Game 24 : Bluffton 50 Carey 39 (13-11, 4-4 NWC)
(ELIDA) - After not winning a Sectional title in 16 years, the Pirates have now won two in a row. Senior Gabe Denecker scored a game high 22 points to lead the Pirates to a victory. With the win, Bluffton advanced to the District Semifinals at LIma Senior where they will face the top seed in the district, Wayne Trace.
Tied 22-22 at the half, Bluffton moved out to a 35-27 lead after three quarters and held Carey at arm's length for the win. Bluffton leading scorer freshman Luke Denecker injured his knee in the first half of the game and did not return.
Full scoring details were not made available.
Game 23 : Bluffton 60 Coldwater 59 (12-11, 4-4 NWC)
(ELIDA) - For the second straight season, BHS bounced Coldwater out of the OHSAA tournament by an identical 60-59 score. Last season, senior Joel Siefker drained a three pointer with three seconds left to win it for BHS. This time around, freshman Luke Denecker owned the fourth quarter as the Pirates advanced. Denecker scored 12 of his team high 19 points in the fourth including a 10/10 effort at the free throw line.
The Pirates trailed 43-42 heading into the fourth quarter but quickly got rolling on offense. The lead went back and forth and with two minutes left, the score was tied 54-54. Luke Denecker found Antony Kingsley who banked in the go ahead bucket for Bluffton. Coldwater's Dylan Thobe tied the score with 37 seconds left.
The Pirates put the ball in Denecker's hands and with six ticks left, Coldwater was called for a reach in foul. The freshman calmly drained both free throws for a 58-56 lead. After a Coldwater double dribble violation, Denecker was fouled again and extended the lead to 60-56. The Cavaliers connected on a three pointer as time expired.
Scoring: Luke Denecker 19, Gabe Denecker 12, Zane Myers 10, Dakota Bricker 9, Kaleb Jefferson 6, Antony Kingsley 4.
Game 22 : Crestview 49 Bluffton 35 (11-11, 4-4 NWC)
(CONVOY) - A slow start put the Pirates behind from the opening tip at Crestview. The host Knights led 14-2 after one quarter and maintained their cushion on their way to a 49-35 victory to close out the regular season. The Pirates head into the tournament at 11-11 and a 4-4 mark in conference play. The Knights finish at 15-6.
Luke and Gabe Denecker scored the final six points of the half to cut the Knight lead to 24-18 at halftime. However, the Knights scored the first 8 points of the third quarter to extend the lead back out to double digits.
Zane Myers and Kaleb Jefferson each scored 8 points to lead Bluffton. Luke Denecker and Antony Kingsley added 5 each, Gabe Denecker 4, Dakota Bricker 3 and Colin Phillips 2.
Game 21 : Bluffton 54 Kenton 47 (OVERTIME) (11-10, 4-3 NWC)
(BLUFFTON) - A freshman ended up leading the way to a Pirate win on Senior Night. Luke Denecker tallied eight big points in overtime as Bluffton came from behind and defeated Kenton in the final home game for seniors Gabe Denecker, Zane Myers, Antony Kingsley, Colin Phillips and Trevor Bassitt.
Kenton put Bluffton in an 11-2 hole midway through the first quarter but three pointers from Zane Myers and Luke Denecker enabled the Pirates to get back within 15-11 heading into the second quarter. Bluffton big man Gabe Denecker, standing 6'4", was engaged in a physical battle all night long with Kenton's 6'6" Thomas Phillips. Gabe scored four second quarter points and the Wildcats extended their halftime lead to 27-22. Gabe really got going in the third quarter, scoring 8 points including the first six of the half. The Pirate defense clamped down on Kenton limiting them to just seven points and the third quarter lead was 34-32.
It was a Denecker fourth quarter as Luke (4) and Gabe (5) scored all nine Pirate points. Both teams missed their final shot with less than 30 seconds to go and the Pirates went to overtime for the fourth time this season. Luke Denecker got things going with a deep three from the top of the key that got Pirate Gymnasium rocking. Antony Kingsley followed that up with a layup, Gabe Denecker added a bucket in the lane followed by a runner from the younger Denecker and free throws closed out the win.
