BLANCHESTER — A sleepy Friday night, Christmas break boys basketball game erupted from its slumber thanks to two emphatic plays by Blanchester’s Brayden Sipple and Hunter Bare.
A thunderous dunk and a stone-cold rejection spurred the Wildcats to a 58-44 win over Hillsboro.
With Blanchester trailing 19-17 midway through the second quarter, Sipple threw down a massive jam while being fouled. The three-point play gave Blanchester a lead it would not relinquish.
Bare did his part at the defensive end, swatting away a point-blank shot attempt just moments later. The Wildcat crowd erupted, and the team fed off the energy.
“Sipple with the two-hand jam, and Bare following it up with a monster block, I thought that was a game-changer,” BHS head coach Adam Weber said. “These two teams have some attitude toward each other. Fortunately for us, we were able to make some monstrous plays.”
Starting with the Sipple dunk, Blanchester outscored Hillsboro 25-6 over the next eight minutes of play. Blanchester led 42-25 with 3:23 left in the third. The Indians got no closer than 12 points the rest of the way.
Sipple led all scorers with 23 points. Bare just missed a double-double, scoring eight points and pulling down 14 rebounds. He also had six blocks.
“Hunter Bare was a force,” Weber said. “I think it sucked some of the life out of (Hillsboro’s) interior opportunities. You have to respect some of the interior guys in our conference and Hunter Bare is making some strides to be able to bang with them.”
Tanner Creager added 11 points for the Wildcats (4-4).
Ethan Watson led Hillsboro with 13 points. Brad Miller and Ryan Scott each added nine. When Blanchester switched defenses in the second quarter, Hillsboro struggled offensively. After scoring 19 points in the first 12:10 of the game, they scored just 23 points over the final 19:50.
“I thought that the switch to the 3-2 zone and the halfcourt trap created unexpected problems for them,” Weber said. “It definitely got them a little off-rhythm.”
Friday, Dec. 28, 2018
@ Blanchester High School
Blanchester 58, Hillsboro 44
(44) HILLSBORO (fg-3fg-ft-tp) Mason Swayne 3-0-0-6, Nick Lewis 1-0-0-2, Ryan Scott 4-1-0-9, Ethan Watson 5-1-2-13, Hunter Price 2-1-0-5, Brad Miller 4-0-1-9. TOTALS 19-3-3-44.
(58) BLANCHESTER (fg-3fg-ft-tp) Ian Heeg 3-1-0-7, Tanner Creager 5-1-0-11, Brent Hopkins 0-0-2-2, Brayden Sipple 8-0-7-23, Jacksson Waialae 1-1-0-3, Jay Ashcraft 2-0-0-4, Hunter Bare 3-0-2-8. TOTALS 22-3-11-58.
Matt Sexton covers high school sports for the News Journal. Follow him on Twitter @bymattsexton.