Van Buren 54 Bluffton 46


Mason Soper (by Troy Breidenbach)

Mason Soper (by Troy Breidenbach)

(BLUFFTON) - In a game that resembled the meeting in Week 2 of the Football season, Van Buren roughed up the Bluffton boys basketball team in a 54-46 victory Saturday evening.  The teams combined to shoot 47 free throws, with several fouls left on the court uncalled.  Van Buren improved to 9-6 with the win, Bluffton fell to 6-8.  

Van Buren’s starting front court of 6’5 Kade Steveson, 6’5 Matt Iliff and 6’3 Nic Beitzel patrolled the paint and were free to be as physical as they liked.  The result for the Pirate offense was several affected shots and some free throws. The Pirates connected on just 9/35 attempts (26%) but capitalized at the charity stripe making 19/25 (76%).  

Bluffton built an early lead of 16-8 late in the first quarter but the Knights slowly chipped away and took a 23-22 advantage into the half.  Kaleb Jefferson led the offense in the first two quarters scoring 12 of his game high 17 points.  

In the third quarter, Van Buren’s point guard Matthew Ayers got rolling after being held to just two first half points.  The senior scored all eight points in an 8-0 run to pushed the Black Knight lead out to 35-26.  Bluffton scored the next six points from Jefferson and a Cole Fruchey three pointer to cut the lead to 38-32 heading into the fourth.  

The Van Buren big men started to wear down the Pirates in the fourth quarter as they collected four offensive rebounds in the quarter and turned them into eight second chance points.  Jefferson found himself in foul trouble and Mason Ault did good work down low grabbing four rebounds and scoring six points including a 4/4 effort from the free throw line.

The Pirates did not go down without a fight as they scrapped, pushed and fought for every possession in the game’s final minutes.  Sophomores Mason Soper and Jared Piercefield both scored six points a piece in the last stanza as Soper drained two 3’s and Piercefield continually got into the lane for scores and free throws.  Piercefield dropped in a baby hook shot to get Bluffton within 51-46 with 53 seconds left.  Van Buren missed both free throws on the other end and Soper lined up another ‘3’ which would cut the lead to two.  Despite contact during the shot, no foul was called and the Black Knights converted a bucket on the other end to put the game out of reach.  

Team Statistics

Bluffton       Van Buren

9/35       2s      17/27

3/11       3s      4/9

19/25     FT       8/22

26         REB      22

10         TO        14

Individual Statistics

Kaleb Jefferson - 17 points, 8 rebounds (5 offensive)

Jared Piercefield - 8 points, 5 rebounds (2 off)

Mason Soper - 8 points, 2 rebounds

Mason Ault - 6 points, 4 rebounds (3 off)

Dakota Bricker - 4 points

Cole Fruchey - 3 points, 7 rebounds (2 off)

Game photos by Troy Breidenbach :

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