BLANCHESTER — Twenty minutes. That’s how long East Clinton’s boys basketball team had on Monday to put in a defense to stop Brayden Sipple and the Blanchester Wildcats.
It turned out that 20 minutes was all they needed.
East Clinton dominated Blanchester from start to finish Tuesday night, defeating the Wildcats 72-53 at BHS.
“We didn’t have a lot of time to prepare,” EC head coach Phil Shori said. “We only had Monday to prepare, and we got thrown out of our gym for a middle school game at 4:30. So we practiced for an hour and 30 minutes. We put in our defense in 20 minutes.”
East Clinton outscored Blanchester 23-13 in the first quarter and was never threatened the rest of the game.
“I keep telling everyone it’s their heart,” Shori said. “They just don’t stop. I don’t know. I just don’t know anymore. I’m out of answers. That’s just what they do.”
Dakota Collom led the Astros with 29 points and six rebounds on 10 of 16 from the floor. The Astro sophomore guard had 21 of those 29 in the first half as East Clinton opened a 38-27 lead at the break.
Shori found out when he arrived at East Clinton what Collom was all about.
“When I got hired in, he interviewed me,” Shori said. “It was my first day and I was going to walk in to interview, and he just sat there in the office and asked me a bunch of questions. Not many kids are going to do that.
“I knew from day one how good he wants to be. It’s not going to surprise me how good he gets.”
Blanchester got to within 11 in the first minute of the fourth quarter, but the Astros put the game away with a 13-1 run.
Branson Smith added 16 points and four assists, while Quinten Tolle had 14 points and 11 rebounds.
“We were not in the same building with East Clinton,” BHS head coach Adam Weber said. “They wanted every rebound more … every loose ball more and they got it. They wanted to score easily, and they did.”
Brayden Sipple finished with 21 points and nine rebounds. He now has 2,358 career points, 50 behind Jarron Cumberland for first all-time in Clinton County history. He moved up to 21st all-time in OHSAA history. He is 12 points behind Matt Witt of Tipp City Bethel for 20th.
Shori said the key was to try to stop the Wildcats’ leading scorer.
“In the first game, it was anybody but him,” Shori said. “Coming into this game, it was if we stop (Sipple), we stop them all. Our two guys, Quinten Tolle and Jared Smith, did a phenomenal job doing their job.
“You could tell they wanted it. Branson was with me in the days leading in, saying, ‘Can we get them?’ I said, ‘I believe. Do you think we can get them?’
With the loss, Blanchester falls out of a first-place tie with the Georgetown G-Men in the SBC National Division. Georgetown now controls its own fate in the league standings.
Tuesday, Jan. 26, 2021
At Blanchester High School
East Clinton 72, Blanchester 53
(72) EAST CLINTON (fg-3fg-ft-tp) Branson Smith 6-2-2-16, Dakota Collom 10-2-7-29, Jared Smith 1-0-0-2, Landon Runyon 2-2-3-9, Quinten Tolle 4-0-6-14, Justin Arnold 1-0-0-2. TOTALS 24-6-18-72.
(53) BLANCHESTER (fg-3fg-ft-tp) Brison Lucas 2-0-1-5, Bryce Highlander 2-2-0-6, Hunter Hartmann 3-3-0-9, Brayden Sipple 8-1-4-21, Colton Wilson 1-1-3-6, Logan Heitzman 2-0-2-6. TOTALS 18-7-10-53.
FIELD GOALS: EC 24/50 (Collom 10/16, B. Smith 6/12, Tolle 4/7); B 18/52 (Sipple 8/20)
3 POINT FIELD GOALS: EC 6/17; B 7/24 (Hartmann 3/5)
FREE THROWS: EC 18/24 (Collom 7/8, Tolle 6/8); B 10/15
REBOUNDS: EC 34 (Tolle 11, Collom 6, B. Smith 4); B 33 (Sipple 9, Highlander 6, Hartmann 5)
ASSISTS: EC 12 (Smith 4); B 8
STEALS: EC 8 (Collom 3, J. Smith 3); B 6
BLOCKED SHOTS: EC 1; B 0
TURNOVERS: EC 12; B 14
Matt Sexton covers high school sports for the News Journal. Follow him on Twitter @MattSextonPxP.