Boys Hoops Closes Reg Season With Win

By

By Marv Foster

By Marv Foster

(ADA) - A strong fourth quarter pushed Bluffton to a 54-45 victory over Ada to close out the regular season.  BHS ends the year at 15-7, Ada heads into the tournament with a 5-17 mark.  While the hosts had the poorer record coming in, the Bulldogs made a game of it for three quarters and never allowed Bluffton to completely pull away. 

Neither team established control of the game in the first half.  Bluffton led 16-8 at one point but only led 22-20 at the break.  Jared Piercefield and Luke Denecker each scored 8 first half points.  Denecker and Mason Soper each were saddled with two fouls early in the half and played wisely to ensure they could stay on the court as much as possible. Soper was tasked with helping control 6’5 Connor Frazier of the Bulldogs.  Frazier scored 11 second half points but was limited to just two in the first half and was contained for the evening nicely. 

The teams remained mired in a dog fight in the third quarter as both scored 14 points to keep the Bluffton edge at just two points heading into the final quarter.  Junior Baylor Garmatter had himself a quarter, scoring 5 points and bringing energy to the Pirates. Garmatter grabbed 4 rebounds in the quarter alone, including three on the offensive end to keep possessions alive.  He also had a steal and ensuing assist to Piercefield midway through the third. 

Much like their Hardin County counterparts from last week, Ada went physical in the fourth quarter, resulting in 20 Pirate free throws over the final eight minutes.  While BHS started strong making their first five attempts in the quarter, it was a limp to the finish line as the winners connected on just 5 of their final 14 attempts.  Regardless, Bluffton forced five Ada turnovers in the final eight minutes and limited the Bulldog offensive looks down the stretch.  Denecker scored 9 of his game high 20 points including a 5/7 effort at the line. 

The Pirates attempted an incredible 37 free throws for the game, making 20 of them.  Ada made just 8/12 in comparison.

Team Statistics (unofficial)

Bluffton

2FG 9/30 (30%)

3FG 4/13 (31%)

Free Throws 24/37 (65%)

Rebounds 25

Turnovers 9

Ada

2FG 11/23 (48%)

3FG 5/20 (25%)

Free Throws 8/12 (67%)

Rebounds 22

Turnovers 14

Individual Pirate Statistics (Unofficial)

Luke Denecker - 20 points, two 3s, 8/10 free throws, 4 rebounds

Jared Piercefield - 16 points, one 3, 4 rebounds

Mason Soper - 9 points, 8 rebounds, 2 blocks

Baylor Garmatter - 6 points, 7 rebounds (5 offensive), 3 steals

Levi Hohenbrink - 3 points, one 3

McCormick Ault - 2 rebounds

What’s Next

Bluffton will face the winner of Fairview & Tinora at 8:00 at Miller City High School on Friday March 1 in their opening OHSAA tournament game.

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