BLANCHESTER — Coming off of its first loss of the season — and a blowout loss at that — Blanchester girls basketball coach Bennie Carroll wasn’t sure how his team would respond in Thursday’s game against Clermont Northeastern.
His team responded by forcing 39 Lady Rocket turnovers in a 54-35 win over Clermont Northeastern.
After losing by 40 Monday against the Spartans, Carroll was pleased with how his team bounced back against the Rockets.
“Other than the Massie game last year, which was the last game of the year, it’s been a while since we got smacked like we got smacked on Monday night,” Carroll said. “I wasn’t really sure how they would respond. I was very pleased with that.
“They came out and fought. They didn’t put their head down and worry about it.”
After leading by just seven, 23-16, with 1:36 left in the first half, Blanchester (5-1, 2-0 SBC) outscored its National Division rival 29-7 over the next 13:01 to put the game away. Blanchester led by as many as 29 points.
During the middle two quarters when Blanchester outscored CNE 34-16, the Ladycats shot 42 percent from the floor while holding the Lady Rockets to just 5 of 16 shooting. CNE committed 20 turnovers in those two quarters, including 13 in the third quarter.
“We fought hard defensively,” Carroll said. “We were running people in and out and kept the pressure on them. I think that began to wear on them after a while.”
Thanks to the smothering defense, Blanchester had 59 shot attempts to just 28 for Clermont Northeastern.
“Offensively, we have to get something off of our defense,” Carroll said. “We were able to do that. I thought we did a nice job of moving the ball. We took care of the ball better. I thought we did a nice job looking up the floor in transition, passing it ahead and getting some easy opportunities.”
Dakota Watters led a balanced Blanchester offense with 12 points. Emma Gundler scored nine points while Elicia Patton had eight points.
Olivia Bricker led CNE (2-4, 0-2) with 12 points.
Blanchester’s next big test comes Monday with a trip to Williamsburg. Williamsburg defeated Georgetown 57-31 Thursday evening to improve to 6-0.
“They’re really talented,” Carroll said. “They can put five girls out there that are all very skilled. That makes it a little harder to press them and turn them over.”
Also, on Dec. 22, Blanchester will host Fayetteville in a varsity only matchup beginning at 6 p.m.
December 15, 2016
At Blanchester High School, Blanchester, Ohio
Blanchester 54, Clermont Northeastern 35
(35) CLERMONT NORTHEASTERN (fg-3fg-ft-tp) Kassi Billow 2-0-3-7, Hannah Hoerth 0-0-1-1, Mackenzie Reece 0-0-2-2, Andrea Johnson 1-0-2-4, Olivia Bricker 5-0-2-12, Leah Decatur 0-0-1-1, Kylie Dollenmeyer 3-0-2-8. TOTALS 11-0-13-35.
(54) BLANCHESTER (fg-3fg-ft-tp) Asia Baldwin 2-0-0-4, Elicia Patton 3-1-1-8, Olivia Gundler 3-0-0-6, Merri Lindsey 1-1-0-3, Emma Gundler 3-0-3-9, McKenzie Miller 1-0-2-4, Regan Ostermeier 1-0-0-2, Savana Greene 2-0-0-4, Dakota Watters 6-0-0-12, Josie Farrow 1-0-0-2. TOTALS 23-2-6-54.
FIELD GOALS: C 11/28 (Bricker 5/9, Dollenmeyer 3/4); B 23/59 (Watters 6/9, Patton 3/10, Gundler 3/7, Gundler 3/9)
3 POINT FIELD GOALS: C 0/0; B 2/7 (Patton 1/4, Lindsey 1/2)
FREE THROWS: C 13/25 (Billow 3/5); B 6/15 (E. Gundler 3/6)
TURNOVERS: C 39; B 22
Matt Sexton covers high school sports for the News Journal. Follow him on Twitter @bymattsexton