Scoring: Gabe Denecker 19 points, Luke Denecker 17, Antony Kingsley 7, Zane Myers 5, Kaleb Jefferson 3, Trevor Bassitt 3.
The game was the final home game for senior cheerleaders Emily Stratton, Chase Koontz, Jazmynn Wilson, Lydia Skelly & Maddie Soper.
Game 20 : Columbus Grove 42 Bluffton 39 (10-10, 4-3 NWC)
(BLUFFTON) - An offensive lull struck the Pirates Friday evening and Columbus Grove was able to escape town with a 42-39 victory. The Pirates were able to score just four first quarter points and trailed 18-12 at halftime.
Bluffton battled back in the third and fourth quarters and even took a 39-38 lead late in the game. Columbus Grove took advantage of a late technical foul and Pirate turnovers down the stretch for the win. In an oddity, only three Pirate players scored. Gabe Denecker, who played a terrific game with 11 rebounds, led the team in scoring with 14 points. Kaleb Jefferson scored 13 and Luke Denecker 12. Caiden Grothaus led Columbus Grove with 15 points.
Game 19 : Bluffton 45 Riverdale 32 (10-9, 4-2 NWC)
(BLUFFTON) - Playing on the second night of a back to back, Bluffton gutted out a 45-32 win over visiting Riverdale on Parent's Night. The Pirate offense was unable to get untracked but the team figured out a way to win. Senior Gabe Denecker scored a team high 10 points with a balanced scoring effort backing him.
Colin Phillips grabbed an offensive board and scored to give Bluffton a 12-11 first quarter lead. BHS extended the advantage to 23-18 at half. In the third quarter, Bluffton continued its balanced attack getting ten points from six different players. The outside shots were not falling tonight so the Pirates went inside instead. The visiting Falcons (4-16) fouled continuously and the Pirates connected on 14/23 free throws on the evening.
The Pirates connected on just two field goals in the fourth quarter but made 7/10 free throws to close out the win. One of those field goals was the team's lone three pointer of the night from the hands of Trevor Bassitt.
Scoring : Gabe Denecker 10 points, Luke Denecker 8, Antony Kingsley 7, Kaleb Jefferson 7, Trevor Bassitt 6, Colin Phillips 5, Dakota Bricker 2.
Game 18 : Bluffton 57 Ada 45 (9-9, 4-2 NWC)
(BLUFFTON) - The Pirates moved into third place in the Northwest Conference standings with a twelve point home victory over Ada on Friday evening. Luke Denecker led a trio of Pirates in double figures with 17 points. Kaleb Jefferson and Zane Myers each dropped in 13 as the balanced Pirates evened their overall record at 9-9.
Bluffton had the better record of the two teams and showed it early as the freshman Denecker drained back to back three pointers to open the contes. But Ada competed well behind the play of 6'4" wingman Owen Conley who finished with a team high 15 points. The Pirate defense stepped up in the second quarter and limited Ada to just four points en route to a 28-19 halftime advantage. Myers did damage in the second quarter as he scored 7 points, gashing the Ada defense on his way to the bucket.
Denecker drained yet another three pointer to open the second half and then Jefferson took over. The athletic junior weaved his way to the basket repeatedly on his way to six third quarter points. As the game waned, BHS did not do themselves any favors in the fourth quarter as they only connected on 4/10 free throws. Nonetheless, the Pirates got a conference win and improved to 4-2 in NWC play.
Scoring: Luke Denecker 17 points (4 threes), Kaleb Jefferson 13, Zane Myers 13, Gabe Denecker 8, Trevor Bassitt 3, Antony Kingsley 3.
Game 17 : Pandora-Gilboa 46 Bluffton 37 (8-9, 3-2 NWC)
(PANDORA) - The Pirates stubbed their toe in one of their shortest road trips of the season. After bolting out to a 7-0 first quarter lead thanks to Luke & Gabe Denecker, BHS gave up 10 unanswered points. The low scoring affair was tied at 15-15 at the half .
A physical second half awaited however both teams put up 13 third quarter points. Bluffton did a strong job taking away PG's leading scorer Drew Johnson but other Rockets began to step up. Jared Breece led PG in scoring with 13 points and Riley Larcom cleaned up several offensive boards for 9 points. The Pirate offense just could not get untracked, stymied by the Rocket man to man defense. Down the stretch, Pandora-Gilboa exploited Bluffton's trapping defense and pulled away for the win.
