BLANCHESTER – Down 47-32 entering the fourth quarter of its season opener versus Roger Bacon, Blanchester clawed to within 48-44 with 1:23 left in the game before ultimately falling 54-47.
Falling in a 15-4 hole early, the Wildcats trailed all night, most of it by double-digits.
“We have a very, very, very long way to go on some fundamentals, rebounding, taking care of the ball. We knew their zone was going to pretty much make it a game of finding the holes. We weren’t going to be able to run some of our offensive sets for (Brayden Sipple). We knew it was going to be a grinder,” Blan head coach Adam Weber said. “But I was disappointed in how easy they were able to get offensive rebounds. I was frustrated with mental breakdowns like only having three guys (on the blocks during free throws).
“For a lot of these guys, this was their first varsity minute ever. This also was our fifth day on the floor after a two-week questionable quarantine.”
Weber was so frustrated by his team’s start that he called two timeouts in the first quarter, the first one coming 61 seconds into the game.
“We can have a plan. We can prep the plan for four days. Two posessions into it, the plan wasn’t even, I don’t want to even even say executed, it wasn’t even attempted,” he said. “So the timeout was to remind them ‘How are we off script 60 seconds into the game?’”
Blan’s largest deficit was 41-23 midway through the third period. Bryce Highlander’s three three-pointers in the back half of the third quarter kept the Spartans from running away with the game.
Highlander finished the game 15 points, all from behind the arc.
Highlander also hit a bomb from the volleyball line as part of the 12-1 Blanchester run to start the fourth quarter that cut the Wildcats’ 47-32 deficit to 48-44. Brayden Sipple, who finished with 26 points, scored the other nine, four of them on a pair of steals he converted on the other end.
“Bryce Highlander hit a couple threes, and we hadn’t seen the ball fall through the hoop much. That was definitely a momentum-shifter,” Weber said. “Brayden got some momentum a little bit. We were just hoping to stay there as long as we could and maybe a couple shots would fall. We couldn’t get them to fall or get an offensive rebound.”
The Spartans then salted the game away at the free-throw line down the stretch.
Nov 27, 2020
@Blanchester High School
Roger Bacon 54, Blanchester 47
RB (54) – Block 3-3-11, Tate 6-4-16, Brenner 3-6-13, Cromer 2-0-4, Goyette 2-4-8, Blanks 0-0-0, LaMarca 0-0-0, Hughes, 1-0-2, Tschida 0-0-0. Total 17-17-54. 3-point goals: 3 (Black 2, Brenner). FTM-FTA 17-32, 53 percent.
BHS (47) – Lucas 0-0-0, Highlander 5-0-15, Hartmann 1-0-3, Bra. Sipple 10-4-26, Heitzman 1-0-2, Bry. Sipple 0-1-1, Hogsett 0-0-0, McVey 0-0-0, Wilson 0-0-0. Total 17-5-47. 3-point goals: 8 (Highlander 5, Sipple 2, Hartmann). FTM-FTA 5-9, 56 percent.
Shawn Robinson covers high school sports for the News Journal. Follow him on Twitter @twinzdad01.