BLANCHESTER — A slow start to the third quarter proved to be too much for Blanchester to overcome Saturday night as Fairfield defeated the Wildcats 74-64.
The victory breaks a seven-game losing streak for the Lions (10-9). Blanchester falls to 6-11.
“We clearly had some cloudiness in our head from last night’s debacle,” BHS head coach Adam Weber said. “I was pleased with our response. However, when you have easy chances and you can’t convert them, you have no chance of pulling the victory out.”
Leading by just one point at halftime, Fairfield opened the third quarter on a 14-2 run over the first 2:55 to take a 45-32 victory.
Blanchester trailed by as many 15 in the third quarter. The Wildcats were down 64-51 with 4:35 remaining.
Freshman Brayden Sipple willed the Wildcats back into the game.
Sipple scored 11 points over a three-minute stretch as the Wildcat deficit shrunk to two, 64-62, with 2:08 remaining.
“We felt a moment of possibility there,” Weber said.
However, following a rare missed free throw by Fairfield, Blanchester was unable to get the rebound. The Lions scored again on the possession on a Sam Buddelmeyer basket, and Fairfield’s lead was back up to five with 1:35 left.
Jordan Stroud made a pair of free throws with 91 seconds left to pull within three. Blanchester would not score again, as the Lions ice the game with the final seven points, five from the line.
Fairfield dominated the game at the free throw line, making 27 of 31 from there (87 percent). Blanchester made two more field goals and one more three-point field goal than Fairfield. The Lions outscored Blanchester 27-12 at the charity stripe.
Sipple led all scorers with 26 points. Stroud added 16 points.
Four Lions had double figures in points, led by Cody Gragg’s 20. Tucker Ayres added 18, while Buddelmeyer scored 14. Wyatt Willey made all eight of his free throws to finish with 11.
Feb. 3, 2018
@ Blanchester High School
Fairfield 74, Blanchester 64
(74) FAIRFIELD (fg-3fg-ft-tp) Cody Gragg 5-2-8-20, Sam Buddelmeyer 5-0-4-14, Wyatt Willey 1-1-8-11, Bryson Simmons 3-1-0-7, Tucker Ayres 6-1-5-18, Quinton Beatty 0-0-2-2, James Bentley 1-0-0-2. TOTALS 21-5-27-74.
(64) BLANCHESTER (fg-3fg-ft-tp) Ian Heeg 1-1-0-3, Eric Patton 1-1-0-3, Nevan Coyle 2-0-2-6, Brant Bandow 1-0-0-2, Brayden Sipple 9-3-5-26, Wesley Mitchell 3-0-0-6, Hunter Bare 1-0-0-2, Jordan Stroud 5-1-5-16. TOTALS 23-6-12-64.
FIELD GOALS: F 21/59 (Ayres 6/14, Gragg 5/15, Buddelmeyer 5/15); B 23/57 (Sipple 9/22, Stroud 5/11)
3 POINT FIELD GOALS: F 5/14 (Gragg 2/6); B 6/22 (Sipple 3/10)
FREE THROWS: F 27/31 (Gragg 8/8, Willey 8/8, Ayres 5/5); B 12/14 (Sipple 5/6, Stroud 5/6)
TURNOVERS: F 13; B 19
Matt Sexton covers high school sports for the News Journal. Follow him on Twitter @bymattsexton