MOUNT ORAB — A 16-0 run Wednesday night helped North College Hill hold off an upset bid from Blanchester, 67-46, in the Division III sectional at Western Brown High School.
Blanchester’s season ends at 8-15. After opening the season 1-2, North College Hill has now won 19 straight. The Trojans advanced to play Cincinnati Country Day 3 p.m. Saturday in the sectional final at Western Brown.
However, it wasn’t easy for the Trojans.
The Wildcats used a 3-2 zone to clog the inside and force North College Hill to shoot from the outside. In the first half, NCH made just 4 of 17 from three-point range.
“It was a lot of preparation in the days leading up to the game,” BHS head coach Adam Weber said. “The plan with the 3-2 zone was operating pretty well. The kids were being pretty well.
“North College Hill is a pretty good team, but we weren’t giving them a whole lot of creases to attack.”
In the second half, the outside shots started to fall for the Trojans. Back-to-back threes by Charles Swain were a part of the 16-0 run that started in the final seconds of the first half.
What was a 25-all game with 2:20 left in the first half was now a 41-25 NCH lead with 5:39 left in the third.
“Our confidence was high, but you know there was some doubt because we haven’t been in an environment this close in a while,” Weber said.
Blanchester cut the deficit to eight early in the fourth. Nine points from Brayden Sipple, plus a 25-foot three by Eric Patton to end the third quarter, pulled Blan within 51-43 with 7:45 left.
However, the Wildcats got no closer. In the end, the 29 turnovers were too much for Blanchester to overcome.
Sipple led Blan with 23 points and seven rebounds. Lorenzo Sparks led a balanced NCH attack with 18.
Nine Blanchester seniors wrapped up their careers Wednesday night. In addition to Patton, Preston Griffin, Jordan Stroud, Nevan Coyle, Brant Bandow, Wesley Mitchell, Lane Heeg, Noah Armocida and Jake Fischer all played their final high school game.
It’s a group that Weber has enjoyed coaching.
“They bought into what their roles were better than most of the teams I’ve ever coached,” Weber said. “I never saw this group of kids change their demeanor after game three. That’s the part that I’m going to miss the most.
“I looked forward to going to practice because there wasn’t anything but joy in the gym.”
Weber commended all of his seniors for efforts both in games and in practice to make the program better.
“There might be five guys on the court, but there are 10, 11, 12 that put in the sweat, blood and tears to get those five ready for the game,” Weber said. “These kids accepted doing their job. They put their hard hat on and did their job.”
Feb. 28, 2018
@ Western Brown High School
Division III Sectional Boys Basketball
North College Hill 67, Blanchester 46
(67) NORTH COLLEGE HILL (fg-3fg-ft-tp) Tyler Anderson 3-2-5-13, DeAirius Barker 2-1-0-5, Kaden Warner 0-0-1-1, Lorenzo Sparks 5-1-7-18, Tyree Robinson 2-0-0-4, Ronald Thomas 3-2-0-8, Charles Swain 6-3-1-16, Jonas Dunham 0-0-2-2. TOTALS 21-9-16-67.
(46) BLANCHESTER (fg-3fg-ft-tp) Jacksson Waialae 2-0-0-4, Eric Patton 3-2-0-8, Nevan Coyle 1-1-0-3, Brayden Sipple 8-3-4-23, Wesley Mitchell 1-0-0-2, Jordan Stroud 2-0-2-6. TOTALS 17-6-6-46.
FIELD GOALS: NCH 21/53 (Swain 6/16, Sparks 5/15); B 17/36 (Sipple 8/18, Patton 3/4, Stroud 2/2)
3 POINT FIELD GOALS: 9/29 (Swain 3/11); B 6/14 (Sipple 3/7, Patton 2/2)
FREE THROWS: 16/33 (Sparks 7/13, Anderson 5/8); B 6/14 (Sipple 4/6)
REBOUNDS: 31 (Robinson 9, Sparks 5, Swain 5); B 32 (Sipple 7, Stroud 5, Patton 4)
ASSISTS: 8 (Sparks 2); B 9 (Patton 3, Coyle 2)
STEALS: 17 (Anderson 4, Sparks 4, Swain 3); B 4
BLOCKED SHOTS: NCH 1; B 1 (Stroud)
TURNOVERS: NCH 13; B 29
Matt Sexton covers high school sports for the News Journal. Follow him on Twitter @bymattsexton.