BLANCHESTER — A sluggish start and a hot-shooting opponent proved to be a bad combination for the Blanchester boys basketball team.
Norwood shot 53 percent from the floor Tuesday night, which was good enough to hold off Blanchester 68-60.
“We made a valiant effort late in the game, but you start the game with two or three easy plays and you can’t find a way to make them,” BHS head coach Adam Weber said. “We’re missing some clutch performances and we’re starved for some leadership.”
Blanchester (6-7) started slow and had to play catch-up the rest of the game. The Wildcats had eight first-quarter turnovers helping Norwood to a 15-7 lead after one period.
“The turnovers changes the game dramatically,” Weber said. “I’ve got four seniors and a junior on the floor. It’s very frustrating for me.”
Offensively, Blanchester shot the ball well over the last three quarters, making 20 of 38 (52.6 percent).
However, the Indians (5-8) shot 58.8 percent (20 of 34) over the final three quarters.
Every time Blanchester would cut into its deficit, Norwood had an answer.
A 10-2 Wildcat run cut the Norwood lead to 24-19 with 2:55 left in the first half. The Indians responded with a 13-4 run to end the half to take a 37-23 lead into the break.
Blanchester scored the first seven points of the third quarter to cut the deficit to seven. However, Blan couldn’t get closer the rest of the third quarter, trailing 48-39 after three.
Norwood pushed its lead back to 14, 58-44, with 4:15 left. Free throws by JD Wiederhold and baskets by Jordan Stroud and Jacob Burden pulled the Wildcats within seven again, 58-51, with 2:53 left.
A three by Dylan Miller pulled Blanchester within four, 64-60. However, the Wildcats had just 18.2 seconds left and no timeouts.
The Indians sealed the win from the free throw line, making 6 of 8 over the final 2:11. Lonzo Clark had 5 of 6 during the stretch.
Clark led the Indians with 25 points on 9 of 13 from the floor. Stephen Boston added 11 points.
Stroud led Blanchester with 22 points. Wiederhold added 14 points.
“Jordan Stroud had a really, really strong night,” Weber said. “He was scoring and distributing the ball, which is a great combination.”
In addition, Weber was pleased with the minutes received from Burden and Wesley Mitchell.
Weber knows the season will be defined by how his team finishes the regular season, starting Friday at home against Felicity.
“Every game the rest of the season is a must-win, if we want to salvage what this group leaves, when they leave,” Weber said. “I truly believe there are some nice players in here that haven’t performed where I expect them to.”
January 17, 2017
@Blanchester High School
Norwood 68, Blanchester 60
(68) NORWOOD (fg-3fg-ft-tp) Lonzo Clark 9-1-6-25, Stephen Boston 5-1-0-11, Pape Gomis 4-0-2-10, Matt Goodman 1-0-0-2, Michael George 3-2-2-10, Paris Roberts 2-1-0-5, Stevie Robbins 2-0-1-5. TOTALS 26-5-11-68.
(60) BLANCHESTER (fg-3fg-ft-tp) Quenton Miller 3-2-0-8, Dylan Miller 3-1-2-9, Jacob Burden 1-1-2-5, Harbor Lovin 1-0-0-2, Jordan Stroud 9-2-2-22, JD Wiederhold 6-0-2-14. TOTALS 23-6-8-60.
FIELD GOALS: N 26/49 (Clark 9/13, Boston 5/11, Gomis 4/6); B 23/47 (Stroud 9/13, Wiederhold 6/9, Q. Miller 3/7, D. Miller 3/9)
3 POINT FIELD GOALS: N 5/16 (George 2/7); B 6/16 (Q. Miller 2/4, Stroud 2/4)
FREE THROWS: N 11/16 (Clark 6/8); B 8/14
REBOUNDS: B 23 (Wiederhold 9, Burden 4, Stroud 3)
ASSISTS: B 5 (D. Miller 3, Stroud 2)
STEALS: B 8 (Hopkins 3, Stroud 2, D. Miller 2)
BLOCKED SHOTS: B 1
TURNOVERS: N 16; B 22
Matt Sexton covers high school sports for the News Journal. Follow him on Twitter @bymattsexton