Girls basketball: Bluffton gets rolling to open tourney

BLUFFTON — Bluffton ran through a few first-half jitters before it got in sync.

And once Bluffton established its defensive intensity, it was able to pull away with a 65-30 victory over Continental in the opening round of the Division IV girls basketball sectional Thursday at Bluffton University.

Bluffton also did a better job taking the ball straight to the basket.

Bluffton freshman center Ayla Grandey led the way with a career-high 23 points and nine rebounds for the Pirates. She hit 10 of 12 from the field.

Kylie Stackhouse added 15 points and Sami Scoles scored 12.

Bluffton led 15-9 after the first quarter and 30-16 at the half.

“We didn’t play as well as we expected early on,” Stackhouse said. “After the locker room talk (at the half), we played a lot better in the second half. Defense was a big part of it (in the second half). Or defense carries over into the offensive part and that’s what helped our offense get going.’’

Bluffton is 16-6. Continental is 2-18.

“In the second half we got after it a little bit more on the defensive end,” Bluffton coach Eric Garmatter said. “We started working it inside-out. Before we shot the outside shot, we wanted to get some post touches. We were settling too much in the first half for the outside shot without even looking inside.’’

The second game of the night, Fort Jennings against Kalida, was postponed because of the ice storm.

Fort Jennings will now play Kalida at 7:30 p.m. Saturday at Bluffton.

Bluffton will play the Fort Jennings/Kalida winner for the sectional title at 7 p.m. Monday at Bluffton.

Bryn Tegenkamp led Continental with 10 points.

Continental was much smaller than Bluffton and at the defensive end used a 2-3 and 1-3-1 zone.

Bluffton missed a few outside shots early, then began to use its size advantage by going inside.

Bluffton took the lead to stay 6-5 on a Grandey layup. After a Stackhouse 12-footer, it was 8-5, Bluffton.

The Pirates led 15-9 after the first quarter.

Grandey scored six in the second quarter and had 11 at the half, all from down low.

“She (Grandey) played really well,” Stackhouse said. “I’m really proud of her. She’s a big asset to us in the post.’’

That helped Bluffton take a 30-16 lead at the half.

Of Bluffton’s 13 first-half field goals, nine game on layups.

To start the second half, Bluffton turned up its defensive man pressure and immediately forced three quick turnovers.

That helped Bluffton outscore Continental 18-9 in the third quarter to take a 48-25 lead.

Grandey scored eight in the third quarter, including hitting a 15-footer.

Bluffton forced Continental into 19 turnovers for the game.

Of Bluffton’s 28 baskets, 22 came via layups. Several of the layups came on the fastbreak.

“Obviously, we had some height on the inside and we did a good job finding the open person inside,” Garmatter said. “I thought if we pushed the ball up the floor, they were going to have a hard time keeping up with us.’’

Bluffton dominated the boards, 31-15, including 14-5 at the offensive end.

Bluffton shot 61 percent from the field and was 2 of 7 on 3-pointers.

Continental shot 37 percent from the field and was 3 of 11 on threes.

Bluffton now awaits the Fort Jennings/Kalida winner in the sectional finals on Monday at Bluffton University.

“It’s a lot more helpful now that the first game is over,” Stackhouse said.

.neFileBlock {
margin-bottom: 20px;
}
.neFileBlock p {
margin: 0px 0px 0px 0px;
}
.neFileBlock .neFile {
border-bottom: 1px dotted #aaa;
padding-bottom: 5px;
padding-top: 10px;
}
.neFileBlock .neCaption {
font-size: 85%;
}

Bluffton’s Riley Busch puts up a shot against Continental’s Tori Searfoss during Thursday’s Division IV sectional semifinal at Bluffton University. See more high school basketball photos at LimaScores.com.
https://www.limaohio.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/54/2022/02/web1_Bluffton-GBB-001-1.jpgBluffton’s Riley Busch puts up a shot against Continental’s Tori Searfoss during Thursday’s Division IV sectional semifinal at Bluffton University. See more high school basketball photos at LimaScores.com. Richard Parrish | The Lima News

Continental’s Liv Logan goes up for a shot against Bluffton’s Riley Busch during Thursday’s Division IV sectional semifinal at Bluffton University.
https://www.limaohio.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/54/2022/02/web1_Bluffton-GBB-008-1.jpgContinental’s Liv Logan goes up for a shot against Bluffton’s Riley Busch during Thursday’s Division IV sectional semifinal at Bluffton University. Richard Parrish | The Lima News

Bluffton’s Ayla Grandey attempts a shot against Continental’s Bryn Tegenkamp during Thursday’s Division IV sectional semifinal at Bluffton University.
https://www.limaohio.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/54/2022/02/web1_Bluffton-GBB-002-1.jpgBluffton’s Ayla Grandey attempts a shot against Continental’s Bryn Tegenkamp during Thursday’s Division IV sectional semifinal at Bluffton University. Richard Parrish | The Lima News

Continental’s Bryn Tegenkamp puts up a shot against Bluffton’s Ayla Grandey during Thursday’s Division IV sectional semifinal at Bluffton University.
https://www.limaohio.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/54/2022/02/web1_Bluffton-GBB-007-1.jpgContinental’s Bryn Tegenkamp puts up a shot against Bluffton’s Ayla Grandey during Thursday’s Division IV sectional semifinal at Bluffton University. Richard Parrish | The Lima News

Bluffton’s Kylie Stackhouse put up a shot against Continental’s Reese Knowles during Thursday’s Division IV sectional semifinal at Bluffton University.
https://www.limaohio.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/54/2022/02/web1_Bluffton-GBB-004-1.jpgBluffton’s Kylie Stackhouse put up a shot against Continental’s Reese Knowles during Thursday’s Division IV sectional semifinal at Bluffton University. Richard Parrish | The Lima News

Continental’s Marissa Becher puts up a shot against Bluffton’s Ayla Grandey during Thursday’s Division IV sectional semifinal at Bluffton University.
https://www.limaohio.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/54/2022/02/web1_Bluffton-GBB-010-1.jpgContinental’s Marissa Becher puts up a shot against Bluffton’s Ayla Grandey during Thursday’s Division IV sectional semifinal at Bluffton University. Richard Parrish | The Lima News

Bluffton’s Ayla Grandey puts up a shot against Continental’s Bryn Tegenkamp, left, and Liv Logan during Thursday’s Division IV sectional semifinal at Bluffton University.
https://www.limaohio.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/54/2022/02/web1_Bluffton-GBB-005-1.jpgBluffton’s Ayla Grandey puts up a shot against Continental’s Bryn Tegenkamp, left, and Liv Logan during Thursday’s Division IV sectional semifinal at Bluffton University. Richard Parrish | The Lima News
Grandey scores 23 in win against Continental

By Tom Usher

[email protected]

Reach The Lima News sports department at 567-242-0451.