Pirate Rally Falls Short


Kaleb Jefferson by Troy Breidenbach

Kaleb Jefferson by Troy Breidenbach

(MILLER CITY) - A game that started very well for the Bluffton boy’s basketball team slipped away in the third quarter and the deficit was too large to overcome.  Paulding dealt Bluffton a 42-35 defeat in the OHSAA Sectional Tournament Tuesday evening to end the Pirate season at 10-13.  The game was the final one for seniors Kaleb Jefferson, Dakota Bricker, Joel Piercefield and Cole Fruchey. 

Tied early in the game at 8-8, Bluffton scored eight straight points to take a 16-8 lead just minutes into the second quarter.  Kaleb Jefferson owned the paint, scoring 7 of the Pirate points at the juncture.  Unfortunately, Jefferson was whistled for his second personal foul and took to the bench with 6:05 left in the half.  The Panthers responded by outscoring Bluffton 13-4 up until halftime.  Paulding drained a three pointer with 3:29 left and a foul was called on Bluffton during the shot giving Paulding another possession.  Panther sharpshooter Jaret Miller made his second three pointer in twenty seconds for a six point Panther possession and PHS took a 21-20 lead.  No team would score over the final 2:30 of the half. 

After scoring the last six points of the half, the Panthers posted the first eight points of the third quarter and suddenly had built a 29-20 lead.  Bluffton’s offense was stymied by the Panther 2-3 zone defense which collapsed on Jefferson and Mason Soper inside.  Jefferson finally broke the scoring drought for Bluffton but Paulding dominated the third quarter by a 14-4 advantage. 

Bluffton fell behind 37-24 but ripped off eight straight points to cut the lead to 37-32.  Cole Fruchey connected on a jump shot and Jefferson followed with six free throws.  The Pirates were pressing the Panthers and created three fourth quarter turnovers to stay in the game. Jefferson grabbed an offensive rebound and scored it while being fouled.  The following free throw cut the Panther lead to 38-35 with 1:54 left.  Following a Panther turnover, the Pirates had a chance to tie it up.  Fruchey was off the mark on a three pointer but Soper grabbed the carom.  Piercefield missed a jumper and the ball bounced around.  The Pirates called timeout just as the ball squirted out to Dakota Bricker who had an open look for a three pointer.  Bluffton turned the ball over after the turnover and Paulding connected on four straight free throws to seal the win. 

Team Statistics

Bluffton     Paulding

 10/26     2s   7/19

 2/13       3s   5/17

 9/14       FT   13/15

26 (12)    REB   22 (8 off)

10            TO     8

Individual Pirate Statistics

Kaleb Jefferson - 17 points, 7 rebounds, 1 block

Dakota Bricker - 5 points, one 3

Cole Fruchey - 4 points, 3 reb

Mason Soper - 4 points, 6 reb, 1 block

Jared Piercefield - 3 points, one 3, 5 reb

Mason Ault - 2 points, 3 reb


Baylor Garmatter - 2 reb

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