FELICITY — For the second straight meeting, Felicity guard Dominic Ruwe had a monster game against Blanchester.
For the second straight meeting, it was not enough.
Quenton Miller’s three with 1:52 remaining gave Blanchester the lead for good Friday night, as the Wildcats defeated the Cardinals 61-56 in Southern Buckeye Athletic & Academic Conference National Division action.
After two frustrating losses to open the season, head coach Adam Weber saw his team close the game strong to secure the victory.
“Players made plays … you talk about wins and coming from behind, you’ve got to make plays,” Weber said. “The last two games, we were struggling. Tonight, we made progress there. I’m really proud of them.”
After a first quarter that appeared to signal a high-scoring game, it was as if Quenton Miller’s 50-foot buzzer beater at the end of the period brought that type of game to an abrupt halt.
The final three quarters were a grind, led by Ruwe in white and Quenton and Dylan Miller in blue. Blanchester trailed by one entering the fourth.
BHS trailed by three with 4:18 left. Jordan Stroud, who spent much of the first half on the bench in foul trouble, hit a shot to pull the Wildcats within a point.
After two Dylan Miller free throws, Stroud picked off a Felicity pass near midcourt and drove in for the score. Blanchester led 51-48 with 3:02 left.
Felicity (2-2, 0-1 SBC) would respond. Two free throws by Dalton Cochran and a basket by Jared Boeckmann gave the Cardinals a 52-51 lead with 2:04 left.
Quenton Miller answered, burying a three to put the Wildcats up 54-52. Blanchester iced the game at the free throw line, making seven in the final 1:33 for the win.
Blanchester held Felicity to just 26 percent shooting in the first half.
“There was more of a will to win,” Weber said. “We were getting out to shooters a little bit faster. There was a little bit more determination on defense and I think it was having an effect on their ability to get easy looks.”
Dylan Miller led Blanchester (1-2, 1-0 SBC) with 20 points, 6 rebounds and 5 assists. Quenton Miller added 18 points, 6 rebounds and 3 assists.
Weber said both were fueled by the two season-opening losses.
“They had a bad taste in their mouth,” Weber said. “I think they had enough, and they were going to find a way to win the game. They had a very loud group of teammates behind them. I think that helped, because the last two games we were missing that.”
Ruwe led all scorers with 29. He also had 6 assists and 6 rebounds. Ruwe, Cochran, and Boeckmann scored all 56 Felicity points.
“Hats off to Felicity,” Weber said. “The league better wake up. They do have a good basketball club. They’ve got a nice player in Ruwe that’s a handful to try to contain.”
Friday, Dec. 9, 2016
At Felicity High School
Blanchester 61, Felicity 56
(61) BLANCHESTER (fg-3fg-ft-tp) Nick Hopkins 2-1-1-6, Quenton Miller 7-3-1-18, Dylan Miller 5-3-7-20, Jacob Burden 1-0-0-2, Harbor Lovin 1-0-2-4, Jordan Stroud 3-0-1-7, JD Wiederhold 2-0-0-4. TOTALS 21-7-12-61.
(56) FELICITY (fg-3fg-ft-tp) Dalton Cochran 3-2-0-8, Dominic Ruwe 10-1-8-29, Jared Boeckmann 5-5-4-19. TOTALS 18-8-12-56.
FIELD GOALS: B 21/56 (Q. Miller 7/11, D. Miller 5/18, Stroud 3/8); F 18/48 (Ruwe 10/22, Boeckmann 5/14, Cochran 3/4)
3 POINT FIELD GOALS: B 7/23 (Q. Miller 3/6, D. Miller 3/12); F 8/22 (Boeckmann 5/11)
FREE THROWS: B 12/21 (D. Miller 7/8); F 12/16 (Ruwe 12/16)
REBOUNDS: B 43 (Wiederhold 13, Q. Miller 6, D. Miller 6, Stroud 6); F 30 (Cochran 7, Ruwe 6, Glassmeyer 5)
ASSISTS: B 14 (D. Miller 5, Q. Miller 3); F 8 (Ruwe 6)
STEALS: B 9 (Hopkins 4); F 10 (Boeckmann 4)
BLOCKED SHOTS: B 5 (Wiederhold 4, Q. Miller 1); F 0
TURNOVERS: B 14; F 13
Matt Sexton covers high school sports for the News Journal. Follow him on Twitter @bymattsexton