BLANCHESTER – On the back of the warmup shirts for the Blanchester girls basketball team, it reads, “32 minutes of dread.”
A throwback to Nolan Richardson’s tenacious full-court defense in the 1990s at Arkansas, the Lady Wildcats unleashed dread on the Hillsboro Indians Friday night, winning 58-43.
Blanchester (1-0) wore Hillsboro (0-1) down with a physical style of basketball.
After leading by just five after three quarters, 40-35, the Lady Wildcats went on a 14-5 run that put the game away.
In his first game as head coach of the Blanchester girls, Bennie Carroll was pleased with how his team finished the game.
“In that fourth quarter, there might have been a couple of turnovers, but by and large we handled the ball pretty well,” Carroll said. “We had a little bit of composure. These girls work hard in practice. If they can get a little confidence, I think it can do wonders for them.”
Sarah Burton led the Wildcats with 16 points. She made all four free throw attempts in the fourth quarter to help put the game away.
Carroll said as well as Burton played on offense, her defensive contribution was just as important.
“Sarah may be better defensively than offensively,” Carroll said. “People don’t really recognize that as much. She anticipates really well. She had a bunch of steals on the interior.”
McKenzie Miller added 15 points for the Lady Wildcats. Carroll cited her as another player who did strong work on both ends of the floor.
“She really stepped up and came off the bench and played well,” Carroll said. “McKenzie stepped up and made some plays. I was really proud of her.”
Madison Snyder, the lone senior starter on a young Indian team, led Hillsboro with 18 points. Blanchester held her to just one field goal and five points in the second half.
The defensive effort was aided by strong contributions off the Blanchester bench, according to Carroll.
“If our mantra is going to be 32 minutes of dread, some girls are going to have to come in off that bench,” Carroll said. “Give a few minutes of playing hard defensively and not turn it over.”
To have the success Carroll believes his girls can have, they’ll have to impose dread every time they take the court.
“We’re not overly skilled, but we’re fairly athletic,” Carroll said. “We go about nine or 10 deep. So that’s our mantra, just hope to wear them down.”
Nov. 20, 2015
@Blanchester High School
Blanchester 58, Hillsboro 43
(43) HILLSBORO (fg-3fg-ft-tp) Kristin Jamison 1-0-1-3, Natalie Sullivan 2-0-0-4, Madison Snyder 6-0-6-18, Hanna Breeden 1-0-0-2, Sydney Bobbitt 0-0-2-2, Madi Marsh 2-0-4-8, Riley Moberly 2-0-2-6. TOTALS 14-0-15-43.
(58) BLANCHESTER (fg-3fg-ft-tp) Rachael Doyle 1-0-0-2, Tristan Culberson 3-1-0-7, Marissa Doughman 1-0-0-2, Sarah Burton 5-1-5-16, Emma Gundler 1-0-2-4, McKenzie Miller 4-0-7-15, Asia Baldwin 2-0-2-6, Kayla Dugger 2-0-2-6. TOTALS 19-2-18-58.
Follow Matt on Twitter @mattsports.