WEST UNION – With three games in four days, Blanchester got exactly what it needed Tuesday night at West Union.
The Wildcats stormed the Dragon’s Lair, shutting them out for the entire first quarter on the way to a 72-34 pummeling of West Union.
Blanchester scored all 17 points in the opening quarter. West Union didn’t score for the first 8:20 of the game and didn’t have a field goal for 8:40 after missing its first 15 shots.
In the first half, Blanchester made 14 of 29 from the floor while allowing West Union to make just 4 of 27.
With two more difficult games on the docket this week, it was just what the doctor order for Adam Weber and his Wildcats.
“We need to feed off of the energy and the team effort (against West Union),” Weber said.
That team effort not only showed up in the final score, but in the rebounding statistic. Weber has stated his concern for his team’s performance on the glass in the past couple of games.
There was no such problem Tuesday. Blanchester outrebounded West Union 58-31, including 28-11 in the first half.
“Rebounding … part of it is just straight-up effort,” Weber said. “I think we kind of slipped in that category as of late. If we can use this as a catalyst moving down to these bigger games, we’ll take it.”
Another area that pleased Weber was his team’s ability to keep the Dragons down after building the big early lead.
“We harped before the game and at halftime that our offense is not the concern,” Weber said. “It’s defense. We’ve been averaging 60-plus points a game. Offense has not been the issue. It’s the defensive side of the ball.
“Fortunately, against this team, we were really able to stifle their offense and rip down almost every first shot attempt they put up.”
West Union made just 9 of 56 shots. Of the 47 shots missed, the Dragons managed just 12 offensive rebounds.
Weber was able to rotate players off the bench hockey line-change style, switching five for five to keep anyone from getting too fatigued.
Alec Richardson led the balanced BHS attack with 16 points, 9 rebounds, 5 assists and 3 steals. Richardson’s highlight of the night may have been his alley-oop pass to JD Wiederhold for an emphatic dunk, which Weber termed his “birthday dunk.”
“Maybe that birthday dunk will also give us some inspiration,” Weber said.
Jordan Stroud also scored in double figures with 12. Ten different Wildcats scored, and eight had five or more points.
Blanchester now plays the second part of the back-to-back at home against Fairfield Wednesday in a rescheduled game. Blanchester enters at 10-5, while Fairfield enters at 9-10 after a 67-65 win over CNE Tuesday.
“This was a great substitution pattern night because you didn’t have to burn anyone’s candle too long knowing that we’ve got two battles,” Weber said. “Leesburg (Fairfield) is going to be a battle and we know what Bethel-Tate’s all about.”
Feb. 2, 2016
@West Union High School
Blanchester 72, West Union 34
(72) BLANCHESTER (fg-3fg-ft-tp) David Trivett 3-1-1-8, Alec Richardson 6-2-2-16, Nick Hopkins 2-1-0-5, Quenton Miller 4-0-1-9, Dylan Miller 1-0-3-5, Cam Carroll 0-0-1-1, Harbor Lovin 1-0-0-2, Jordan Stroud 5-0-2-12, Nick Grogg 3-1-0-7, JD Wiederhold 3-0-1-7. TOTALS 28-5-11-72.
(34) WEST UNION (fg-3fg-ft-tp) Dennis James Welch 2-0-4-8, Eli Fuller 1-0-0-2, Garrett Vogler 0-0-3-3, Elijah McCarty 1-1-0-3, Clayton Madden 2-1-0-5, James Curtis 2-1-1-6, Craig Horton 1-0-3-5, Andrew Weeks 0-0-2-2. TOTALS 9-3-13-34.
FIELD GOALS: B 28/64 (Richardson 6/9, Stroud 5/11, Q. Miller 4/8); W 9/56
3 POINT FIELD GOALS: B 5/21; W 3/20
FREE THROWS: B 11/21 (D. Miller 3/4); W 13/26 (Welch 4/6)
REBOUNDS: B 58 (Richardson 9, Hopkins 9, Q. Miller 7, Wiederhold 7, Lovin 5, Stroud 5, Grogg 5); W 31 (Vogler 4)
ASSISTS: B 14 (Richardson 5, Q. Miller 3, D. Miller 3); W 3
STEALS: B 6 (Richardson 3); W 7 (Horton 3)
BLOCKED SHOTS: B 2; W 0
TURNOVERS: B 17; W 12
Matt Sexton covers high school sports for the News Journal. Follow him on Twitter @mattsports.