WAPAKONETA — Bluffton’s defensive scheme nearly worked to perfection.
The Pirates wanted to hold down the big scoring threats for Wapakoneta and force other players to step up.
Through the first half of Tuesday’s nonleague boys’ basketball game, Bluffton’s ploy was successful.
However, in the second half, Wapakoneta senior Adam Scott finally got his touches.
After a six-point first-half performance, Scott took it over in the second half, ending with a game-high 22 points, as Wapakoneta pulled away for a 61-54 victory over visiting Bluffton.
For the game, Scott was 10 of 12 shooting from the field. Along with Scott, teammate Aaron Good poured in 17 points, with 15 points coming in the second half. Sophomore Garrett Siefring came off the bench for Wapakoneta and scored 10 points, including three 3-pointers.
With the win, Wapakoneta improves to 8-2. Bluffton slips to 8-2.
Bluffton had three players score in double figures. Mason Soper led Bluffton with 17 points, all coming in the second half. Soper also pulled down nine rebounds. Luke Denecker had 14 points (two 3-pointers), six rebounds and four assists. Jared Piercefield added 13 points for the Pirates.
After trailing Bluffton by three points at the halftime break, Wapakoneta came out in the second half, claimed the lead for the first time on the night and then pulled away for the victory.
“I’m not sure if it helped, but we hit our last two (shots before the end of the first half),” Wapakoneta coach Doug Davis said. “They were playing some different defenses on us. But I thought our guys did a good job of recognizing of what to do, especially there in the second half.”
In the second half, the Redskins were 14 of 22 shooting from the field.
For the game, Wapakoneta shot 49 percent. Bluffton shot 47 percent from the floor.
“They can shoot it; and they were able to spread us out,” Bluffton coach Todd Boblitt said. “The (Wapak) guys who we wanted to make shots, they were able to do that tonight. But they really got going in the third quarter.”
Bluffton jumped out quickly, pulling out to a 13-9 lead by the end of the first quarter. Levi Hohenbrink (eight points) canned two 3-pointers to ignite the Pirates.
Bluffton slipped out with the three-point lead by the break. Denecker knocked down two 3-pointers to help lead the Pirates.
The Pirates had a one-point lead, 24-23, in the waning moments of the first half. However, right before the buzzer, Piercefield was fouled while attempting a 3-pointer. Piercefield made 2 of 3 free throws to give the Pirates the three-point halftime advantage. Piercefield led Bluffton with 10 first-half points. Denecker and Hohenbrink each scored eight points in the first half.
Wapakoneta came out strong in the second half.
The Redskins claimed their first lead of the game, 29-26, when Scott hit a 3-pointer early in the third quarter.
Wapakoneta eventually pulled out to a 41-36 lead by the third stop. Good scored eight points, while Scott scored seven in that third stanza for the Redskins.
“In the first half, they (Bluffton) were guarding three guys, and the two guys they weren’t guarding, they were just getting help,” Davis said. “It made it a little tougher, but at the same time I didn’t think we were doing a very good job of looking in his (Scott’s) direction when we got the ball on the perimeter. In the second half, I thought we did a better job of doing that.”
In the fourth quarter, Wapakoneta was 7 of 9 shooting from the floor.
For the game, Wapakoneta held the slight edge on the boards, 29-26.
Both teams took care of the basketball. Bluffton turned the ball over eight times, while Wapakoneta turned it over just three times on the night.
“They did a good job, defensively,” Boblitt said about Wapakoneta. “Their length bothered us, inside with Scott and Good; and they were physical on the perimeter.”
Reach The Lima News sports department at 567-242-0468.