Luke Denecker led all scorers with 15 points and Kaleb Jefferson added 10 for BHS. Gabe Denecker scored 4, Dakota Bricker 3, Zane Myers 3 and Antony Kingsley 2.
Game 16 : Bluffton 61 Allen East 47 (8-8, 3-2 NWC)
(HARROD) - Bluffton traveled to a hostile Allen East gymnasium Friday night and came away with a 14 point Northwest Conference victory. The game was a rematch from just five weeks prior in the Championship game of the Bluffton Holiday Tournament which the Pirates also won by a 14 point margin. With the win, BHS improved to 8-8 on the season and 3-2 in NWC play.
The Pirates held a 25-24 halftime lead before taking over in the third quarter. Bluffton attacked the rim, led by Kaleb Jefferson (14 points). The Pirate defense frustrated the Mustangs, eventually benefitting from an Allen East technical foul. The Pirates outscored the hosts 17-11 in the final quarter as well to stretch out the win.
Scoring : Luke Denecker 16 points, Kaleb Jefferson 14, Gabe Denecker 12, Zane Myers 7, Dakota Bricker 4, Trevor Bassitt 4, Antony Kingsley 4.
Game 15 : Bluffton 78 Waynesfield-Goshen 37 (7-8, 2-2 NWC)
(BLUFFTON) - Bluffton's boys basketball team got a much needed win and in a big way. After dropping two weekend games, the Pirates throttled Waynesfield-Goshen by 41 points getting contributions from many but none bigger than 5'10" freshman Luke Denecker. The sharpshooting point guard scored a career high 25 points including six 3 pointers. After trailing 4-2 for a brief moment, Bluffton finished the first quarter on a 21-2 run. The lead extended to 45-11 at the half.
Bluffton used a mix of pressure, trapping half court defense and a quick strike offense to build the lead. Denecker was the main threat, knocking in four long balls in the first quarter alone. While Luke continued to score in the second quarter, big brother Gabe Denecker went off as well. The senior scored 9 second quarter points to help push out the lead.
The balanced Pirates continued to spread the wealth in the second half. Zane Myers drilled a '3' to open the scoring and then went the rim repeatedly, finishing the third quarter with 8 points. The reserve Pirates took care of the fourth quarter with Luke Young, Mason Soper, Mason Ault, Cole Fruchey, Jared Piercefield and Logan Rhodes finishing the game.
The Junior Varsity won the reserve contest by a 58-20 score.
Varsity Scoring: Luke Denecker - 25 points, 6 threes, Gabe Denecker - 12, Zane Myers 8, Kaleb Jefferson 8, Trevor Bassitt 6, Antony Kingsley 5, Luke Young 4, Dakota Bricker 4, Colin Phillps 2, Cole Fruchey 2, Mason Soper 2.
Game 14 : Van Buren 54 Bluffton 40 (6-8, 2-2 NWC)
(VAN BUREN) - Following a tough Friday night contest against a 12-3 Spencerville squad, the Pirates traveled to Van Buren to take on the 11-2 Black Knights. Bluffton held a 40-38 lead in the fourth quarter but VB closed the game on a 16-0 run to win the contest handily.
The Pirates trailed 27-23 at the half but cut the VB lead to 38-36 after three quarters in a physical contest on the road. After scoring the first four points of the fourth quarter, BHS would not tickle the net again, falling to 6-8 overall.
Scoring: Gabe Denecker 17, Zane Myers 10, Luke Denecker 5, Dakota Bricker 4, Kaleb Jefferson 2, Antony Kingsley 2. Van Buren was led by Braxton Fasone who scored 16.
Game 13 : Spencerville 49 Bluffton 46 (6-7, 2-2 NWC)
(BLUFFTON) - Spencerville frustrated Bluffton from the opening tip with their size and eventually with their best player, Dakota Prichard. The Pirates could never quite gain the lead but stayed within striking distance against the Bearcats who started players standing 6'4, 6'5, 6'5 and 6'6. Prichard was able to make enough plays down the stretch on his way to a game high 23 points for the Bearcats to hang on to the three point win.
