Blanche leads WWU to NCAA Div. I title game

HIGHLAND HEIGHTS, Ky. — Former Ashland High all-star Rory Blanche scored a team-high 16 points to lead Western Washington past Stonehill College, 71-66, in the NCAA Division II national semifinals Thursday at the Bank of Kentucky Center.

The victory earned the Vikings their first-ever national championship game appearance.

Blanche, the 2007 Skyline Conference player of the year, hit 7 of 10 shots, including his only 3-point attempt, while pulling down six rebounds in 22 minutes of action for Western Washington. The senior forward had nine points and five boards in the second half to help the Vikings open up a 20-point lead.

Blanche also was clutch for Western Washington, hitting a jump shot with 1 minute, 41 seconds to go and dishing out an assist less than a minute later to help the Vikings fight off Stonehill's last-gasp rally.

The NCAA Division II national championship game will be played Saturday at the same site.

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