The Northfield boys basketball team ran in to a buzz saw Saturday night. Bluffton, ranked #6 in 2A and undefeated came calling. With a front line of 6’10”, 6’5”, 6’5” and a 6’2” sharp shooting guard the Tigers raised the temperature inside the gym.
There are nights when the basket has a lid on it and then there are nights when the basket looks like the size of a tractor tire. That was the case for both teams as Bluffton could not miss and the Norse couldn’t find the bucket.
In a game that would turn out to be lob sided the first half was a good ballgame. Bluffton hit the first bucket, followed by a Joe Frieden free throw and a Dustin Echard three to knot the game at 4. Bluffton would then go on a 15-0 run and shot lights out. Ryan Givens broke the run with a bucket with 29 seconds to go and Echard ended the quarter with a bucket and Bluffton lead 19-8. Bluffton shot 73 % in the quarter.
After a couple Bluffton buckets stretched the lead to 23-8 Northfield started to come to life. Givens and Chad Glasscock connected to cut the lead to 10, forcing Bluffton to call time out. The Norse defense held coming out of the time out and Frieden and Justin Parker hit to make it 23-17. Givens would hit another bucket in the quarter and have one taken away. With 1.2 seconds left Givens hit and the whistle blew. It looked as though a foul or traveling was going to be called, when the official waved off the bucket and said the half was over. The bucket would have cut the lead to 6, instead it was 8 at 27-19.
The two teams traded buckets coming out of the half with Givens hitting for Northfield. That would end up being the last time the Norse seen the basket in the quarter, going scoreless while Bluffton scored 9 points. The Tigers lead 39-21 after the third.
The Norse defense had battled the taller Tigers all night and it started to wear on them in the fourth quarter. Bluffton out scored Northfield 18-12 in the last quarter for the 57-32 win.
The turn over and rebounding was close to even on the night with Bluffton having a slight edge. The difference in the game was shooting. Bluffton shot 69% on the night while the Norse shot 29%
Leading Northfield was Ryan Givens with 10 points. Chad Glasscock had 6, Dustin Echard 5, Joe Frieden and Ryan Keaffaber 4 and Justin Parker 3.