CINCINNATI — The third seed in the Cincinnati Division III sectional draw looked every bit the part Wednesday night as CHCA cruised to a 90-57 win over Blanchester.
Blanchester (11-9) got as close as three points, 18-15, with 2:25 left in the first quarter. CHCA (16-3) outscored Blanchester 38-13 over the final 10:25 of the first half.
Normally losing by 33 on the road would make for a tough night. Thanks to the Clermont Northeastern Rockets, it was a great night for the Wildcats.
CNE upset Georgetown 57-52, meaning Blanchester (9-2) and the G-Men (9-2) are tied atop the SBC National Division standings with one game left each. Both teams still have to play Bethel-Tate. Blanchester gets the Tigers at home, while the G-Men will face them in Bethel.
It was a rare celebration after a blowout loss.
“We finished the game and we’re changing in the bleachers and (BHS athletic director Brad) Ballinger had the game on his phone,” BHS head coach Adam Weber said. “The kids are climbing the bleachers wanting to find out what’s going on. When the game ended the kids erupted in celebrations. Some of the CHCA fans even joined in.”
While Blanchester has had some daring escapes — including the late comeback Saturday against Williamsburg, Weber knew his team had to keep holding serve to keep the pressure on Georgetown.
Bryce Highlander’s three capped the Wildcat rally Saturday and kept them alive in the league race.
“At Williamsburg, I thought we had screwed up,” Weber said. “I thought we gave it away. How big is that Bryce Highlander three now?”
Knowing Georgetown still had road games at CNE and Bethel, Weber knew Blanchester still had a chance.
“In the back of my mind, knowing they had to go to CNE and Bethel – two of the toughest places to play, I knew it was going to be tough,” Weber said.
Hunter Hartmann had an excellent game for Blanchester, leading the way with 19 points and eight rebounds. Brayden Sipple was held to just eight points on 3 of 12 shooting. CHCA forced 23 Blanchester turnovers.
Eric Rakestraw led a balanced Eagle attack with 24 points. Jake Fisher added 19 points while Johnathan Stokes had 13. Jack Vogele was the fourth in double figures with 10.
“We hadn’t practiced in three days and faced a 1-3-1 zone that they play better than about anybody,” Weber said. “It definitely had an impact on our ability to make decisions that were so rushed at times.”
Blanchester opens tournament play at 2:30 p.m. Saturday Mason High School against Fenwick, the team that ended the Wildcats’ season last year.
Wednesday, Feb. 17, 2021
At Cincinnati Hills Christian Academy
CHCA 90, Blanchester 57
(57) BLANCHESTER (fg-3fg-ft-tp) Bryce Sipple 3-0-2-8, Bryce Highlander 2-2-0-6, Hunter Hartmann 8-3-0-19, Nolan Gray 2-1-0-5, Gabe McVey 1-0-1-3, Brayden Sipple 3-0-2-8, Colton Wilson 2-1-0-5, Logan Heitzman 1-0-1-3. TOTALS 22-7-6-57.
(90) CINCINNATI HILLS CHRISTIAN (fg-3fg-ft-tp) Malachi White 1-0-4-6, Jonathan Stokes 4-3-2-13, Jake Fisher 7-4-1-19, Matthew Wyant 0-0-2-2, Eric Rakestraw 8-0-8-24, Ryan Matthison 2-0-0-4, Jack Vogele 4-0-2-10, Aaron Plum 1-0-1-3, Ian Salkil 2-0-0-4, Morgan Sacay 1-0-0-2, Eric Parker 1-1-0-3. TOTALS 31-8-20-90.
FIELD GOALS: B 22/54 (Hartmann 8/15); C 31/69 (Rakestraw 8/13, Fisher 7/10)
3 POINT FIELD GOALS: B 7/26 (Hartmann 3/9); C 8/26 (Fisher 4/6)
FREE THROWS: B 6/12; C 20/25 (Rakestraw 8/10)
REBOUNDS: B 35 (Hartmann 8, Bra. Sipple 6, Heitzman 6); C 43 (Vogele 6, Plum 5)
ASSISTS: B 8 (Wilson 3); C 11 (MacEachen 3)
STEALS: B 5; C 15 (Rakestraw 3)
BLOCKED SHOTS: B 4 (Bra. Sipple 3); C 0
TURNOVERS: B 23; C 10
Matt Sexton covers high school sports for the News Journal. Follow him on Twitter @MattSextonPxP.