BLANCHESTER — This time, there would be no buzzer-beating magic for the Wildcats.
At the end of an entertaining game Friday night, Blanchester’s last-ditch effort to tie the game at the buzzer fell short, and Aiken escaped with a 63-60 win at BHS.
“I’m proud of my guys,” BHS head coach Adam Weber said. “They played their hearts out.”
After watching Brayden Sipple score 18 points in the first half, Aiken locked him down in the second half, double-teaming him on key late possessions. Jakada Stone also did his part to keep the Wildcats from getting the ball to Sipple.
The game was tied at 54 with 2:33 left. Koraun Purdue scored with 2:01 left to give Aiken its first lead since the second quarter.
Missed free throws by the Wildcats allowed Aiken to push the lead to four, 61-57, with 25.5 left. Blanchester made just three of its last nine from the free-throw line.
Bryce Highlander buried a three with 15.2 left to pull the Wildcats within a point.
Stone was fouled and went to the line for the bonus. He missed the first, Sipple grabbed the rebound, and Blanchester took a timeout.
On the inbounds, Aiken double-teamed Sipple. The Wildcats turned it over at midcourt and were forced to foul Stone again.
The Aiken senior buried both free throws. Blanchester quickly pushed the ball into the frontcourt and took a timeout with 3.5 left, trailing 63-60.
Sipple inbounded the ball, but Blan wasn’t able to get it back to him. A desperation three attempt hit the side of the backboard, and Aiken picked up the win.
“I feel like we should have won this one,” Weber said. “We just needed some better decisions on some of those breakouts in their press.”
Stone led the Falcons with 21 points. Robbie Cass added 20 points. Purdue had a double-double with 12 points and 10 rebounds.
“Aiken is a very athletic team,” Weber said. “They have two lights-out shooters and they’re huge on the glass. With some critical road league games looming, we’ll take this kind of outing.”
Sipple’s 25 points led the Wildcats. He also had 15 rebounds. The 25 points give him 2,157 points in his career. He passed Port William’s Don Fields (2,135 career points) for second on the Clinton County all-time scoring list. He needs 252 points to pass Wilmington’s Jarron Cumberland for first all-time.
Friday, Jan. 8, 2021
At Blanchester High School
Aiken 63, Blanchester 60
(63) AIKEN (fg-3fg-ft-tp) Jakada Stone 7-3-4-21, Robbie Cass 7-4-2-20, Lebraun Berry 1-0-1-3, Chance Davis 0-0-2-2, Tyriq Grey 1-1-0-3, Langston Lee 1-0-0-2, Koraun Purdue 5-0-2-12. TOTALS 22-8-11-63.
(60) BLANCHESTER (fg-3fg-ft-tp) Brison Lucas 4-0-3-11, Bryce Highlander 2-2-1-7, Hunter Hartmann 4-0-0-8, Brayden Sipple 9-3-4-25, Colton Wilson 1-0-0-2, Logan Heitzman 3-0-1-7. TOTALS 23-5-9-60.
FIELD GOALS: A 22/57 (Stone 7/16, Cass 7/20, Purdue 5/5); B 23/59 (Sipple 9/25, Lucas 4/7, Hartmann 4/9)
3 POINT FIELD GOALS: A 8/26 (Cass 4/12, Stone 3/7); B 5/21 (Sipple 3/8)
FREE THROWS: A 11/19 (Stone 4/5); B 9/17 (Sipple 4/4, Lucas 3/4)
REBOUNDS: A 35 (Berry 13, Purdue 10); B 44 (Sipple 15, Heitzman 7)
ASSISTS: A 6 (Stone 3); B 8 (Highlander 3)
STEALS: A 11 (Purdue 3); B 3
BLOCKED SHOTS: A 3 (Purdue 2); B 2
TURNOVERS: A 11; B 17
Matt Sexton covers high school sports for the News Journal. Follow him on Twitter @MattSextonPxP.