Denecker Drops 27, Pirates Beat McComb


Luke Denecker by Amy Mortimer

Luke Denecker by Amy Mortimer

(BLUFFTON) – Luke Denecker erupted for 19 second half points in a 65-50 boys basketball triumph over McComb Tuesday night.  Mason Soper notched a double-double with 14 points and 10 rebounds and Jared Piercefield was the third Pirate in double figures with 12 points. Bluffton improved to 12-4 on the season while McComb fell to 4-8.

Game photos by Amy Mortimer :

Game Notes

Originally, this tilt was to be played the first week of the season but the Panthers were busy winning a state football title at the time which pushed the game to late January.

Despite a sluggish start that saw McComb take a 7-3 lead, Bluffton recovered to post 22 first quarter points. Soper was active with 8 points including back to back three pointers.  Levi Hohenbrink scored his only six points of the game in the first stanza as well. Bluffton’s 22-16 lead after one shrunk to 32-29 at the half.

McComb’s Tyler Durfey stole the first half show, scoring 14 points, including three 3s.  Denecker, Piercefield, Baylor Garmatter and Tyson Shutler gave some attention to the McComb sharp shooter and limited him to just three second half points.  Bluffton employed a full court press in the third quarter that forced five McComb turnovers and allowed the Pirates to take control of the game for good, eventually taking a 44-34 lead

Denecker got rolling in the third quarter, scoring on the team’s first possession and then converting a layup off one of Piercefield’s three third quarter steals.  Luke scored five points in the final 45 seconds on a jumper in the lane followed by a wide open ‘3’, again assisted by Piercefield.  Another Denecker three ball gave Bluffton a 54-38 lead on the first possession of the fourth quarter.  Piercefield found Denecker open again outside the arc with 2:20 to go for his final points of the night.

Soper followed up his eight point first quarter with a six point third quarter. The 6’3 junior was active in the paint, battling 6’4 Jared Dillon.  Soper routinely got to the foul line in the third, connecting on 4/5 from the stripe and adding a jump hook as well. 

The Pirates expanded their rotation in the second and third quarters utilizing Alec Deardorff (3 pointer), Tyson Shutler and Andrew Lovett to battle foul trouble and fatigue.

Individual Pirate Statistics

Luke Denecker – 27 points, five 3s, 6 rebounds
Mason Soper – 15 points, 10 rebounds, 1 block
Jared Piercefield – 12 points, 5 rebounds, 3 steals, 3 assists
Levi Hohenbrink – 6 points, two 3s
Baylor Garmatter – 3 points, 2 rebounds, 1 steal
Alec Deardorff – 3 points, one 3
McCormick Ault – 1 rebound, 1 charge taken
Tyson Shutler – 1 rebound

Team Statistics

2FG – 11/22 (50%)
3FG – 11/28 (39%)
Free Throws – 10/14 (71%)
Rebounds 25
Turnovers 8

2FG – 12/27 (44%)
3FG – 6/16 (38%)
Free Throws 8/14 (51%)
Rebounds 23
Turnovers 8

What’s Next

Bluffton travels to Allen East Friday evening for a freshman/JV/Varsity tripleheader tipping at 5:00pm.  The Mustangs are 8-6 overall and 2-3 in NWC play and coming off back to back wins over Spencerville and Hardin Northern.

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