BLUFFTON — Sometimes it just comes down to making shots.
Bluffton came out and clamped down, defensively, against Arlington.
For the most part, the Pirates handled the Red Devils’ pressure. But Bluffton struggled at the offensive end for most of the game.
Bluffton’s shooting touch finally came back in the fourth quarter, but it proved to be a little too late as Arlington slipped past Bluffton 50-41 in a Division IV sectional title game in girls basketball at Bluffton University Saturday night.
Arlington will play Kalida (17-7) in a Division IV district semifinal at Ottawa-Glandorf on Thursday, Feb. 27. Tip-off for that district semifinal at O-G will be around 8 p.m.
In Saturday’s second sectional title game at Bluffton University, Kalida rolled past North Baltimore, 57-27.
On Saturday, Libby Schaadt led Bluffton (14-9) with 19 points and 19 rebounds. Laykin Garmatter had 10 points, including two 3-pointers.
On the night, Bluffton shot just 31 percent from the field.
“I’ve never questioned this group’s effort,” Bluffton coach Eric Garmatter said. “They give me the effort I need, every day. Their effort has always been there all year. I know they aren’t trying to miss the shots on purpose. … They play very hard. I love this group. They far exceeded any expectations this season.”
Hailey Essinger led Arlington (18-5) with 18 points and seven rebounds. Lindsay Dodds had 15 points and five boards for the Red Devils.
Bluffton got up early to start the game, and eventually slipped out with a hard-fought 13-9 lead by the end of the first quarter.
Schaadt led the way for Bluffton with nine first-quarter points. Dodds led Arlington with five points.
The Red Devils claimed their first lead of the night, 14-13, on an inside move by Essinger, at the 6:46 mark of the second quarter. That bucket ignited a 12-4 run to end the second quarter for Arlington, as the Red Devils went into the halftime break with a 24-17 lead.
The Pirates struggled in the second quarter, as they connected on just 1 of 12 from the floor. Five Bluffton turnovers in the second quarter helped pave the way for some easy transition baskets for the Red Devils.
For the game, Bluffton turned the ball over 12 times.
Arlington was 8 of 19 from the field in the first half for 42 percent. Bluffton was 6 of 26 for 23-percent shooting from the field.
Bluffton’s shooting woes continued in the second half.
In the third quarter, the Pirates were just 3 of 15 from the field. Arlington pulled out to a 33-23 advantage by the end of the third.
Bluffton battled back.
With 3:44 left to play in regulation, Schaadt scored on a strong move down low, to cut the deficit to 4, 36-32.
Then with 2:55 to go in the game, Schaadt scored again down low to cut it to 2, 38-36.
However, Arlington was able to put the game away down the stretch.
Kalida 57, North Baltimore 27
In Saturday’s second sectional championship game at Bluffton University, Kalida pulled away from North Baltimore in the second half for a lopsided 30-point victory.
Kalida led 17-9 at the end of the first quarter, and 27-21 at the halftime break.
In the second half, Kalida got some separation.
The Wildcats pulled out to a 42-26 lead by the end of the third quarter.
It got worse for North Baltimore as the second half progressed.
Kalida outscored North Baltimore in the second half, 30-6.
Grace Klausing led Kalida (17-7) and all scorers with 25 points, including four 3-pointers. McKayla Maag added six points with two treys for the Wildcats.
Kalida coach Adam Huber pointed to his team’s defensive effort as the key to the big second half.
“We thought about what we were going to do, defensively (at halftime),” Huber said. “… Were we going to stay with the full-court press? … Or, maybe we could turn them over in a half-court press. So, we decided to start the second half with our typical full-court pressure, and the girls just locked in.”
Reach The Lima News sports department at 567-242-0451.