LEBANON – A 17-2 Clinton-Massie run over the final 5:17 of the third quarter was the difference Thursday night in a 53-22 victory over Blanchester in a Division II sectional tournament game at LHS.
The Falcons started the game with a similar run, leading 14-0 with 2:50 left in the first quarter. Blanchester battled to outscore the Falcons 12-8 the rest of the half and trailed 22-12 at intermission.
“I knew the beginning of the game was going to be crucial,” BHS head coach Bennie Carroll said. “We’ve had a good season, but I wasn’t 100 percent sure we thought we could play with them.
“I thought we showed some guts. Elecia Patton, a freshman, came in and gave us a spark and made a couple shots. I was proud of that.”
In the third, Blanchester cut the Clinton-Massie lead to 9, 26-17, thanks to a Sarah Burton three.
Then, the Falcons kicked it into high gear.
A quick 7-0 run thanks to baskets by Brooke Rose, Madison Purkey and Savannah Myers pushed the Falcon advantage to 33-17 and caused Carroll to take a timeout.
“We played good defense for a while, but then they hit some big shots in that second half,” Carroll said. “Once they made a couple shots and got a little separation on us, it was pretty much over at that point.”
The timeout didn’t slow the Falcons. Miquela Santoro scored, followed by another basket by Myers. Santoro followed with a three-point play and the run was 14-0.
“We just made some changes on some things,” CM head coach Carlos Roberts said. “We didn’t think they were shooting that well from the outside, so we went zone a little bit and changed some things up.
“We knew offensively we would push the tempo a little bit. We just let Miquela kind of float and do her thing.”
After a Rachael Doyle basket, Purkey buried a three to close the Falcon run at 17-2 and give CM a 43-19 lead after three quarters.
Santoro led the Falcons with a double-double. She scored 23 points and had 10 steals. She also had 6 rebounds and 3 assists.
“Santoro is just on another level,” Carroll said. “The press didn’t bother her much at all. Our dilemma was, we can’t press her, but we can’t score if we don’t press her. It was a catch-22.”
The senior guard controlled play on both ends of the floor, coming up with steals on one end and scoring and distributing on the other.
“That’s what she’s done all year,” Roberts said. “I’m blessed to have somebody like her.”
Purkey and Myers both just missed double-doubles. Purkey had 9 points and 11 rebounds while Myers had 8 points and 9 rebounds.
For Blanchester, Doyle, Burton and Patton each had 6 points. Patton helped spark the Wildcats to the 12-8 advantage over the final 10:50 of the first half.
For Doyle, Burton, Marissa Doughman, Tristan Culberson and Kayla Dugger, Thursday’s game marked the end of a fantastic season. The Wildcats finished 18-5, winning only the second girls basketball league championship in school history, joining the 1989 Fort Ancient Valley Conference champions.
“To go from winning four to winning 18, that’s a pretty significant thing,” Carroll said. “The senior girls, they have worked. It’s not an accident that they got to where they got. A lot of our wins this year, we willed our way to wins.”
Roberts also praised the Wildcats’ effort in defeat.
“My hat goes off to Bennie Carroll and his team,” Roberts said. “Those girls work hard. They’re a classy group of kids. It was an honor – and I mean that – to go against them. I wish them nothing but the best.”
As for Clinton-Massie (19-4), they advance to play Oakwood 6 p.m. Tuesday at Lebanon High School. Oakwood defeated Ross in the first game Thursday.
“We’ve got some things we have to do,” Roberts said. “They’re fairly quick and they work hard. We better be ready. We can’t afford to fall asleep on them.”
Feb. 11, 2016
@ Lebanon High School
Clinton-Massie 53, Blanchester 22
(22) BLANCHESTER (fg-3fg-ft-tp) Rachael Doyle 3-0-0-6, Elicia Patton 3-0-0-6, Sarah Burton 1-1-3-6, Asia Baldwin 0-0-1-1, Savana Greene 0-0-1-1, Kayla Dugger 1-0-0-2. TOTALS 8-1-5-22.
(53) CLINTON-MASSIE (fg-3fg-ft-tp) Miquela Santoro 7-0-9-23, Johanna Theetge 0-0-2-2, Faith Cottrell 0-0-2-2, Brooke Rose 4-1-0-9, Madison Purkey 3-1-2-9, Savannah Myers 3-0-2-8. TOTALS 17-2-17-53.
FIELD GOALS: B 8/54 (Doyle 3/12, Patton 3/7); C 17/45 (Santoro 7/18, Rose 4/6, Purkey 3/8, Myers 3/5)
3 POINT FIELD GOALS: B 1/7 (Burton 1/4); C 2/5
FREE THROWS: B 5/13 (Burton 3/5); C 17/20 (Santoro 9/10)
REBOUNDS: B 38 (Doyle 7, Baldwin 7, Patton 5, Gundler 4); C 42 (Purkey 11, Myers 9, Theetge 7, Santoro 6)
ASSISTS: B 4 (Doughman 2); C 8 (Santoro 3, Myers 3)
STEALS: B 6 (Burton 3); C 14 (Santoro 10)
BLOCKED SHOTS: B 3; C 10 (Theetge 6)
TURNOVERS: B 19; C 16
Matt covers high school sports for the News Journal. Follow him on Twitter @mattsports.