|Thursday, January 10, 2013 1:34 PM|
Grove splits pair of wrestling matches
The Beavers improved to 5-9 overall and 1-6 in HCAC play. Bluffton was led by senior Josh Johnson (Ottawa-Glandorf) who scored a career-high 19 points on 5-of-7 shooting from beyond the arc while also pulling down six rebounds.
The Beavers took their first lead at 6-4 on a layup by Josh Fisher (Rockford/Parkway). After an Earlham deuce by Marty Broderick tied it at six, Bluffton used a 6-0 run for a 12-6 lead at the 13:47 mark. Earlham cut the Beaver lead to 13-12 before the visitors responded with a 7-0 spurt, capped by a Johnson deep ball. Bluffton led the Quakers 20-12 with 9:52 remaining in the half.
Bluffton went on a 15-4 spurt to push the lead into double digits. With the Beavers up 23-17, junior standout Dustin Kinn (Alvada/New Riegel) kick started the run with a layup, followed by a Will Pope (Somerville/Preble Shawnee) layin which put Bluffton on top by 10. Then, Ryan Ebbeskotte (Fort Jennings/Delphos Jefferson) drained a big three and Pope converted the hoop-and-harm, making the score 35-21 with just over three minutes to play in the first stanza.
There was plenty of back-and-forth action for the first nine minutes of the second half, with neither team scoring more than four straight. However, the Beavers broke through at the 10:26 mark. The Beavers led 58-46 before a 7-0 run put the game out of reach. The run started with layins from Pope and freshman Thayne Recker (Arlington). Those hoops were followed by an old-fashioned 3-point play from freshman Billy Taflinger (Lima/Central Catholic).
The Bluffton advantage ballooned to 25 points after two free throws from Johnson at the 3:57 mark. The Quakers were unable to get the lead back under 20 points the rest of the way as Bluffton wrapped up its 82-61 victory.
The Beavers had four players in double figures, led by Johnson. Pope added 13 points and six boards, while Fisher chipped in with 11 points. Kinn finished his second double-double in three games with 10 points and 10 rebounds.
Bluffton won the rebounding battle decisively (43-22), including 14 offensive boards. The Beavers’ key to victory, however, was their shooting. Bluffton drilled 30-of-58 (51.7 percent) from the floor, including 9-for-17 (52.9 percent) from beyond the arc. The visitors dominated the paint to the tune of a 32-14 advantage.
The Beavers will return home on Saturday when they welcome the Anderson University Ravens for a Heartland Conference doubleheader. The men’s game will begin at 4 p.m. following the women’s contest at 2 p.m. Come out and support the Beavers!
Bluffton stormed out to a 9-2 lead after layups from Rachel DeBord (Lebanon), Taylor Knight (Perrysburg), and Brooke Ruffer (Stryker), along with a Taylor Whitaker (Mansfield/Lexington) long ball. After a quick Earlham run made the score 9-7, freshman Kaitlyn Pennekamp (Hamilton/Ross) controlled an offensive rebound and put it up for two while increasing the spread to four.
A chip shot by JaLissa Watt made the score 11-9 before a DeBord layin sparked a 13-4 Bluffton spurt that extended the lead to 24-13 at the 9:33 mark in the half. Earlham trimmed the deficit to nine with seven minutes to play but back-to-back deuces from Brenna Kurilec (Mt. Gilead/Gilead Christian) and two layups each from DeBord and Ruffer kept the Quakers from getting any closer as the halftime buzzer sounded with the Beavers up 42-33.
Kurilec opened the scoring in the second half with her 13th and 14th points of the game on a fast break after a DeBord steal and assist. The sophomore converted again after Ruffer found her to make the score 46-33. Earlham narrowed the deficit to 11 at the 14:25 mark but Whitaker put the Beavers up 14 with her second trifecta of the game.
Bluffton maintained the double-digit lead until Emily Sells hit a jumper that made the score 56-48 with 10 minutes to play. The Quakers pulled within six when Kasin Spay hit a three at the 5:17 mark to make the score 64-58 but that was as close as the visitors would get as the Beavers held them off.
Kurilec finished the game with a career night, including career highs of 20 points, nine rebounds and six assists. Ruffer finished with her fourth double-double after tallying 13 points, 12 boards, six assists and three steals. Whitaker and DeBord both added double-figure performances as well with 12 points apiece.
Bluffton shot a blistering 51.6 percent from the field (32-of-62), including 4-of-8 (50 percent) from behind the arc, and 4-of-7 at the free-throw line. They outrebounded Earlham 36-33 but committed one more turnover (17-16) than the visitors.
The Beavers return to action on Saturday at home when they host HCAC opponent Anderson. The women’s game is slated to tip at 2 p.m. in the Sommer Center.