BLANCHESTER — Using a balanced scoring attack, the Reading Blue Devils spoiled Blanchester’s season opener Tuesday night, defeating the Wildcats 79-63.
Reading had four players score in double figures. Brandon Ross led the way with 18 points. Bryce Hunt had 17, but more importantly, the 6-7 center closed down the lane on the defensive end of the floor.
Between blocks and altered shots, Blanchester was unable to get the ball to the basket, forcing the Wildcats to take outside shots. Blan shot 6 of 25 from three-point range.
It was a tough shooting night in total for the Wildcats, making just 22 of 71 from the floor (31 percent).
“I was happy with our effort,” BHS head coach Adam Weber said. “I thought our mindset was collectively intimidated. We let (Hunt’s) presence alter almost everything we did in the first half.”
In defeat, Brayden Sipple announced his presence loud and clear in his varsity debut.
The Wildcat freshman, coming off a solid first season at quarterback for the football team, led all scorers with 27 points.
“He came to play,” Weber said. “We talked about at halftime that … the primetime player has to show up and play. He was as advertised. I’m extremely proud of his play. I think there is a lot more we can get out of him.”
Despite trailing by as many as 21 points in the fourth quarter, Blanchester (0-1) was able to cut the deficit to 10 with 75 seconds remaining. Two threes by Sipple, a three by Jacksson Waialae and a basket by Jordan Stroud had the Wildcats within 71-61.
However, Reading finished off the win at the free throw line, which is where the Blue Devils did most of their damage on the night. Reading made 8 of 10 from the line in the final 73 seconds to close out the win.
On the night, Reading made 28 of 41 from the line, while Blanchester was just 13 of 22.
Stroud just missed a double-double, finishing with 14 points and 9 rebounds.
Dec. 5, 2017
@ Blanchester High School
Reading 79, Blanchester 63
(79) READING (fg-3fg-ft-tp) AJ Brown 1-0-3-5, Brandon Ross 5-1-7-18, Alijah Vaught 1-1-9-12, Mancini Jackson 3-0-0-6, TJ Manning 1-0-1-3, Bryce Hunt 7-0-3-17, Brayden Young 1-0-0-2, Johnny Miller 4-3-5-16. TOTALS 23-5-28-79.
(63) BLANCHESTER (fg-3fg-ft-tp) Ian Heeg 3-1-1-8, Brayden Sipple 8-3-8-27, Wesley Mitchell 2-0-0-4, Lane Heeg 1-0-0-2, Jacksson Waialae 3-2-0-8, Jordan Stroud 5-0-4-14. TOTALS 22-6-13-63.
FIELD GOALS: R 23/57 (Hunt 7/13, Ross 5/15, Miller 4/8); B 22/71 (Sipple 8/21, Stroud 5/16)
3 POINT FIELD GOALS: R 5/19 (Miller 3/6); B 6/25 (Sipple 3/9)
FREE THROWS: R 28/41 (Vaught 9/10, Ross 7/7, Miller 5/7); B 13/22 (Sipple 8/15)
TURNOVERS: R 11; B 12
Matt Sexton covers high school sports for the News Journal. Follow him on Twitter @ByMattSexton.