Pirates Win Title, Jefferson MVP


Kaleb Jefferson (by Marvin Foster)

Kaleb Jefferson (by Marvin Foster)

(BLUFFTON) - Fueled by a 17-0 run spanning the first and second quarters and some serious defense, Bluffton won the McDonald’s Holiday Tournament for the fourth consecutive year with a 36-23 victory over Arlington.  Pirate senior Kaleb Jefferson was named Tournament Most Valuable Player after scoring 34 points in two Bluffton victories.  

A night after scoring 81 points, Arlington was held to 11 in the first half and 12 in the second as the Bluffton defense locked down tight for the second straight contest. Bluffton utilized a box and one defense, shadowing Arlington sharp shooter Jaret Vermilion.  Vermilion connected on a three pointer late in the fourth quarter for his only points of the game.  

Arlington bolted out to a 9-4 lead but Bluffton put in the next 17 points to take a 21-9 advantage behind the play of Jefferson.  The senior scored 10 of the 17 points in the run, spinning his way through the lane and using his quickness to get to the rim.  Jared Piercefield scored the last four points of the half including a buzzer beater in the lane that went off glass, giving Bluffton a 25-11 halftime lead.

The second half became a game of cat and mouse with the Pirates trying to maintain the lead and Arlington scrapping for anything they could get offensively.  Bluffton scored just four points in the third quarter getting buckets from Jefferson and Cole Fruchey but also limited Arlington just six points to maintain a 29-17 lead heading into the fourth.  At no point did the lead get into single digits in the fourth quarter. The Pirates did not do themselves any favors down the stretch at the foul line making just 5 of 15 attempts. But with Arlington’s cold shooting and Bluffton’s defensive pressure the win was still at hand.  Arlington was led in scoring by post man Ivan Berry with 15 points.  Only two other Red Devils scored in the game.

For the game, Arlington made just 10 of 38 field goal attempts (26%).  From long range, the Red Devils were 2/19 (11%).  Bluffton was marginally better at 10/34 overall (29%) and 1 / 5 (20%) from three point land.  Both teams collected 24 rebounds.  Bluffton had 12 turnovers compared to 8 for Arlington. BHS held an enormous free throw advantage making 13/25 attempts compared to just 1 / 4 for AHS.

Jefferson was joined on the all tournament team by teammates Jared Piercefield and Cole Fruchey.  Jaret Vermilion and Ivan Berry represented Arlington, Noah Otto from Miller City and Eric Ritter from Cory Rawson rounded out the all tournament team.  In the consolation game, Miller City defeated Cory Rawson 68-51. This was Miller City’s first appearance in the tournament replacing long time participant Allen East.  

Individual Pirate Stats:

Kaleb Jefferson - 16 points, 11 rebounds

Jared Piercefield - 8 points, 3 rebounds

Cole Fruchey - 7 points, 3 rebounds, one ‘3’

Mason Soper - 3 points, 4 rebounds

Dakota Bricker - 2 points

Bluffton is now 4-3 on the season and will host Ottawa-Glandorf on Saturday January 6 in their next game.

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