The game was tied at 10-10 after one quarter and Spencerville held a slim 23-21 lead at the half. Prichard scored 11 of the Bearcat 13 points in the second quarter. Bluffton was balanced as usual with 7 points from Zane Myers, 6 by Gabe Denecker and 5 from Luke Denecker.
Three Bearcat three pointers against Bluffton's zone defense gave SHS a 38-30 lead after the third quarter. Bluffton outscored Spencerville 16-11 in the fourth quarter. Luke Denecker scored 9 in the final stanza keeping Bluffton within four points down to the final minutes. Gabe Denecker knocked down a three pointer with 26 seconds left to cut the SHS lead to 49-46. Prichard missed the front end of a one and one opportunity and the Pirates had one last chance to tie. The ball found its way to Gabe Denecker once again but his three point attempt was just long.
Scoring: Zane Myers 14, Luke Denecker 14, Gabe Denecker 9, Kaleb Jefferson 6, Dakota Bricker 3.
Game 12 : Bluffton 66 Paulding 47 (6-6, 2-1 NWC)
(PAULDING) - A strong second quarter pushed Bluffton a 66-47 road victory over Paulding. The Pirates outscored the Panthers 15-5 to take a 29-16 lead into halftime. The Pirates wer able to keep the always pesky Panthers at bay in the fourth quarter with a solid free throw effort. Trevor Bassitt was able to rattle the rim with a breakaway dunk in the second half for the Pirates.
Scoring : Luke Denecker 15 points, one 3. Gabe Denecker 14 points, two 3's. Kaleb Jefferson 12, Zane Myers 8, Trevor Bassitt 7, Dakota Bricker 5, Colin Phillips 3 and Cole Fruchey 2.
Game 11 : Bluffton 66 Fort Jennings 52 (5-6, 1-1 NWC))
(BLUFFTON) - After trailing by fifteen points in the second quarter, the Pirate boys basketball team roared to life coming back to defeat Fort Jennings by a 66-52 count. Senior Gabe Denecker and freshman brother Luke each scored 17 points. The win was the second in as many nights for BHS and improved their record to 5-6. FJ dropped to 4-8 with the loss.
The Musketeers led 17-7 after one quarter stretched that lead out to fifteen in the second. The Pirates ended the half with a nice run, cutting the FJ lead to just 32-27. The Pirates won the third quarter 13-8 to tie the game at 40-40 and then put up 26 fourth quarter points to pull away for the double digit victory. The Pirates were an eye popping 14/15 from the free throw line in the fourth quarter alone.
Gabe Denecker scored 7 first half points, 6 in the third and 4 in the fourth. Luke Denecker nailed two 3's in the second quarter on his way to 8 first half points. The freshman then went 7/8 from the line in the fourth quarter and added a bucket to finish his 17 point night. Kaleb Jefferson joined the Denecker boys in double figures with 11 points.
The Pirates do not play again until next Friday when they travel to Paulding.
Scoring: Gabe Denecker 17, Luke Denecker 17, Kaleb Jefferson 11, Zane Myers 9, Trevor Bassitt 5, Antony Kingsley 5, Dakota Bricker 2.
Game 10 : Bluffton 51 Lincolnview 40 (4-6, 1-1 NWC)
(BLUFFTON) - After trailing for most of the first half, freshman Luke Denecker drilled a long '3' at the halftime buzzer to finally give BHS 27-26 halftime lead. The team cranked up the defense in the third quarter, holding Lincolnview to just four points. BHS used a trapping half court strategy to keep the visitors out of their normal offensive flow. Dakota Bricker & Luke Denecker nailed back to back three pointers in a quick 6-0 spurt pushing the Pirate lead out to 37-30 after three quarters.
The Pirates stayed aggressive in the fourth quarter getting to the rim and breaking the Lincolnview press and halfcourt traps. The Pirates were able to push their lead to double digits and keep it there through the final whistle. Bricker, Trevor Bassitt, Kaleb Jefferson, Antony Kingsley and Luke Denecker all scored in the final stanza as the Pirates moved the ball efficiently.
Scoring: Luke Denecker 15 points with two 3's, Dakota Bricker 9, Zane Myers 7, Gabe Denecker 6, Kaleb Jefferson 6, Trevor Bassitt 4, Antony Kingsley 4.
