FELICITY – In a game it absolutely had to win, the Blanchester Wildcats needed the full 32 minutes Saturday afternoon at Felicity.
Alec Richardson, less than 24 hours after being named homecoming king, crowned the Cardinals with a coast-to-coast layup with three seconds left to give Blanchester a 66-64 win.
Richardson’s layup spoiled an incredible night from Felicity’s Dominic Ruwe. He erased a six-point Cardinal deficit in the final minute with two threes. Ruwe finished with 32 points.
However, following Ruwe’s three with 12 seconds remaining to tie the game, Richardson took the inbounds pass and drove from one end to the other and laid the ball in with three seconds remaining.
“I was proud that our effort and intensity level was good,” BHS head coach Adam Weber said. “It was satisfactory.”
Like Friday against Felicity, Weber said his team struggled at times to find an offensive rhythm.
Weber said Cam Carroll, who came off the bench in the second quarter, gave the Wildcats a much-needed spark.
“He came in and hit some critical shots,” Weber said. “He really played well and hit some huge shots in the second and third quarters.”
Carroll scored all 11 of his points in the middle two quarters, helping propel the Wildcats to a 54-49 lead at the end of three.
Blanchester would try to stretch the lead, but struggles from the free throw line in the fourth gave the Cardinals an opening late. That opening was slammed shut by Richardson’s late basket.
Dylan Miller led Blanchester with 18 points and 9 rebounds. Jordan Stroud added 15 points. Richardson finished with 12 points, 6 rebounds and 4 assists.
Dalton Cochran joined Ruwe in double-figures in scoring with 10 points.
For Blanchester, it was a huge victory to remain just one game behind Williamsburg in the National Division. Williamsburg has division games remaining at Felicity and home with Bethel-Tate and Clermont Northeastern.
Meanwhile, Blanchester has league games against Bethel-Tate and Georgetown, both at home. The Wildcats (9-5, 5-3) play three games in four days this week, travelling to West Union Tuesday before home games with Fairfield (Wednesday) and Bethel-Tate (Friday).
Weber reminded his team that they still have a lot to play for, while also challenging them to increase their intensity down the stretch.
“We still need to do some soul searching on who are our consistent rebounders,” Weber said. “We need to make it a personal goal for each player to realize that we’re falling short there.
“If we can get to the point where we’re the most athletic, fastest, and toughest team on the court … we’ve shown glimpses of it, but have not made it part of our identity.”
Jan. 30, 2016
@ Felicity High School
Blanchester 66, Felicity 64
(66) BLANCHESTER (fg-3fg-ft-tp) Alec Richardson 4-2-2-12, Nick Hopkins 1-0-0-2, Quenton Miller 0-0-2-2, Dylan Miller 6-0-6-18, Cam Carroll 4-1-2-11, Harbor Lovin 0-0-1-1, Jordan Stroud 5-0-5-15, JD Wiederhold 2-0-1-5. TOTALS 22-3-19-66.
(64) FELICITY (fg-3fg-ft-tp) Dalton Cochran 4-0-2-10, Dominic Ruwe 13-2-4-32, Jared Boeckmann 2-0-2-6, Jacob Simpson 3-0-2-8, Kevin Arkenau 2-0-3-7, Clinton Liming 0-0-1-1. TOTALS 24-2-14-64.
FIELD GOALS: B 22/56
3 POINT FIELD GOALS: B 3/15
FREE THROWS: B 19/33
REBOUNDS: B 31 (D. Miller 9, Wiederhold 8, Richardson 6)
TURNOVERS: B 7
Matt covers high school sports for the News Journal. Follow him on Twitter @mattsports.