been able to see clearly is that if you want to play at a high level in college, you have to perform under the lights,” Weber said. “There are no off nights. He hasn’t had off nights. That’s what makes him unique.
“His numbers are great, but he does it every time we play. That speaks for itself.”
Hunter Bare was the third Wildcat in double figures with 10 points and seven rebounds.
James Bentley had an impressive outing for the Lions, scoring 22 points and pulling down 14 rebounds. Wyatt Willey, before fouling out, had 13 points.
After hovering around 50 percent from the floor in the first half, Fairfield ended up at 37.9 percent shooting (25 of 66).
“We talked with some more constructive criticism at halftime,” Weber said. “Our defensive discipline was not where it needed to be. Willey can shoot it. He can get to the basket. Bentley has nice moves. We were a step slow.
“Third quarter, we turned the knobs on high. We had four or five great stops in a row that led to offensive production. We willed our way into pulling away.”
Tuesday, Feb. 4, 2020
At Blanchester High School
Blanchester 92, Fairfield 65
(65) FAIRFIELD (fg-3fg-ft-tp) Koben Zink 1-0-0-2, Reese Teeters 2-0-2-6, Jon Bentley 3-0-0-6, Wyatt Willey 4-3-2-13, Caleb Payne 1-0-0-2, Bryson Simmons 6-2-0-14, James Bentley 8-0-6-22. TOTALS 25-5-10-65.
(92) BLANCHESTER (fg-3fg-ft-tp) Braden Roy 0-0-1-1, Tanner Creager 1-0-1-3, Brayden Sipple 17-1-8-43, Jacksson Waialae 10-6-2-28, Jay Ashcraft 2-0-1-5, Hunter Hartman 1-0-0-2, Hunter Bare 4-0-2-10. TOTALS 35-7-15-92.
FIELD GOALS: F 25/66 (Ja. Bentley 8/18, Simmons 6/17, Willey 4/8); B 35/64 (Sipple 17/26, Waialae 10/16, Bare 4/8)
3 POINT FIELD GOALS: F 5/16 (Willey 3/5); B 7/19 (Waialae 6/10)
FREE THROWS: F 10/15 (Ja. Bentley 6/8); B 15/23 (Sipple 8/11)
REBOUNDS: F 37 (Ja. Bentley 14, Jo. Bentley 8); B 39 (Sipple 7, Bare 7, Waialae 5, Ashcraft 5)
ASSISTS: F 11 (Teeters 4); B 13 (Creager 6)
STEALS: F 7 (Teeters 2); B 11 (Sipple 6, Roy 3)
BLOCKED SHOTS: F 0; B 5 (Bare 4, Sipple 1)
TURNOVERS: F 18; B 12
Matt Sexton covers high school sports for the News Journal. Follow him on Twitter @MattSextonPxP.