Game 9 : Wapakoneta 57 Bluffton 37 (3-6, 0-1 NWC)
(WAPAK) - The host Redskins won their sixth straight game and led from wire to wire in doing so. Wapak held a 35-18 halftime and hit hit nine three pointers in the win.
Freshman Luke Denecker again led the Pirates in scoring with 12 points. Kaleb Jefferson scored 8, Trevor Bassitt 7, Anthony Kingsley 4, Gabe Denecker 4 and Zane Myers 2. Luke Denecker and Bassitt each connected on a '3' for Bluffton.
Game 8 : Ottawa Glandorf 50 Bluffton 38 (3-5, 0-1 NWC)
(OTTAWA) - Ottawa-Glandorf came into this contest undefeated and showed why as they forced ten first quarter Pirate turnovers. The Titans built a 21-6 lead midway through the second quarter. BHS had turnovers on 6 of its first 8 possessions and couldn't get out of their own way. OG's full court press and physicality wore on the Pirates early on. BHS looked a little rusty after being off since December 28.
The resilient Pirates fought back and cut the lead to 33-28 early in the third quarter. The Pirates were breaking the press and getting good looks. The red & white also defended well at times, holding OG to just 34% field goal shooting on the night, including a 3/17 effort from three point range. Unfortunately, the Pirates could not get things rolling from distance, connecting on just 1 of 13 three point attempts.
Freshman Luke Denecker scored a team high 15 points. Trevor Bassitt added 8 points and grabbed a team high 9 rebounds for Bluffton. Kaleb Jefferson added 6, Gabe Denecker 5 and Colin Phillips 2.
Game 7 : Bluffton 66 Allen East 52 (Overtime) (3-4, 0-1 NWC)
(BLUFFTON) - The championship game of the McDonald’s Holiday Tournament had just that - a tournament feel. The two squads went head to head throughout the game. Bluffton staked a 29-19 halftime lead behind 11 points from tournament Most Valuable Player Zane Myers. The senior was quick to the basket throughout the game. Gabe Denecker added 9 first half points Bluffton attacked the paint, taking advantage of their superior size.
Myers also was matched against Allen East’s top player, Spencer Miller. Myers did an amicable job, holding Miller to just 12 points on the night, half of his 23 per game average. Of note, Miller scored his 1,000 career point early in the third quarter and sparked an Allen East comeback. The Mustangs outscored the Pirates 18-7 in the third quarter and took a 37-36 lead into the final quarter. Caleb Smelcer scored a game high 20 points for the Mustangs who entered the game with a 5-1 record.
Five different Pirates found the hoop in the fourth quarter. Trevor Bassitt drained an important ‘3’ and scored a transition layup to keep BHS In it. As overtime began, Bluffton quickly took control. After a basket, a technical foul was called on Allen East and Luke Denecker drained both free throws. The Pirates scored on the ensuing possession to open a six point advantage. Denecker drained a ‘3’ and added two free throws in the extra stanza. Zane Myers continued attacking the basket, scoring six overtime points. In all, Bluffton put up 18 points in just four minutes of action compared with just four for Allen East.
Zane Myers scored a game high 22 points and earned the MVP honors. He was joined on the All Tournament team by Gabe Denecker and Luke Denecker.
Game 6 : Bluffton 62 Cory Rawson 39 (2-4, 0-1 NWC)
(BLUFFTON) - Bluffton never gave Cory Rawson a chance in the opening round of the McDonald’s Holiday Tournament. BHS used a strong second quarter to open a 26-17 lead and extended that lead to 32-17 early in the second half. The Pirates outscored the Hornets 19-7 in the fourth quarter to blow open the lead. BHS advances to the tournament finals against Allen East.
Bluffton’s balanced scoring attack kept coming in waves. Gabe Denecker, Trevor Bassitt and Luke Denecker each scored seven points in the first half and Antony Kingsley added 5 as the Pirates had a good mix of inside and outside offense. In the third quarter, Gabe picked up where he left off. The 6’4” big man with a soft outside touch connected on two shots in the paint in addition to a ‘3’ from the top of the key. Dakota Bricker and Trevor Bassitt drained 3’s to open the fourth quarter and BHS shot 7/10 from the stripe in the final stanza to give Bluffton the win.
