Boys basketball: Bluffton tops LCC, Ottawa-Glandorf also advances in Division III

With only one senior on its roster, Bluffton’s boys basketball team began the season as a bit of a construction project.

That project is still going nicely, as illustrated by the Pirates’ 58-42 win over Lima Central Catholic on Friday night in a Division III sectional championship game at the Elida Fieldhouse. And its ceiling keeps getting higher.

Bluffton (16-8) has won six games in a row and eight of its last nine games. It will play Ottawa-Glandorf at 6 p.m. Wednesday in a district semifinal game at Lima Senior.

The Titans (20-3) rolled to a 71-29 win over Elmwood in the other sectional championship game at Elida on Friday night.

“Our kids played the right way,” Bluffton coach Todd Boblitt said after the win over LCC. “I think every one of our keys that we wanted to take care of we were able to do.

“We wanted to limit them to one shot. Our guys really competed hard on the glass and controlled the backboards. We wanted to spread them out and get them in a rotation defense and our guys were able to do that.

“It’s a really proud feeling for this group. It’s a really young group, it’s a group that stuck together through some hard times, even this season. I couldn’t be prouder of them right now,” he said.

“I think we have just continued to progress. We talked early in the season that we thought our ceiling was way above where we were at. We wanted to be at this point in the season, trying to hit our head on the ceiling a little bit.

“We’ve gotten better and better and we’ve grown inch by inch through the course of the season and tonight it kind of all came together.”

Marek Donaldson led Bluffton’s scoring with 18 points. Wade Ginther scored 13 points and Carson Soper had 10 points and 11 rebounds.

Carson Parker scored 19 points to lead LCC (11-12) and Billy Bourk had 10 points and 8 rebounds.

Bluffton took the lead early in the second quarter and held it the rest of the way.

Ottawa-Glandorf 71,

Elmwood 29

Ottawa-Glandorf turned up the heat offensively in the second half to a level that matched the defensive pressure it showed throughout the game.

The Titans forced 28 turnovers in the game and 18 of those came in the first half. But O-G struggled early to convert those turnovers into points as frequently as it typically does and led only 31-16 after two quarters.

But by the end of the third quarter the Titans were up by 39 points at 63-24 and the game was in a running clock situation.

Hunter Stechschulte led O-G with 18 points, Caden Erford had 16 points, all but three of them in the second half, and Colin White scored 12 points.

“Give Elmwood credit. They came out in some gimmick defenses and I didn’t think our guys were real aggressive. I thought we were kind of passive,” Ottawa-Glandorf coach Tyson McGlaughlin said. “We were able to kind of flip the script in the second half a little. We caused a lot of turnovers (in the first half) but didn’t have a lot to show for it.”

Stechschulte said, “We got off to a slow start but we found our rhythm and got back into it.”

O-G’s starters went to the bench at the start of the fourth quarter and did not return.

Elmwood, which finished its season 7-17, was led by Kade Lentz, who scored 19 points and went over 1,000 points in his career as a junior in the first quarter.

Reach Jim Naveau at 567-242-0414.