Photos by Marvin Foster
Arlington rode a blistering effort from outside the arc to a 52-33 win over Bluffton in the Holiday Tournament Finals Saturday night. Leading the charge for Arlington was Jordan Freed. The senior came into the game with eight three pointers in seven games but torched the nets for eight threes against the Pirates. As a team, Arlington was 9/10 beyond the arc.
Using their brand of full court, high pressure defense, Arlington galloped out to a 15-6 first quarter lead. Bluffton did well to handle the pressure, with only four turnovers, but the AHS defense harassed the Pirates court wide throughout the evening, making it difficult to get into offensive sets or get quality looks at the basket. The Pirates got a break when Arlington’s floor leader, Andrew Hunter, picked up his second foul late in the quarter sending him to the pine. Just minutes into the second quarter, Devils leading scorer Michael Blunk picked up his second personal and joined Hunter on the bench. The Pirates took advantage, going on a 6-0 run on three layups. Levi Kistler made a nice move in the paint for two points, followed by Robbie Stratton’s offense rebound and putback. Stratton followed that up with a gliding drive for a layin to make it 19-14 and forcing an Arlington timeout. Freed made his third three pointer of the half to kick start a Red Devil rally. Seven points later, the Devils’ double digit was restored and the Pirates trailed 26-16 at the break.
Arlington upped the full court pressure in the third, using a trapping zone press compared to their man pressure from the first half. The first six points of the quarter belonged to the Devils and Pirate coach Todd Boblitt called timeout down 32-16, to regroup. The Pirates hung around, but trailed 39-22 after three quarters. Freed drilled yet another bomb to start the fourth quarter, and added two later in the quarter to bring his game total to eight. The senior ended the night with 24 points, all from long range. Coach Boblitt said, “We wanted to take away (Andrew) Hunter as much as possible and also focus on their big man (Michael) Blunk. We also had our eye on (Blaize) McBride who is capable of having a big night. I thought we did a good job of limiting those players. But you have to tip your cap to Freed, he carried them tonight.” Indeed, Hunter was held to 8, Blunk 7 and McBride 5, all well under their season averages, but Freed was the difference maker.
Bluffton falls to 3-5 on the year and has a week to get ready to make the trip to Ottawa-Glandorf as the Pirates will take on back to back squads that made it to Columbus last season. Robbie Stratton's 8 energetic points led the Pirate scoring effort. Noah Stratton scored 7, Michael Donley 6, with Levi Kistler, Mitchell Ault and Austin Bricker notching 4 each. Arlington is now 8-0 on the season.
Arlington’s Andrew Hunter was named Tournament Most Valuable Player. While he was limited to just 8 points Saturday, he directed the show for Arlington. He also scored 24 on Friday against Allen East, including 17 in the first half. Michael Donley and Noah Stratton were named to the All Tournament team from Bluffton. Jordan Freed and Blaize McBride enjoyed all Tournament honors as did Cory-Rawson’s Tyler Harris who netted 25 points Saturday night . Allen East’s Tanner Richardson rounded out the squad after scoring a tournament high 43 points over the two game span.
Allen East defeated Cory-Rawson 65-64 in overtime in the Consolation game.
Teams: Basketball (B)