BLANCHESTER — Leading from start to finish and never seriously threatened, the Blanchester boys basketball team cruised to a 71-59 win Tuesday night against West Union.
Blanchester (9-8) scored the first 10 points of the game, and led 17-5 midway through the opening quarter. It was 23-12 Blanchester after one.
The Dragons struggled with Blanchester’s press defense. The Wildcats forced nine first-quarter turnovers.
“We came out of the gates with heavy, heavy pressure and they were not responding,” BHS head coach Adam Weber said. “It gave us some confidence.”
West Union cut the deficit to nine, 32-23, with 1:46 left in the first half. Harbor Lovin scored consecutive baskets to push the lead back to double figures. Blanchester led 36-24 at the half.
Blanchester shot 51.6 percent in the first half (16 of 31) while holding West Union to just 32 percent (8 of 25).
The Wildcats led by 10 or more the rest of the way. The lead stretched to 19, 62-43, with 5:24 left.
The Dragons kept the game from getting completely out of hand by converting at the free throw line. West Union made 15 of 17 from the charity stripe.
Quenton Miller had an outstanding night for the Wildcats. The senior finished with 25 points, 10 rebounds, four assists, three steals and three blocks.
“Probably one of the most impressive, complete performance by him since I’ve been coaching him,” Weber said. “Honestly I thought we swallowed the ball a little bit in the third quarter. If the ball kept going where it was supposed to go, he might have had even more.”
In addition, Jordan Stroud continued his strong play with 16 points, five rebounds and four steals. Lovin finished with 10 points and eight rebounds.
Ryan Rothwell led West Union (5-10) with 16 points. Craig Horton added 11.
Winners of three of its last four games, Blanchester goes into Friday’s showdown with Williamsburg with some confidence.
“If we could get some of our off-court things squared away, on the court I like the direction we’re trending,” Weber said. “When we finally get everything in place, we’re going to be hard to beat these last couple games.”
January 31, 2017
@Blanchester High School
Blanchester 71, West Union 59
(59) WEST UNION (fg-3fg-ft-tp) Dennis James Welch 3-0-0-6, Eli Fuller 2-1-0-5, Garrett Vogler 3-2-1-9, Andre Wolke 1-1-0-3, Ryan Rothwell 4-0-8-16, Janson Kramer 1-0-1-3, Craig Horton 3-0-5-11, Andrew Weeks 3-0-0-6. TOTALS 20-4-15-59.
(71) BLANCHESTER (fg-3fg-ft-tp) Frank Guy 1-0-0-2, Blake Baker 0-0-2-2, Nick Hopkins 3-1-0-7, Quenton Miller 9-4-3-25, Dylan Miller 4-0-0-8, Harbor Lovin 4-0-2-10, Jordan Stroud 7-2-1-17. TOTALS 28-7-8-71.
FIELD GOALS: W 20/54 (Rothwell 4/9, Welch 3/11, Vogler 3/6, Horton 3/10, Weeks 3/6); B 28/60 (Q. Miller 9/18, Stroud 7/12, Lovin 4/9, D. Miller 4/10, Hopkins 3/3)
3 POINT FIELD GOALS: W 4/14 (Vogler 2/4); B 7/22 (Q. Miller 4/7, Stroud 2/5)
FREE THROWS: W 15/17 (Rothwell 8/8, Horton 5/5); B 8/12 (Q. Miller 3/4)
REBOUNDS: B 35 (Q. Miller 10, Lovin 8, Stroud 5, Burden 4)
ASSISTS: B 10 (D. Miller 4, Q. Miller 4)
STEALS: B 16 (D. Miller 5, Stroud 4, Q. Miller 3)
BLOCKED SHOTS: B 4 (Q. Miller 3)
TURNOVERS: W 20; B 20
Matt Sexton covers high school sports for the News Journal. Follow him on Twitter @bymattsexton