BLANCHESTER — East Clinton rebounded from a tough loss earlier in the week with a 62-31 win Thursday night at Blanchester in SBAAC National Division girls basketball action.
The game was originally scheduled to be played on Jan. 21, but when both the Astros and Wildcats lost games with teams that had been paused due to the pandemic, the game was moved to Thursday.
East Clinton (5-5 overall, 2-3 SBC National) lost a tough 61-59 game against Bethel-Tate on Monday, but bounced back by forcing 27 Blanchester turnovers and outrebounding Blanchester 25-12 on the offensive boards.
“I think we did play well defensively,” EC head coach Bill Bean said. “We bounced back and played hard. This group always plays hard. I thought everybody contributed. Those are nice numbers. Twenty-five offensive rebounds … it’s nice to get them.”
Blanchester (1-7 overall, 0-6 SBC National) only trailed by seven after the first quarter, and by just 12 at the break. East Clinton led 30-20 with 6:30 left in the third. A 12-3 Astro run over the next 4:45 put the game out of reach.
Libby Evanshine led the Astros with 19 points, four rebounds and three steals. The sophomore guard was fifth in the SBC National Division in scoring entering Thursday’s contest.
“She’s only a sophomore but she is a leader,” Bean said. “The kids respond to her. She leads by example. When she gets it going, everybody steps their play up a little bit to her level.”
Katrina Bowman added 14 points, four rebounds and four steals for the Astros.
“They’ve got a nice roster and they’re young too,” BHS head coach Bradon Pyle said. “That’s a problem for the SBC. Evanshine is a great playe, and she’s got a nice cast around her.”
For Blanchester, Daelyn Staehling led the way with eight points and seven rebounds. Ainsley Whitaker had 10 rebounds to go with six points.
Blanchester struggled against the trapping defense. The Wildcats were missing starting guards Lana Roy and Grace Irwin due to injury.
“The last time we played them, we knew they were going to come out in that trapping press, and we broke it pretty easily,” Pyle said. “We’re down 12 at halftime, and six to eight of those points are off that press.”
The Astros have persevered and succeeded in the face of serious adversity. Not only are the Astros still grieving the sudden passing of head basketball coach Jeff Craycraft, but they have battled through a two-week quarantine and a separate 17-day break in the schedule in December.
Nevertheless, the players and coaches continue to challenge the teams at the top of the SBC National Division standings.
“They’ve been through a lot of adversity,” Bean said. “The quarantine at the beginning of the year … that puts you behind. I feel like we’re still trying to catch up. It says something about these kids. We’re not going to use what has happened as an excuse, but that weighs on a kid.
“They’re a very hard-working bunch of girls. I’m proud of them.”
Thursday, Jan. 7, 2021
At Blanchester High School
East Clinton 62, Blanchester 31
(62) EAST CLINTON (fg-3fg-ft-tp) Jordan Collom 4-1-0-9, Megan Tong 1-0-0-2, Libby Evanshine 6-0-7-19, Katrina Bowman 6-2-0-14, Lauren Runyon 2-0-1-5, Gracie Evanshine 1-0-0-2, Kelsi Lilly 0-0-4-4, Jayden Murphy 1-1-0-3, Gracie Boggs 2-0-0-4. TOTALS 23-4-12-62.
(31) BLANCHESTER (fg-3fg-ft-tp) Emma Winemiller 3-1-0-7, Kaylee Coyle 1-0-0-2, Olivia Potts 1-0-2-4, Ainsley Whitaker 3-0-0-6, Maddie Pohlman 1-0-0-2, Shelbie Panetta 1-0-0-2, Daelyn Staehling 3-0-2-8. TOTALS 13-1-4-31.
FIELD GOALS: EC 23/70 (L. Evanshine 6/15, Bowman 6/12, Collom 4/8); B 13/43 (Staehling 3/5, Whitaker 3/7, Winemiller 3/10)
3 POINT FIELD GOALS: EC 4/28 (Bowman 2/7); B 1/14
FREE THROWS: EC 12/17 (L. Evanshine 7/8); B 4/9
REBOUNDS: EC 46 (Runyon 9, G. Evanshine 8, Lilly 5, L. Evanshine 4, Bowman 4, Murphy 4); B 37 (Whitaker 10, Staehling 7, Wells 5)
ASSISTS: EC 10 (G. Evanshine 3); B 7 (Potts 3)
STEALS: EC 17 (Collom 4, Bowman 4); B 3
BLOCKED SHOTS: EC 2 (Runyon 2); B 3 (Winemiller 2, Panetta 1)
TURNOVERS: EC 7; B 27
Matt Sexton covers high school sports for the News Journal. Follow him on Twitter @MattSextonPxP.