OWENSVILLE — An exasperated Adam Weber wondered late in the third quarter whether his Blanchester Wildcats would make it out of Clermont Northeastern High School with a win.
Thanks to a late third quarter sequence and a fourth quarter offensive explosion, Weber’s team answered emphatically.
After scoring just 18 points in the first half, Blanchester outscored CNE 20-2 in the fourth quarter alone to turn a two-point lead into a 54-34 rout of the Rockets in Southern Buckeye Athletic & Academic Conference action Friday night.
Two things happened late in the third quarter. The Wildcats finally got CNE’s Grant Fishback off the floor and the Rockets ran out of gas.
“It came down to conditioning,” Weber said. “They were tired and we were not.”
With 28 seconds left in the third and Blanchester leading 31-30, Fishback was whistled for his third foul. In the immediate aftermath, he waived at the official under the basket to show is disapproval.
An official behind the play immediately whistled Fishback for a technical foul. It was his fourth personal of the game and he would head to the bench.
“I was really proud that our guys kept their cool when things got a little bit chippy,” Weber said.
With Fishback and his seven rebounds and five blocks on the bench, Blanchester was finally able to find some open space inside.
“When (Fishback) came out of the game, that really cleared some space for us,” Weber said. “I have to give him credit. He was unbelievable around the rim.”
Blan (2-2, 2-0 SBCN) moved the ball with precision in the fourth quarter, picking up 6 assists on 9 of 13 shooting from the floor. Meanwhile, CNE (1-2, 0-2) managed just 1 of 13 shooting in the fourth quarter.
The finish of the game was far different than the start. Blanchester missed its first eight shots, made just 6 of 33 shots from the floor and had Quenton Miller and Jordan Stroud on the bench with three fouls.
Yet somehow, the Wildcats were down just three at the intermission. The Wildcats got important minutes out of Blake Baker and Jacob Burden when the game was in the balance.
“We have people that can do the job when their number is called,” Weber said. “They’ve done a good job keeping their heart in the game. It pays off.”
Dylan Miller led Blanchester with 18 points. He also had 10 rebounds, 4 assists and 2 steals. Nick Hopkins added 15 points and 8 rebounds.
Chris Coleman led the Rockets with 15 points and 8 rebounds. Fishback finished with 7 points, 7 rebounds and 5 blocked shots.
Blanchester will play its third straight road SBC National Division matchup Tuesday night at Williamsburg. A win Tuesday would give the Wildcats a 3-0 mark in the division, all on the road.
“The good thing is we’ll have three road critical league games out of the way,” Weber said. “We’ve got to hope that will bode well for us the second half of the season.”
Friday, December 16, 2016
@Clermont Northeastern High School
Blanchester 54, Clermont Northeastern 34
(54) BLANCHESTER (fg-3fg-ft-tp) Frank Guy 1-0-0-2, Blake Baker 1-0-0-2, Nick Hopkins 5-1-4-15, Quenton Miller 3-0-0-6, Dylan Miller 6-2-4-18, Harbor Lovin 1-0-1-3, Jordan Stroud 2-0-2-6, JD Wiederhold 1-0-0-2. TOTALS 20-3-11-54.
(34) CLERMONT NORTHEASTERN (fg-3fg-ft-tp) Jimmy Camacho 1-0-0-2, Ryan Martin 0-0-1-1, Dylan Jones 1-1-0-3, Kyle Dean 2-2-0-6, Chris Coleman 4-0-7-15, Grant Fishback 3-1-0-7. TOTALS 11-4-8-34.
FIELD GOALS: B 20/63 (D. Miller 6/20, Hopkins 5/7, Q. Miller 3/9); C 11/47 (Coleman 4/16, Fishback 3/6)
3 POINT FIELD GOALS: B 3/15 (D. Miller 2/8); C 4/14 (Dean 2/5)
FREE THROWS: B 11/21 (D. Miller 4/6, Hopkins 4/5); C 8/15 (Coleman 7/9)
REBOUNDS: B 53 (D. Miller 10, Hopkins 8, Stroud 8, Wiederhold 8, Baker 6); C 34 (Coleman 8, Fishback 7)
ASSISTS: B 14 (Q. Miller 4, D. Miller 4); C 6 (Coleman 3)
STEALS: B 5 (D. Miller 2); C 3
BLOCKED SHOTS: B 2; C 8 (Fishback 5, Coleman 3)
TURNOVERS: B 10; C 12
Matt Sexton covers high school sports for the News Journal. Follow him on Twitter @bymattsexton