Former Ashland player Blanche helps W. Washington win title

HIGHLAND HEIGHTS, Ky. — Former Ashland High player Rory Blanche had nine points and five rebounds to help lift Western Washington to a 72-65 victory over Montevallo, Ala., in the Division II national championship game at Northern Kentucky University on Saturday.

John Allen paced five Vikings in double figures with 14 points. Blanche, who led Western Washington this season in scoring (15.9 points per game) and rebounding (6.9 per game), added two steals and a block.

Western Washington (31-5) held on behind Allen, one of the nation's most accurate free-throw shooters at 88.7 percent. He made four in a row to end Montevallo's late comeback.

Both teams were making their first title game appearances. Western Washington lost in the semifinals in 2001. Montevallo (29-8) reached the Elite Eight in 2006 and 2007, losing its opening game both times.

Western Washington's Zach Henifin scored 12 points, eight of them during a 17-4 run that broke open a close game — five ties, 16 lead changes.

D.J. Rivera led Montevallo with 20 points. Antoine Davis added 16 in a guard-driven offense that got little from its front line.

Share This Story