CINCINNATI — Trailing by one entering the fourth quarter, Blanchester made a concerted effort to get to the basket in the fourth quarter, and it earned them a spot in the sectional final.
Blanchester made 15 of 18 from the free throw line in the fourth quarter to turn a one-point deficit into a 61-54 victory over Finneytown Wednesday night in the Division III sectional at Princeton High School.
With the win, Blanchester (11-12) advanced to play top-seeded Purcell Marian 7:30 p.m. Friday at Princeton.
Brayden Sipple had 16 of his game-high 30 points in the fourth quarter, including 12 of 14 from the free throw line.
“He showed this year what clutch looks like,” BHS head coach Adam Weber said. “That being said, his teammates really performed well. Only eight turnovers in this game – ball security was phenomenal. Other guys made plays so he didn’t have to shoulder the game like he normally has.
“He still came through with the clutch shots when they needed to be made.”
Sipple gave BHS the lead for good with a basket with 2:13 left to break a 47-all tie. Blanchester went on a 14-4 run to put the game away.
Jacksson Waialae added 10 points. Sipple and Tanner Creager each had seven rebounds, while Hunter Bare had six.
“We executed the game plan almost flawlessly in the first half,” Weber said. “We didn’t want to settle for shooting a bunch of threes. We wanted to take it to the rim, and Jackson Waialae, Hunter and Tanner went right downhill at them.”
Mickel Clay, who was a force inside for Finneytown (5-16), led the Wildcats with 14 points and 17 rebounds.
An opportunity at the fourth-ranked team in the Associated Press Division III poll awaits the Wildcats on Friday.
“We told them there are only so many moments in life where you get to be on a stage, and if you come out on top, it’s a really strong achievement,” Weber said. “Obviously, (Purcell) has a very, very talented team.”
Wednesday, Feb. 27, 2019
@ Princeton High School
OHSAA Division III Sectional Tournament
Blanchester 61, Finneytown 54
(61) BLANCHESTER (fg-3fg-ft-tp) Ian Heeg 3-0-0-6, Tanner Creager 3-0-3-9, Brayden Sipple 8-0-14-30, Jacksson Waialae 4-0-2-10, Hunter Bare 2-0-2-6. TOTALS 20-0-21-61.
(54) FINNEYTOWN (fg-3fg-ft-tp) Kodee Holloway 2-1-2-7, Robert Burlew 4-4-0-12, Max Siuda 1-1-0-3, Mickel Clay 6-0-2-14, Jayden Gerbus 2-2-1-7, Cameron Thurmond 5-1-0-11. TOTALS 20-9-5-54.
FIELD GOALS: B 20/40 (Sipple 8/13, Waialae 4/11, Heeg 3/7, Creager 3/6); F 20/63 (Clay 6/13, Burlew 4/15)
3 POINT FIELD GOALS: B 0/5; F 9/32 (Burlew 4/14)
FREE THROWS: B 21/26 (Sipple 14/18, Creager 3/4); F 5/9
REBOUNDS: B 33 (Sipple 7, Creager 7, Bare 6); F 39 (Clay 17, Thurmond 6, Holloway 5)
ASSISTS: B 4 (Waialae 3); F 11 (Thurmond 3)
STEALS: B 4 (Sipple 2); F 3
BLOCKED SHOTS: B 4 (Waialae 2); F 0
TURNOVERS: B 8; F 10
Matt Sexton covers high school sports for the News Journal. Follow him on Twitter @bymattsexton.