RIPLEY — After a sleepy start, Blanchester put the hammer down on the hosts of the Battle of the Bridges.
Trailing 13-2 to start and 26-16 midway through the second quarter Wednesday night, Blanchester went on a 27-3 run on the way to a 53-44 victory over Ripley.
The run was similar to the 20-2 run that closed out Clermont Northeastern earlier this season.
“As much as I hate to admit it, I guess this is normal,” BHS head coach Adam Weber said. “Defensively we weren’t really clicking in the beginning and our aggressive tone was missing.”
Ripley had no answer offensively in the third quarter. Blanchester (4-3) outscored the Blue Jays 16-1. The host Jays were 0 of 15 from the floor in the quarter.
“At halftime, we talked about what Ripley was capable of,” Weber said. “Maybe we are a team that has to get their feet wet a little bit against an opponent. In the second half, it was a different defensive tone.”
For the game, Blanchester held Ripley to 26.2 percent (16 of 61) from the floor. The Blue Jays had just one field goal over a 14:06 stretch from the middle of the second quarter to early in the fourth.
“I thought we did a good job in the second half,” Weber said. “In the first half, we were flat-footed and not really aggressive.”
Meanwhile, the Wildcats overcame a tough start from the floor to shoot 52.5 percent (21 of 40).
“Something about hitting that third gear,” Weber said. “We stay in first and second. In third gear, they get more confident on what they can do at the basket. With the flow of the game, they seem to get more confident on what they’re able to get.”
Dylan Miller led Blanchester with 20 points. Jordan Stroud added 12 points. JD Wiederhold had 10 points and 8 rebounds.
Brian Dunn had a strong game for the Blue Jays (4-4). He had 17 points, 12 rebounds and 4 assists.
Blanchester will make the hour-long bus ride again Thursday for a 6 p.m. tip against Augusta (Ky.). Augusta defeated Felicity 48-41 in the game preceding Blanchester and Ripley.
After watching Augusta grind out a win against the Cardinals, Weber knows his team will have to be prepared to do the same Thursday.
“It’s going to be ugly,” Weber said. “Praying it’s not sloppy like the first half. I think it’s going to be a grinder. Anytime you play back-to-back and traveling over an hour … again, I think we have the advantage, but at the end of the day, you’ve got to play.”
Wednesday, Dec. 28, 2016
@Battle at the Bridges, Ripley High School
Blanchester 53, Ripley 44
(53) BLANCHESTER (fg-3fg-ft-tp) Blake Baker 0-0-2-2, Nick Hopkins 1-0-0-2, Quenton Miller 3-0-0-6, Dylan Miller 7-3-3-20, Harbor Lovin 0-0-1-1, Jordan Stroud 5-1-1-12, JD Wiederhold 5-0-0-10. TOTALS 21-4-7-53.
(44) RIPLEY (fg-3fg-ft-tp) Laymon Marshall 2-0-1-5, Brian Dunn 4-4-5-17, Dalton Moran 1-0-0-2, Ryan Harney 2-1-0-5, Alex King 1-0-0-2, Josiah Staggs 3-0-0-6, Jaki Royal 3-1-0-7. TOTALS 16-6-6-44.
FIELD GOALS: B 21/40 (D. Miller 7/12, Stroud 5/10, Wiederhold 5/7); R 16/61 (Dunn 4/9, Staggs 3/13, Royal 3/9)
3 POINT FIELD GOALS: B 4/11 (D. Miller 3/6); R 6/22 (Dunn 4/6)
FREE THROWS: B 7/15 (D. Miller 3/4); R 6/13 (Dunn 5/8)
REBOUNDS: B 37 (Wiederhold 8, Hopkins 7, D. Miller 5, Lovin 4, Q. Miller 4, Stroud 4); R 34 (Dunn 12, Staggs 4, Royal 3)
ASSISTS: B 10 (D. Miller 3, Stroud 3); R 9 (Dunn 4)
STEALS: B 8 (Q. Miller 2, Wiederhold 2); R 5
BLOCKED SHOTS: B 3; R 1
TURNOVERS: B 20; R 11
Matt Sexton covers high school sports for the News Journal. Follow him on Twitter @bymattsexton