BLANCHESTER — After nearly a month of trying to get its postponed game with Bethel-Tate rescheduled, Blanchester finally got its wish on Tuesday night.
Not only did Blanchester get one more home game to celebrate the seniors, but the Wildcats also put an exclamation point on an SBAAC National Division co-championship with a 69-59 win over the Tigers.
It is the first time in the post-consolidation era that Blanchester has won back-to-back league championships in boys basketball. The Wildcats won three straight Clinton County League titles from 1950 to 1952, including county league tournament championships in 1951 and 1952.
It wasn’t smooth sailing for the Wildcats (12-9 overall, 10-2 SBC National Division). Blanchester watched an 18-point second quarter lead evaporate into a four-point deficit with 3:22 left in the third quarter.
“Bethel-Tate is good — that’s why we wanted to play them,” BHS head coach Adam Weber said. “That’s why we wanted to finish it on the court. That’s why we wanted to play everyone that was on our schedule.”
As they have more often than not, the Wildcats found a way to make big shots when they needed them. Hunter Hartmann and Bryce Sipple hit back-to-back threes to start a 10-0 Blanchester run.
The rest of the run, as well as much of the night, was dominated by BHS senior Brayden Sipple. He finished with 43 points and 11 rebounds in his final high school basketball game.
Sipple finished his prep career with 2,485 points. He passed Middletown and Ohio State great Jerry Lucas for 12th on the OHSAA’s all-time scoring list. His next points will be scored at Cedarville University.
“He’s one of the best players in Ohio history,” Weber said of Sipple. “There’s no arguing that. I’ll be one of many making road trips to watch him play. He’s had such an impact on so many people.”
Hartmann finished with nine points and nine rebounds, while Bryce Highlander also had nine points. Those two, Sipple, Nolan Gray, Colton Wilson and Logan Heitzman wrapped up back-to-back league titles in their final game at BHS.
“Last year’s team was really good because of chemistry,” Weber said. “I wondered if we could develop that same chemistry. I think it was the second or third game of the year when we were making comebacks and hitting shots. I knew then the chemistry was as good, as we would be all right.”
Kyle Smith had a strong game for Bethel-Tate, scoring 27 points and seven rebounds. However, 24 of those points were scored in the first half. He was tasked with guarding Sipple in the second half due to foul trouble from other players. He had just three points on 1 of 7 shooting after halftime.
Tuesday, March 2, 2021
At Blanchester High School
Blanchester 69, Bethel-Tate 59
(59) BETHEL-TATE (fg-3fg-ft-tp) Kyle Smith 8-3-8-27, Cameron Snider 0-0-1-1, Ashton Wolfe 5-0-3-13, Jaxson Little 4-3-0-11, Austin Brookenthal 3-0-1-7. TOTALS 20-6-13-59.
(69) BLANCHESTER (fg-3fg-ft-tp) Bryce Sipple 1-1-0-3, Bryce Highlander 2-2-3-9, Hunter Hartmann 3-3-0-9, Gabe McVey 1-1-0-3, Brayden Sipple 12-2-17-43, Logan Heitzman 1-0-0-2. TOTALS 20-9-20-69.
FIELD GOALS: BT 20/45 (Smith 8/18, Wolfe 5/10); B 20/60 (Sipple 12/23)
3 POINT FIELD GOALS: BT 6/16 (Smith 3/6, Little 3/4); B 9/29 (Hartmann 3/10)
FREE THROWS: BT 13/23 (Smith 8/11); B 20/26 (Sipple 17/21, Highlander 3/4)
REBOUNDS: BT 36 (Brookenthal 13, Smith 7); B 36 (Sipple 11, Hartmann 9, McVey 4)
ASSISTS: BT 8 (Wolfe 5); B 9
STEALS: BT 1; B 8 (Heitzman 4)
BLOCKED SHOTS: BT 3; B 2
TURNOVERS: BT 12; B 4
Reach Mark Huber at 937-556-5765, via email email@example.com or on Twitter @wnjsports