Balanced Rockets Offset Denecker's 31


McCormick Ault (by Amy Mortimer)

McCormick Ault (by Amy Mortimer)

(PANDORA) – Last season, Pandora-Gilboa lived the stuff dreams are made of as the Rocket boys basketball team glided all the way to Columbus to the state semifinals.  While many of the top players graduated off that squad, the returning Rockets learned lessons that are guiding them through the 2019 season. One of those lessons was balance and it was key in a 66-54 victory over Bluffton Saturday evening in Putnam County.  While Pirate Luke Denecker was the top player on the court totaling 31 points, Pandora enjoyed five players scoring 9 or more points in the victory. Bluffton dropped their second straight game and is 12-6 with four regular season games remaining.  Pandora-Gilboa is 10-6.

Bluffton held a slim 10-8 lead late in the first quarter until Walker Mackie banked in a long three pointer at the buzzer to give PG the lead.  A quick 6-0 burst in the middle of the second quarter gave the hosts a 22-14 advantage.  Mason Soper scored the last bucket of the half to cut the lead to 24-18. 

With both teams playing their second game in two days, a full court press was not implemented successfully.  PG was comfortable in their man to man defense.  Denecker scored 8 third quarter points and with 2:40 left in the quarter, cut the Rocket lead to 36-32.  Pandora-Gilboa scored on their next four trips down the floor and finished the quarter on a 9-2 run to take a 45-34 lead into the fourth.  Bluffton pushed their defensive pressure out to full court but Pandora was able to beat the coverage and scored 20 points in the final 8 minutes, connecting on 9/11 shots from the field.  In the second half, the Rockets made 12 of 15 two point goals and 5 of 7 three pointers.  PG owned the boards, taking home a 28-18 advantage for the game.

Riley Larcom led Pandora-Gilboa with 16 points and was joined in double figures by Jared Breece (13), Austin Niese (13), and Travis Maag (10).

Game photos by Amy Mortimer :

Individual Bluffton Statistics

Luke Denecker – 31 points, 10/17 on 2s, 2/6 on 3s, 3 rebounds, 1 steal
Mason Soper – 11 points, 4 rebounds, 3 blocks
Jared Piercefield – 8 points, 1 steal, 1 block
Tyson Shutler – 2 points
Eli Lemley – 2 points

Team Statistics

2FG – 19/35
3FG – 3/14
Free Throws – 7/9
Rebounds – 13
Turnovers – 9

2FG – 20/32
3FG – 6/11
Free Throws – 8/15
Rebounds – 28
Turnovers – 14

What’s Next

Bluffton has Friday night off and will host Riverdale on Saturday evening.  The Falcons are 12-5 and have won seven straight games.


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