Gabe Denecker led the way with 17 points. Luke Denecker added 14 including two 3’s, Trevor Bassitt scored 12, Antony Kingsley 5, Zane Myers and Dakota Bricker 3 each and Kaleb Jefferson 2.
Game 5 : Bluffton 66 McComb 51 (1-4, 0-1 NWC)
(BLUFFTON) - The Pirates notched their first win of the season in a hot, raucous home gym in a makeup game with McComb. The Pirates were ultra-aggressive in their offensive game plan in the first half. Luke Denecker scored 11 and Zane Myers 9 to pace the Pirate offense. The defense was just as stingy, allowing just 15 first half points and BHS led 39-15. The Panthers were able to make a game of it in the second half, cutting the Pirate lead to ten points early in the fourth quarter but Bluffton rode the strength of a 13-21 free throw effort in the fourth quarter to earn the win.
Luke Denecker finished with 16 points and two 3’s made. Zane Myers scored 12 with three 3’s. Kaleb Jefferson had his highest scoring output of the year with 12 points as he continually attacked the rim. Dakota Bricker and Gabe Denecker added 8 points each. Trevor Bassitt closed out the scoring with 2 points.
Game 4 : Delphos Jefferson 55 Bluffton 39 (0-4, 0-1 NWC)
(BLUFFTON) - Playing on their home court for the first time, Bluffton’s boys basketball team couldn’t keep pace with Delphos Jefferson and fell to 0-1 in Northwest Conference play with a 55-39 loss. Jefferson led 28-21 at halftime and outscore the Pirates 17-8 in the final stanza to pull away. The Jeffcats did not do anything spectacular to stop Bluffton but clogged lanes and forced long jump shots. Gabe Denecker led Bluffton’s scoring attack with 14 points on ⅝ shooting. Jefferson point guard Jace Stockwell connected for 22 points and always seemed to have an answer for any Bluffton threats.
Luke Denecker added 11 points, Zane Myers 9, Dakota Bricker 3 and Antony Kingsley 2 for Bluffton.
Game 3 : Shawnee 59 Bluffton 37 (0-3, 0-0 NWC)
(LIMA) - There was no blown lead for this game. Rather, Shawnee put their stamp on the game with physical, full court, trapping defense. Shawnee led 15-13 after one quarter and then turned it on. The undefeated Indians closed the half on a 15-3 run and led 33-19 at the half. Shawnee continued their defensive tactics and expanded the lead to 53-27 after three quarters.
Freshman Luke Denecker led Bluffton with 10 points. Trevor Bassitt 9, Dakota Bricker 8, Gabe Denecker 5, Zane Myers 3 and Antony Kingsley 2.
Game 2 : Bath 47 Bluffton 38 (Overtime) (0-2, 0-0 NWC)
(LIMA) - Bluffton bolted out to a commanding 26-7 halftime lead, including a 19-1 advantage at one point early in the second quarter at Lima Bath. The Pirates looked to be well on their way to the first win of the season but once again the squad could not finish strong and put up just nine second half points. The Wildcats roared back eventually forcing overtime. Bath held a 12-3 advantage in the extra time to take the win.
Gabe Denecker again led the Pirates with 9 points. Luke Denecker added 8, Antony Kingsley 6, Trevor Bassitt 5, Zane Myers 4, and Kaleb Jefferson 2.
Game 1 : Leipsic 53 Bluffton 51 (Overtime) (0-1, 0-0 NWC)
(LEIPSIC) - The Bluffton boys basketball team started their season well, taking a 38-32 lead after three quarters at Leipsic. The fourth quarter would prove difficult for the Pirates to close out and the Viking’s Dylan Schroeder knocked down a 15 foot jumper to tie the game at 50-50 as time expired and send the game to overtime. The defensive battle ensued with Leipsic gritting out a 53-51 victory to open the 2016-17 season.
The loss spoiled the opener for Bluffton seniors Gabe Denecker (15 points), Zane Myers (9), Trevor Bassitt (7) and Antony Kingsley (2). Freshman Luke Denecker scored 12 points in his varsity debut including two 3 pointers. Junior Dakota Bricker scored 6 of his own to round out the scoring.
Teams: Basketball (B)