Huge Fourth Quarter Pushes BHS to Districts


Baylor Garmatter Fights for a bucket (by Marv Foster)

Baylor Garmatter Fights for a bucket (by Marv Foster)

(MILLER CITY) – A rough and tumble affair ended with a huge fourth quarter for Bluffton as they erupted for 29 points in the final 8 minutes to defeat Fairview 58-49 in the OHSAA Sectional Final.  Four Pirates scored in double figures led by Luke Denecker’s 17 points.  Mason Soper and Jared Piercefield each scored 12 and Baylor Garmatter 11.

Bluffton did a nice job forcing Fairview into turnovers using modest halfcourt pressure in the first half.  In fact, Mason Soper stole the ball on the game’s opening possession and laid it in to start the scoring. While the Apaches turned the rock over 9 times in the first 2 quarters, the Pirates could not capitalize on the offensive end and trailed 22-20 at the halftime break. In the third quarter, Fairview found a few holes in the Pirate 3-2 zone defense and outscored BHS 13-9 to take a 35-29 lead heading into the fourth.

Fairview played a physical version of defense from the opening tip.  The game was ragged at times and Bluffton was in the bonus early in the second quarter.  The Apaches continued to be aggressive in the second half and in the fourth quarter the game opened up for Bluffton as the Fairview fouls finally caught up with them. 

BHS poured in 29 fourth quarter points after scoring 29 in the first three quarters combined.  The Pirates shot an incredible 19/22 from the free throw line over the final stanza.  Bluffton extended their defensive pressure to full court and Fairview could not handle it.  The black and gold squad turned the ball over 8 times in the fourth quarter alone leading directly to 7 Pirate points along the way.  Fairview opened a 37-29 lead but the Pirates went on an 18-4 run to take a 47-41 lead with 230 left. Garmatter scored 7 during the run, coming up with 2 steals and receiving an extremely hard foul that landed him on his back along the way.  Soper scored 6 in the run, Piercefield 4 and Denecker 1.  Luke was 6/6 from the line in the final minute and Levi Hohenbrink was ¾ in the same stretch.

The win matches Bluffton with Ottawa-Glandorf who dispatched Spencerville by a score of 80-20 earlier Friday evening.  OG defeated the Pirates 76-55 early in January.

Team Statistics (unofficial)
2FG 12/24 (50%)
3FG 3/13 (23%)
Free Throws 25/31 (81%)
Rebounds 21
Turnovers 13

2FG 13/24 (54%)
3FG 6/24 (25%)
Free Throws 5/8 (63%)
Rebounds 19
Turnovers 19

Individual Pirate Statistics (unofficial)
Luke Denecker – 17 points, two 3s, 9/12 free throws, 5 rebounds
Jared Piercefield – 12 points, one 3, ¾ free throws, 3 rebounds
Mason Soper – 12 points, 7 rebounds, 2 blocks
Baylor Garmatter – 11 points, 5/6 free throws, 5 rebounds
Levi Hohenbrink – 5 points
McCormick Ault – 1 rebound

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