2013-14 Women's Basketball
Bluffton 60, Manchester 56
By: Adriane Bruner, sports information assistant
January 22, 2014
NORTH MANCHESTER, Ind. - The Beavers hit the road for a conference battle against Manchester, going in with the same overall record on the season (8-7). Bluffton went out to a lead in the first half, but Manchester answered in the second period to take a commanding 47-38 lead with less than seven minutes to play. Much like they did a year ago at North Manchester when the Beavers rallied back from a 24-point deficit, Bluffton used a 19-2 run to go up by eight with 44 seconds remaining. Manchester scored seven points in the final minute but three more Bluffton free throws sealed the 60-56 victory. The Beavers improved to 9-7 overall and 5-4 in the Heartland Conference, while the Spartans slipped to 8-8 and 5-4 in the conference.
The Beavers opened up the game with a KAITLYN PENNEKAMP (Hamilton/Ross) triple. TAYLOR WHITAKER (Mansfield/Lexington) took it to the hoop and then dialed long distance on the next possession to put the Beavers up, 10-6.
The Spartans tried to come back with some freebies and an ERYNN MEIKLEJOHN jumper, but Pennekamp responded with a deuce and another from long distance. With just over one minute left in the half the Spartans made a run and pulled within two following a three-point shot from KATIE ARTERBURN just before the buzzer. The teams hit the locker rooms with a score of 26-24 in favor of the visitors.
The second half started out slowly for both teams until RACHEL BEINING (Ottoville) put the first points on the board for the Beavers after three free throws from Manchester. Both teams battled back-and-forth until Meiklejohn began a scoring frenzy for the Spartans. Along with the help of Arterburn and STEPHANIE BARMES, the Spartans opened a comfortable nine-point lead with just over six minutes left in the game.
This wasn't enough to stop the Beavers as BROOKE RUFFER (Stryker) put Bluffton on her back as she went an 11-point run on her own. With just over a minute left Whitaker took over at the foul line, converting six straight attempts to push the margin to 57-48. Manchester got as close as three points but free throws by Taylor Knight (Perrysburg) and Gwen Downing (Kenton) sealed the victory.
Whitaker led the Beavers with 13 points, eight of which came from the foul line. Also in double figures for the Beavers were Pennekamp, Ruffer, and Beining who all contributed 11 points in the victory. Leading the home team was Meiklejohn with 11 counters.
Bluffton proved to be more accurate from the field, going 17-of-37 (45.9 percent), while Manchester hit 22-of-55 (40.0 percent). Bluffton finished 22-of-33 from the charity stripe (66.7 percent) compared to the Spartans who went 10-of-20 (50.0 percent). The Beavers were efficient from the three-point line, going 4-of-9 (44.4 percent), while the Spartans hit only 2-of-10 (20.0 percent). Bluffton turned it over seven more times (27-20) and Manchester finished with a 36-30 edge on the glass.
The Beavers will return to Copeland court on Saturday, Jan. 25, for an HCAC clash against the Anderson Ravens. Tip time is slated for 4 p.m. in the Sommer Center