BLUFFTON — Bluffton wants to slow the game down.
In Tuesday night’s nonconference boys basketball matchup with visiting Wapakoneta, the Pirates managed to do just that.
However, Wapakoneta sped up just enough in the latter part of the contest to pull away for a 51-41 victory.
Adam Scott, a 6-foot-5 post player, led Wapakoneta (8-3) and all scorers with 17 points, and also had a game-high eight rebounds. Jace Copeland, who is coming back from a serious football injury, scored 12 points, including two 3-pointers and had five boards. Gage Schenk added nine points and dished out five assists for Wapakoneta.
Jared Piercefield led Bluffton (4-5) with 11 points and three assists. Teammates Kaleb Jefferson and Mason Soper each scored 10 points. Jefferson pulled down six rebounds.
Wapakoneta coach Doug Davis gave credit to Bluffton’s ability to slow things down.
“On the offensive end, they were taking a lot of time, and defensively they were playing different things. They played some junk defenses against us to throw us off – which it did. … It worked,” Davis said. “The second half, I thought we were more patient and eventually found open shots.”
There were three lead changes in the first quarter, as the game was knotted 11 apiece by the first stop. Copeland hit two 3-pointers in the first eight minutes of action.
“It’s real good to have him back,” Davis said about Copeland. “He’s still limping around a little bit, but he’s going to get better and get stronger. Defensively, he does a good job of covering up any mistakes out there.”
It was a nip-and-tuck second quarter. Wapakoneta took an 18-15 lead on a 3-pointer by Noah Ambos (three points) at the 1:45 mark.
However, Bluffton came battling back.
Soper hit a 3-pointer right before the halftime buzzer to give the Pirates a 22-20 lead at the break. Bluffton was 5-of-8 shooting from the floor in the second quarter. Jefferson led the Pirates with eight first-half points. As a team, Bluffton shot 9-of-17 from the field in the first half. Copeland also scored eight points for the Redskins in the first two quarters of action.
The score was knotted three times in the third frame.
Aaron Good (six points) kept Wapakoneta in the hunt, canning two 3-pointers in the third quarter.
At the 3:16 mark of the third stanza, the Redskins pulled out to a 32-27 lead on Good’s second trey of the night.
Wapakoneta’s largest lead in the third stanza was seven. The Redskins led 37-32 at the third stop.
Wapakoneta pushed its lead to 41-34 on an inside move by Schenk at the 4:20 mark.
The Redskins extended their lead to 45-36 on a free throw by Schenk with 1:25 left to play.
For the game, Wapakoneta shot 43 percent from the field. Bluffton countered with 57- percent shooting. The Redskins had 12 more shots attempts than the Pirates.
Both teams handled the ball well, as Wapakoneta committed just five turnovers, while Bluffton turned the ball over 10 times.
Wapakoneta controlled the boards, 24-13.
“We were more patient on offense and found things open,” Davis said about his team’s second-half performance. “We looked around and passed the ball a little more, instead of just taking quick shots.”
Reach The Lima News sports department at 567-242-0451.