BATAVIA — After watching his team get outmuscled at home against Bethel-Tate, BHS head coach Adam Weber knew an even more physical challenge awaited his team Tuesday in Batavia.
His team answered the challenge physically, but a late third quarter run by the Bulldogs proved too much to overcome in a 57-51 Batavia win.
“I was very happy with our fight and our toughness,” Weber said. “We were in there on every play. You’ve just got to give Batavia credit. They’re a very strong team.”
Blanchester (6-5) led 38-33 with 3:36 left in the third. The Bulldogs would force six Blanchester turnovers in the third, most of which came during the 12-0 run to end the quarter.
As the third quarter ended, Batavia had turned a five-point deficit into a 45-38 lead.
The Wildcats would respond to start the fourth. Jordan Stroud, who Weber praised for his efforts after the game, scored the first four points of the fourth.
After a Quenton Miller free throw, Blanchester had cut the deficit to two, 45-43, with 6:38 left.
Batavia (8-3) would answer with four straight points by Cole Maxson. Blanchester came back with a Dylan Miller free throw and a Stroud three. Blanchester trailed 49-47 with 2:22 left.
Following a missed Batavia three, the Bulldogs got one of their 16 offensive rebounds. Conner Gadbury would bury a corner three with 1:50 left, and the Bulldog lead was back to five, 52-47.
After a Stroud free throw cut the Blanchester deficit to four, the Wildcats sent Gadbury to the line for two free throws.
Gadbury missed both with 1:00 left, but got his own offensive rebound and scored. Batavia led by six and would hang on from there.
“Any time the opposing team can get an offensive rebound on a free throw, that’s a huge blow to your momentum,” Weber said. “The kid is a very strong kid and just made his way to the ball.”
Dylan Miller led Blanchester with 17 points. Stroud added 16 points. Gadbury led Batavia with 16.
Nevertheless, it was the type of effort Weber was looking for after a tough loss to Bethel-Tate.
“Do we have the toughness it takes to win a championship and be what we think we should be, or are we just going to beat the teams that are weaker than us?” Weber said. “I felt like we proved … you’re never happy with a loss but there are some things to build on.”
Blanchester returns home Friday for a National Division showdown with Georgetown.
“I know Georgetown will be ready to fight,” Weber said. “We’ve got to go back home and redeem our fans’ excitement.”
January 10, 2017
@Batavia High School
Batavia 57, Blanchester 51
(51) BLANCHESTER (fg-3fg-ft-tp) Blake Baker 1-1-0-3, Nick Hopkins 3-1-0-7, Quenton Miller 1-1-1-4, Dylan Miller 4-1-8-17, Harbor Lovin 1-0-0-2, Jordan Stroud 5-2-4-16, JD Wiederhold 1-0-0-2. TOTALS 16-6-13-51.
(57) BATAVIA (fg-3fg-ft-tp) Logan Richardson 2-1-0-5, Jake Knechtly 1-1-0-3, Conner Gadbury 6-4-0-16, Will Scaggs 1-1-0-3, Collin Sammons 0-0-4-4, Cole Maxson 4-0-3-11, Spencer Fluegel 2-1-0-5, Garrett Kraus 5-0-0-10. TOTALS 21-8-7-57.
REBOUNDS: B 26 (Wiederhold 8, Hopkins 7, Stroud 5)
ASSISTS: B 2
STEALS: B 3
BLOCKED SHOTS: B 5 (Wiederhold 4)
Matt Sexton covers high school sports for the News Journal. Follow him on Twitter @bymattsexton