WILLIAMSBURG — Overcoming an 11-0 deficit to start the game is a tall order on the road against an unbeaten team.
Blanchester’s girls basketball team nearly pulled it off Monday night.
Trailing by as many at 15 in the second half, two scoring surges gave Blanchester the lead with 2:27 left. However, the unbeaten Williamsburg Wildcats would hold Blan to just two points over the final 2:27 to get a 54-48 win.
“For 25 minutes of that game, we played really well,” BHS head coach Bennie Caroll said. “The first five or six minutes of the game, we did not come ready to play, and the last two minutes we didn’t finish.
“Take that out, and in between there we played about as hard and as well as we can play.”
Blanchester (5-2, 2-1 SBC) led 46-44 and had a chance to take a two-possession lead. A long inbounds pass from Asia Baldwin connected with Emma Gundler, but Gundler was unable to convert the layup with 1:59 remaining.
It seemed as if Blanchester’s luck had run out.
“We had a two-point lead there, had an opportunity to go up four and didn’t convert,” Carroll said. “Then we made a few turnovers, a couple defensive lapses, didn’t get a rebound a couple times. The last two minutes, nothing went as planned.”
It didn’t look like Blanchester was going to be in a position to win late. Williamsburg (7-0, 3-0) led 32-17 with 7:08 left in the third.
Blanchester went on the first of two 12-2 runs in the second half. Baskets by Savana Greene, Emma Gundler, Olivia Gundler and Elicia Patton pulled Blan within 5, 34-29.
Williamsburg stretched the lead to 41-32 early in the fourth. Again Blan went on a 12-2 spurt. Two baskets by Emma Gundler, one by Olivia Gundler and another by Patton pulled Blan within three.
The Gundlers then hit four straight free throws — Emma first then Olivia — as Blanchester led for the first time 44-43 with 3:25 left. After a Williamsburg free throw, Asia Baldwin put Blan back on top 46-44 with 2:27 left.
However, Blan wouldn’t score again until two Dakota Watters free throws with 45 seconds left to pull within one, 49-48. They wouldn’t score again.
“We got down 15 early in the second half, we very easily could have folded the tent and gone on home,” Carroll said. “I’m proud of the girls. They played hard. We played as good in that game as some of the games we’ve won.”
Patton led Blanchester with 13 points. Baldwin and Emma Gundler each had 8, while Olivia Gundler had 7.
Peyton Fisher led Williamsburg with 18 points, while Jessica Chase added 11.
Blanchester returns to action Thursday against Fayetteville. There will be no reserve game, so the varsity game will start at 6 p.m. at Blanchester High School.
December 19, 2016
@Williamsburg High School
Williamsburg 54, Blanchester 48
(48) BLANCHESTER (fg-3fg-ft-tp) Asia Baldwin 2-0-4-8, Elicia Patton 5-2-1-13, Olivia Gundler 2-1-2-7, Merri Lindsey 2-2-0-6, Emma Gundler 3-0-2-8, Savana Greene 1-0-0-2, Dakota Watters 1-0-2-4. TOTALS 16-5-11-48.
(54) WILLIAMSBURG (fg-3fg-ft-tp) Hope Schaljo 1-0-0-2, Jessica Chase 2-1-6-11, Calie Brown 0-0-1-1, Peyton Fisher 6-2-4-18, Casey Conner 2-0-5-9, Emily Brown 1-0-1-3, Leslie Engle 1-0-1-3, Alexis Chase 1-0-5-7. TOTALS 14-3-23-54.
FIELD GOALS: B 16/53 (Patton 5/14, E. Gundler 3/9); W 14/55 (Fisher 6/16)
3 POINT FIELD GOALS: B 5/12 (Patton 2/7, Lindsey 2/3); W 3/16 (Fisher 2/9)
FREE THROWS: B 11/16 (Baldwin 4/6); W 23/37 (J. Chase 6/7, A. Chase 5/8, C. Conner 5/10, Fisher 4/4)
TURNOVERS: B 25; W 20
Matt Sexton covers high school sports for the News Journal. Follow him on Twitter @bymattsexton