BLANCHESTER — Scoring runs at the beginning of both halves Tuesday propelled the Blanchester girls basketball team to a 51-36 victory over Fairfield.
Blanchester opened the game on an 11-0 run. Kayla Dugger and Rachael Doyle scored four points each during the game-opening run. Blanchester led 17-4 at the end of the first.
“Take away that first quarter and we lost by two,” Fairfield Head Coach Chad Hamilton said. “We have a hard time getting off to a fast start at the start of the game then again in the second half.”
Fairfield climbed back into the game in the second quarter, outscoring Blanchester 16-7. The Lady Lions (10-7) stepped up the defensive pressure forcing six Blanchester turnovers in the quarter.
However, Blanchester expanded its lead at the start of the third quarter with a 10-2 run. Marissa Doughman had the final four points of the run, giving Blanchester a 34-22 lead with 3:49 left in the third.
The Lady Lions would pull within five early in the fourth, 39-34, thanks to a Macie Pauley basket.
One final spurt from the Lady Wildcats sealed the victory, as BHS closed the game on a 12-2 run over the final 6:35.
“You can’t play two-and-a-half quarters and expect to win,” Hamilton said. “(Blanchester) plays a lot of pressure defense. I didn’t feel like we ever got where we needed to go offensively.”
It was a familiar formula for head coach Bennie Carroll and his Lady Wildcats (13-3).
“The way we play, you try to get a couple spurts here and there, and sometimes that can win the game for you,” Carroll said. “We started off on a good spurt, and we had a good spurt starting the second half. The rest of the time we just tried to maintain.”
Sarah Burton led Blanchester with 15 points. Doyle, despite battling foul trouble most of the night, finished with 11 points.
Pauley led Fairfield with 15 points. Blanchester was able to hold Grace Shope to just 8 points on 4 of 17 from the floor.
“I don’t know if we were that great defensively or if she just had a bad night shooting the ball,” Carroll said. “Luckily for us, she didn’t have a really good shooting night.”
Hamilton credited Blanchester’s pressure defense for keeping his team out of its offensive rhythm.
“We were stagnant,” Hamilton said. “Nobody got into a rhythm. Grace wasn’t able to get in a rhythm. We had plenty of open looks around the basket, but even from five feet and in we missed way too many easy ones.”
Jan. 19, 2016
@Blanchester High School
Blanchester 51, Fairfield 36
(36) FAIRFIELD (fg-3fg-ft-tp) Grace Shope 4-0-0-8, Lauren Arnold 1-1-0-3, Brianna Barnes 3-0-0-6, Olivia Bobb 1-0-0-2, Blake Adams 1-0-0-2, Macie Pauley 7-1-0-15. TOTALS 17-2-0-36.
(51) BLANCHESTER (fg-3fg-ft-tp) Rachael Doyle 5-0-1-11, Tristan Culberson 2-1-2-7, Marissa Doughman 3-0-1-7, Sarah Burton 5-0-5-15, Merri Lindsey 2-0-0-4, Asia Baldwin 0-0-1-1, Kayla Dugger 2-0-2-6. TOTALS 19-1-12-51.
FIELD GOALS: F 17/51 (Pauley 7/13, Shope 4/13); B 19/48 (Doyle 5/10, Burton 5/11)
3 POINT FIELD GOALS: F 2/7 (Pauley 1/2, Arnold 1/2); B 1/9 (Culberson 1/3)
FREE THROWS: F 0/8; B 12/24 (Burton 5/8)
TURNOVERS: F 23; B 21
Matt covers high school sports for the News Journal. Follow him on Twitter @mattsports.