The Blanchester Girls Varsity basketball team lost a heartbreaker 51-50 Thursday night at home to Hillsboro on a last second shot by Hillsboro’s Delanie Eakins who was the game’s leading scorer with 18 points.
Blanchester was down 28-18 at halftime but put in a great defensive effort in the 3rd quarter in which they held Hillsboro to only 4 points. At the end of the 3rd, Blanchester had a 2 point lead, 34-32.
A back and forth 4th quarter led to a 50-49 Blanchester lead with 7 seconds left in regulation. That’s what Eakins hit the game winner as time expired.
Blanchester coach Brandon Pyle was pleased with the job his girls did in the game. “Our girls played our best all around game of the season tonight. Outside of a few communication issues, our girls played fundamentally on the defensive end and did a good job on the offensive end attacking the basket and finding the open man,” Pyle said.
Elecia Patton scored 17 points for the Ladycats despite sitting much of the 2nd quarter in foul trouble. Olivia Gundler and Regan Ostermeier added 8 a piece and Asia Baldwin had 7. Gundler added 8 blocks, 3 steals, and 3 assists.
Pyle took the blame for the loss. “We let one slip through our fingers tonight. We haven’t played very much this season with a small lead late in games and I take the blame for not having the girls more prepared for that situation. It’s a tough way to lose but I’m incredibly proud of the way the girls played tonight and how they made the proper adjustments in game that we have been working on in practice. To battle back from a 10 points halftime deficit speaks to the character of this team. Hillsboro is a good team and we put ourselves in a position to win. Unfortunately, it just didn’t work out that way,” said Pyle.
Steadily pulling away in the second half, the Hillsboro Indians defeated the Blanchester Wildcats 69-55 Friday night in a non-league boys basketball game at HHS.
The Indians are now 5-4. The victory halted a four-game losing streak for Hillsboro.
The Wildcats drop to 2-6.
Hillsboro’s Philip Mycroft had 21 points, seven of which came in the final period. He had 12 in the first half. Ethan Watson added 15.
“We had some key people really step up for us,” Hillsboro head coach Bruce Miles said. “Both Mason Swayne and Ryan Scott gave us valuable minutes and helped get us going. We were able to attack their 2-2-1 defensive approach in the second half asnd got the ball to our key people in our offensive sets.”
Brayden Sipple led Blanchester with 23 points, nine in the first quarter and eight more in the second. Jordan Stroud tallied 16 for the Wildcats.
The Indians made 16 of 21 free throw attempts, all coming in the second half. In fact, Hillsboro was 6 of 7 in the third quarter and 10 of 14 in the fourth quarter.
“They were able to control the tempo and, basically, they out-muscled us,” said BHS coach Adam Weber. “They got to the line several times and made the most of their opportunities.”
Hillsboro held a 14-13 lead after one, as Sipple and Mycroft battled it out on the offensive end.
“Brayden is an awesome player,” Weber said. “Every time he steps on the floor, you know you can count on him to score at least 20. He drops in 20 or more consistently. We just need more production from some others.”
Stroud and Sipple scored all 14 of Blanchester’s points in the second but the ‘Cats were behind 31-27 at the break. The Indians balanced attack was too much for the visitors from Clinton County.
In the third, Hillsboro again displayed balanced with five different players scoring. The Wildcats finally received contributions from several players but fell behind 49-40 after three.
In the final period, Stroud tried to put the Wildcats on his back, scoring eight points but the Indians were too sharp at the line and never trailed.
Blanchester will face Bethel-Tate Friday night while Hillsboro will meet Fayetteville-Perry on Jan. 9.
Blanchester Patton 1-1-0-3 Coyle 2-1-0-5 Bandow 2-0-0-4 Sipple 10-1-2-23 Heeg 1-0-0-2 Stroud 6-0-4-16 Fischer 1-0-0-2
Hillsboro Wayne 1-0-5-7 Scott 1-1-0-3 Haines 1-0-0-2 Watson 6-1-2-15 Clark 2-1-2-7 Keets 3-0-6-12 Mycroft 10-0-1-21 Crawford 1-0-0-2.
Information for this story was provided by Bill Liermann and Blanchester girls coach Brandon Pyle.