BLUFFTON — Bluffton had a challenge at both ends from Kenton’s 6-foot-2 Lindsey Smith.
But the Pirates’ 5-10 Libby Schaadt found a way to deliver.
Bluffton pulled away with a 50-35 girls basketball victory Thursday night against Kenton.
Kenton’s Smith had a nice night at both ends with 10 points, five rebounds and five blocks.
Schaadt countered with 17 points and 10 rebounds.
But Schaadt certainly had a challenge with Smith inside.
“My coach told me to stay behind her and push her off the block and that’s what I tried to do,” Schaadt said. … “(On offense) she blocked me a few times, so I had to figure out what moves I would make to get around her.’’
Bluffton’s Laykin Garmatter added 12 points with a pair of 3-pointers.
Kylie Stackhouse added five points and 10 rebounds for the Pirates.
Kylie Monday had nine points and six rebounds.
Bluffton is 9-1.
“We took a little step forward,” Bluffton coach Eric Garmatter said. … “Everybody was solid for us.’’
Kenton is 3-4.
Jenna Manns and Laney Harpel both scored six with two 3-pointers each for Kenton.
Bluffton won the boards, 35-26.
Both teams had streaks of turnovers, as Kenton had 18 and Bluffton had 17.
Bluffton led 18-10 after the first quarter and 29-23 at the half.
The Pirates’ pushed their lead to 43-30 after three.
Kenton made a 5-0 run to start the final quarter to get within 43-35 with 7:15 to play.
But Bluffton was double-teaming Smith inside and the Kenton wasn’t able to consistently dump her the ball down low.
Bluffton pulled away at the foul in the final four minutes.
“We turned the ball over quite a bit in the first half,” Kenton coach Jay Bostelman said. “We hit a couple shots to make a run, but then we couldn’t hit shots (down the stretch). And they made a little bit of an adjustment with their defense and had a little help (on Smith) down deep. That made it a little bit harder getting it into her.’’
Bluffton’s variety of presses helped the Pirates go out to a quick 14-5 lead.
Bluffton forced Kenton into eight first-quarter turnovers and the Pirates led 18-10 after the first quarter.
Schaadt had 10 in the first quarter for Bluffton.
Schaadt was scoring in transition, along with slipping inside with quick, sweeping moves to the basket.
Added coach Garmatter, “She’s (Schaadt) had a good year for us. She’s quick and she finishing now more than what she was earlier in the year. And she opens it up for us on the outside and she gets a lot of rebounds for us.’’
In the second quarter, the Wildcats looked inside to 6-foot-2 Smith.
Smith had six points in the second and Kenton ripped off an 11-5 burst to get within 23-21 with 2:55 left before halftime.
“She’s (Smith) a load on the inside,” coach Garmatter said. “That’s why we tried keep the (full court) pressure up and try to keep them going up and down the floor. We wanted to try to wear out a little bit, but she’s good and they have some shooters.’’
Bluffton scored the final five points of the half, all by Garmatter and Bluffton led 29-23 at the half.
Bluffton is 3-0 in the Northwest Conference, but will have another Western Buckeye League opponent, Elida, on Saturday.
“What I like about this team is we get better every single game,” Schaadt said. “No one thought after we got beat the first game that we would be getting better (like this). But we’ve shown that we’re not someone who can be easily beaten.’’
Reach The Lima News sports department at 567-242-0451.