RIPLEY — Blanchester’s second game this season against a team from the Bluegrass state produced the Wildcats’ most complete performance.
From the opening tip, Blanchester overwhelmed Augusta Independent School on both ends of the floor. The Wildcats scored the first eight points and never looked back in a 65-45 victory Thursday night.
There would be no wading into this game for a Wildcat team that had fallen behind 13-2 Wednesday night to Ripley.
“We were very focused and I think that was a big difference,” BHS head coach Adam Weber said. “I think there was a little bit of a chip on our shoulder for us to try to win this game our way instead of their way.”
Weber thought it could be a grind-it-out game, but Blanchester’s big early lead kept the Panther from being able to slow the game down.
“We left (Wednesday) night a little bit more determined,” Weber said. “We talked about leaving Ripley with there not being any doubt who deserved to be 2-0. I think that was the biggest thing – the mindset coming into the game.”
Dylan Miller scored the first four points in the first minute. Nick Hopkins would get the next four, and Blanchester led 8-0 with 4:48 left in the opening quarter.
As the first quarter buzzer sounded, Miller buried a three to give Blanchester a 19-7 lead.
The intensity on both ends continued for Blanchester in the second quarter. The Wildcats (5-3) shot 52.2 percent (12 of 23) in the first half.
Meanwhile, Augusta struggled from the floor, making just 6 of 33 shots (18.2 percent) in the first half. Blanchester led 30-14 at halftime.
While Blan cooled a bit in the third, they outpaced the Panthers 17-10 in the third to take a 47-24 lead into the fourth. Augusta shot just 9 of 45 (20 percent) through three quarters.
“We saw a lot more sharing of the ball and a lot more discipline on defense,” Weber said. “We knew we could get numbers by running hard. That’s what I’ve been hoping to see all season”
Dylan Miller, who was named to the all-tournament team, led Blanchester for a second straight night with 18 points. JD Wiederhold also earned a spot on the all-tourney team with a 10-point performance. Ten different Wildcats scored.
Weber said the way his team is playing is driving their excitement toward the work that needs to be done in practice.
“We just broke in the locker room, and they’re excited about 10 a.m. (Friday),” Weber said. “That’s always very pleasing if you’re a coach.”
Jared Shoemaker led all scorers with 23 points.The fact that he played at all is nearly miraculous. He was involved in an accident April 26 on Kentucky 8. According to the Maysville Ledger Independent, he was ejected from the vehicle and sustained life-threatening injuries.
Not only has he returned, but he has been the leading scorer for the 6-6 Panthers.
December 29, 2016
@Ripley-ULH High School
Blanchester 65, Augusta (Ky.) 45
(45) AUGUSTA (fg-3fg-ft-tp) Camden Johnson 1-1-1-4, Stephen Cordle 3-0-2-8, Preston Philpot 4-0-0-8, Jared Shoemaker 8-2-5-23, Dylan Glaser, 1-0-0-2. TOTALS 17-3-8-45.
(65) BLANCHESTER (fg-3fg-ft-tp) Eric Patton 1-0-0-2, Blake Baker 2-1-3-8, Nick Hopkins 2-0-2-6, Quenton Miller 3-0-1-7, Dylan Miller 7-3-1-18, Jacob Burden 1-0-0-2, Harbor Lovin 1-0-0-2, Jordan Stroud 4-0-0-8, Wesley Mitchell 0-0-2-2, JD Wiederhold 5-0-0-10. TOTALS 26-4-9-65.
FIELD GOALS: A 17/62 (Shoemaker 8/17, Philpot 4/10, Cordle 3/11); B 26/56 (D. Miller 7/14, Wiederhold 5/8, Stroud 4/9, Q. Miller 3/8)
3 POINT FIELD GOALS: A 3/19 (Shoemaker 2/4); B 4/12 (D. Miller 3/5)
FREE THROWS: A 8/13 (Shoemaker 5/5); B 9/12 (Baker 3/4)
REBOUNDS: B 29 (Hopkins 6, Lovin 6, Wiederhold 5)
ASSISTS: B 7 (D. Miller 2, Hopkins 2, Q. Miller 2)
STEALS: B 13 (Hopkins 4, D. Miller 2, Stroud 2, Baker 2)
BLOCKED SHOTS: B 4 (Wiederhold 3, Q. Miller 1)
TURNOVERS: A 18; B 18
Matt Sexton covers high school sports for the News Journal. Follow him on Twitter @bymattsexton