BLANCHESTER — Felicity’s Dominic Ruwe put on one more dynamic performance in his final career game against the Blanchester Wildcats Friday night.
The one-man Ruwe assault was unable to overcome a balanced Wildcat scoring attack.
Ruwe’s 38 points proved to be insufficient as Blanchester defeated Felicity 73-66.
“I was very pleased with our effort,” BHS head coach Adam Weber said. “I thought we were really going to break it open a few times, but Ruwe found a way to hit some clutch shots when they needed them.”
Felicity’s outstanding senior guard was able to singlehandedly keep the Cardinals in the ballgame until help finally arrived in the fourth quarter.
Two straight baskets by Harbor Lovin gave Blanchester a 60-50 lead with 5:08 remaining. Jared Boeckmann answered with his second three of the final period to pull the Cardinals within seven.
Blanchester’s lead was still seven with 3:00 left. Quenton Miller, who had a strong night, drove down the lane but had his shot fall off the rim. Lovin was there with a critical putback to give Blan a 64-55 lead with 2:30 left.
“When Quenton drove it in and happened to miss, I’m over here and my heart is sinking,” Weber said. “I see (Lovin) dive in there, grab that rebound and stick it back in. I can’t even stress how huge that play was. The game totally changes if he doesn’t do that.”
Boeckmann answered immediately with a three to cut the Blanchester lead to 64-58 with 2:18 left.
“Boeckmann starting raining in some shots,” Weber said. “That took away our ability to send two guys to Ruwe. It really caught us off guard.”
What followed was a nearly minute-long game of keep-away by Blanchester. As the Cardinals tried to foul, the Wildcats dribbled and passed the ball around until Quenton Miller was fouled after 58 seconds had elapsed.
Miller would miss the front-end of the one-and-one, and Ruwe would convert at the other end, pulling Felicity within 64-60 with 1:12 left.
The lost time forced the Cardinals to foul, and Blanchester made good at the charity stripe. Between Jordan Stroud, Dylan Miller, Quenton Miller and Nick Hopkins, Blanchester made 7 of 8 at the line over the final 63 seconds to seal the win.
Stroud led a balanced Blanchester attack with 19 points. Quenton Miller had 17 while Dylan Miller had 14. Lovin finished with 11.
While Ruwe had 38, Weber admitted he could have done even more damage.
“He’s averaging 33.6 points per game for a reason,” Weber said. “He got five more than his average. Sad thing is, I’m pleased with it. I thought he had over 40.”
In addition to Ruwe’s 38, Boeckmann finished with 16 points, including 12 in the final quarter. Felicity (3-12, 0-6 SBC) attempted (31 to 27) and made (11 to 10) more three-point shots than two-point shots.
Blanchester (7-7, 3-3) did a lot of damage with its full-court press, forcing 10 Felicity turnovers in the first quarter. The Cardinals finished with 21 turnovers, 18 of which were Blanchester steals.
“We had a couple good days of practice working on that press,” Weber said. “I felt like our rotations were rock-solid. Anytime you can pick up a few easy ones early, it feeds your momentum.”
Blanchester returns to action Saturday night at Clinton-Massie. Weber knows what is awaiting his team on Lebanon Road.
“They play in the SCOL, and they’ve had a rough road,” Weber said. “It’s going to be a good old-fashioned grudge match to see who wants it more. I just pray we come in there and do what we plan to do.”
January 20, 2017
@Blanchester High School
Blanchester 73 Felicity 66
(66) FELICITY (fg-3fg-ft-tp) Dalton Cochran 1-1-0-3, Dominic Ruwe 11-4-12-38, Jared Boeckmann 5-5-1-16, Kevin Arkenau 2-0-0-4, Austin Rutherford 2-1-0-5. TOTALS 21-11-13-66.
(73) BLANCHESTER (fg-3fg-ft-tp) Frank Guy 1-0-0-2, Nick Hopkins 1-0-2-4, Quenton Miller 7-0-3-17, Dylan Miller 5-2-2-14, Jacob Burden 1-0-0-2, Harbor Lovin 5-0-1-11, Jordan Stroud 6-3-4-19, Wesley Mitchell 1-0-0-2, JD Wiederhold 0-0-2-2. TOTALS 27-5-14-73.
FIELD GOALS: F 21/58 (Ruwe 11/21, Boeckmann 5/14); B 27/69 (Q. Miller 7/14, Stroud 6/15, D. Miller 5/14, Lovin 5/8)
3 POINT FIELD GOALS: F 11/31 (Boeckmann 5/12, Ruwe 4/7); B 5/23 (Stroud 3/7, D. Miller 2/7)
FREE THROWS: F 13/16 (Ruwe 12/12); B 14/18 (Stroud 4/4)
REBOUNDS: B 36 (Lovin 8, Stroud 7, Q. Miller 7, Wiederhold 7, Hopkins 4)
ASSISTS: B 11 (D. Miller 2, Q. Miller 2, Burden 2)
STEALS: B 18 (Q. Miller 7, Hopkins 3)
BLOCKED SHOTS: B 4
TURNOVERS: F 21; B 12
Matt Sexton covers high school sports for the News Journal. Follow him on Twitter @bymattsexton