Pirates Outlast Patriots in OT


by Amy Mortimer

by Amy Mortimer

(BLUFFTON) – A white hot start was nearly derailed by a tough fourth quarter but Bluffton hung on for a 61-58 overtime victory over Patrick Henry Tuesday night. Early in the second quarter, Bluffton led by as many as 17 however the Pirates turned the ball over 7 times in the fourth quarter which opened the door for a big Patriot comeback. In overtime, Bluffton made 6/8 free throws and played some stout defense to secure the win.  Bluffton improved to 11-3 on the season while Patrick Henry fell to 3-10 with the loss. Bluffton had terrific balance with four players in double digits: Mason Soper led Bluffton with 19 points, Luke Denecker 16, Jared Piercefield 11 and Levi Hohenbrink 10.  Kaiden McGraw from PH was the high game scorer with 25 points.

Photos by Amy Mortimer : https://amymortimer.smugmug.com/BHS-Basketball-vs-Patrick-Henry/

Keys to the Game

Mason Soper exploded for 14 first half points including a breakaway dunk.  Soper was unstoppable on the defensive end as he grabbed five steals and swatted away four shots. The junior made two 3’s on his way to 9 second quarter points.  Levi Hohenbrink scored 7 first quarter points giving Bluffton another boost to start the game. The Pirates forced 5 first quarter turnovers as Patrick Henry could not figure out Bluffton’s half court trap, with Soper on the point. 

BHS shot a sizzling 7/14 beyond the arc in the first half but fell off drastically down the stretch, missing their last 7 attempts I n the second half and overtime.

Trailing 42-32 heading into the fourth quarter, Patrick Henry cranked up the defensive pressure and offensive urgency.  The Patriots turned Bluffton over 7 times in the final 8 minutes creating extra possessions.  The much taller Patriots (starters included 6’7 and 6’3) wiped the glass clean, nabbing 36 rebounds compared to just 25 for Bluffton.  The Pirates nursed a 49-42 lead with 2:15 remaining but a 6-0 Patriot spurt made it 49-48 with 1:25 left. Denecker scored in the lane to push the lead to 51-48.  McGraw nailed a three pointer to tie the game with :28 left.  Denecker answered in the lane with just 5 ticks left however Patrick Henry passed the length of the court to 6’7 Garrett Schwiebert who fed McGraw streaking down the middle for a layup to tie the game as the horn sounded.

Denecker put Bluffton ahead in overtime.  Luke shot just 1/9 from three point land tonight but shot 4/5 inside the arc in the fourth quarter and OT.  His shot in the lane staked Bluffton to a two point lead. PH tied it up on a layup.  Soper stole the ball on the next Patriot possession and fed Hohenbrink on a fast break who was fouled.  Levi sank both shots for a 57-55 lead with 1:51 left.  Piercefield and McCormick Ault swiped Patriot passes on their next two possessions and Piercefield made two free throws to push the lead out to 59-55 with 32 seconds left. McGraw banked in a long three pointer to make it 59-58 with 22 ticks left.

Denecker was fouled and missed both free throws but Patriot Hunter Diem also missed two free throws with Soper grabbing the board and getting fouled.  Mason drained both free throws giving BHS a three point cushion.  Piercefield came up with one last steal to end the game. 

Individual Pirate Statistics
Mason Soper – 19 points, three 3s, 5 rebounds, 5 steals, 4 blocks
Luke Denecker – 16 points, one 3, 9 rebounds
Jared Piercefield – 11 points, one 3, 4 rebounds, 2 steals
Levi Hohenbrink – 10 points, one 3, 1 rebound
Baylor Garmatter – 3 points, one 3, 2 rebounds
McCormick Ault – 2 points, 4 rebounds, 1 steal

Team Statistics

2FG 11/24 (46%)
3FG 7/21 (33%)
Total FG 18/45 (40%)
Free Throws 18/24 (75%)
Rebounds 25
Turnovers 11

Patrick Henry
2FG 11/34 (32%)
3FG 9/24 (38%)
Total FG 20/58 (34%)
Free Throws 9/14 (64%)
Rebounds 36
Turnovers 17

What’s Next

Bluffton will host Columbus Grove Friday in a huge Northwest Conference game. The Bulldogs are the only unbeaten team in league play with a 3-0 mark.  Bluffton enters tied with Crestview and Lincolnview at 3-1 in NWC games.

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