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March 1, 2021

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Beaver winter sports teams successful

Indoor track, men's basketball and women's basketball results

Here are stories involving recent Bluffton University men's and women's basketball and indoor track.

Indoor track
The Bluffton University Beavers kicked off their indoor track season with the "2021 Friday Night Spikes Opener" at the Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, they were unable to compete in an outdoor track season, so this was the first live competition the Beavers had seen since the 2020 indoor track season.

The meet had a great start with sophomore Madalynn Schifer (Bucyrus) taking 2nd place in the long jump. Also earning second place was sophomore Emma Payne (Hicksville) in the weight throw.  

"The goal of the first meet is always to keep technique together and I thought that this team did that very well...the big marks will come later. I look forward to getting back to work for another solid week of training," explained throws and head coach Kaylea Jachno.

Leading the women's 60-meter dash for the Beavers was sophomore Nina McGinn (Marion/Harding) with a time of 8.34. McGinn also led the women's 200-meter dash with a time of 28.93 and was accompanied by her teammate, Schifer, with a time of 29.03, who took second place in the 200-meter dash. In the 3000-meter run, freshman Miranda Billmann (Castalia/Margaretta) finished in 2nd place with a time of 11:58.82, followed by her teammate and fellow freshman Makenzie Brownrigg (Davison, Mich.) who placed 3rd with a time of 12:23.35.

"I thought it was a solid start to the season," said distance coach Logan Wells. "We're not at full capacity yet, either in training or in personnel, but everyone gave a good effort and set a solid foundation for the rest of the season."

For the men, junior Brandon James (Waynesfield/Waynesfield-Goshen) won the men's long jump with a leap of 6.34m. Also winning his event was freshman Desmond Gist (Detroit, Mich./Trenton) in the 60-meter hurdles with a time of 8.85. Junior Dalton Taynor (Troy/Miami East) finished the 200-meter dash in 3rd place with a time of 24.00.

Overall, the Bluffton women finished in 2nd place and the men took 3rd place.

"We are so grateful for Rose-Hulman hosting us; they always put on a fantastic meet. I thought the team competed very well for our season opener. We had several individual standouts but as a team we showed great potential. I am excited to see what next week holds as we head to Tiffin University." -head coach Kaylea Jachno.

Men’s basketball
The Bluffton University men's basketball team built a 25-point lead and coasted in for a 71-64 victory over Defiance College at the Weaner Center on Friday, Jan. 15, 2021. Bluffton stays perfect at 4-0 while Defiance opened its season with a loss.

With the game tied at six apiece, the visitors went on a quick 10-0 run powered by four points apiece from freshman Marcus Peaks (Pataskala/Watkins Memorial) and junior Chad Frey (Lima/Bath). The lead ballooned as Marcus Bruns got to the rack twice, Ryan Rose (Tipp City/Bethel) drained a three and Dezman Brown (Elyria) scored five straight to make it 39-17 at the half.

Junior Jameel Cosby (Springfield/Kenton Ridge) picked the Jackets off less than a minute into the second period and rammed it home for a 43-22 lead and then he followed a Brown triple with his third basket of the half for a 48-24 spread. When sophomore Mike Ketner (Minster) found senior Aaron Rich (Greenville) for an easy two, the visitors had their largest lead of the game at 56-31.

Defiance battled back, making it an 11-point game with over six minutes to play before Bruns hit from deep, allowing the good guys to stay in control. Cosby and Brown combined to go 6-of-8 at the stripe down the stretch to seal Bluffton's 71-64 victory over the rival Jackets.

Cosby led the charge with 20 points on 7-of-14 from the field. Brown added 11 counters and Bruns chipped in with nine. Peaks and Ketner both tallied eight points for the victors. Rich ripped down a game-high 11 boards and just missed a double double with eight markers. Cosby and Ketner dished out four assists apiece.

Bluffton hit 28-of-58 from the field (48.3 percent) and 9-of-12 at the line (75 percent). The Beavers dominated the boards (43-25), but they also turned it over six more times (18-12). 

The long-time rivals will be back at it on Saturday, Jan. 16, when the venue moves to Bluffton. Tip-off in the Sommer Center is slated for 4 p.m. following the women's matchup at 2 p.m.

Saturday
The Beavers outlasted the Yellow Jackets for the second straight night with a 69-60 win on Saturday, Jan. 16, 2021. Bluffton moved to a perfect 5-0 on the season, while Defiance stands 0-2.

The Beavers started slowly in the first half, falling behind by eight. Things started to change when senior Aaron Rich (Greenville) began to heat up. Rich was 5-of-8 from the field in the first half with 10 points and he also pulled down five rebounds. Fellow senior Dezman Brown (Elyria) got involved in the action, knocking down two threes on three attempts while scoring six points in the half.

Right before the intermission, junior Jameel Cosby (Kenton Ridge/Springfield) gave the Beavers momentum with his second steal and layup of the game, giving him six in the first half as Bluffton took a 28-27 lead at the break.

The second half was a grind for the Beavers but they powered through. Cosby kept on pace, scoring 12 for Bluffton as well as dishing out two assists. Standout sophomore Mike Ketner (Minster) got hot late in the game, scoring 10 on 4-of-6 from the field. Brown did what he has done for four years now, making big shots, including two from downtown for eight counters in the half. The Beavers held on for the 69-60 victory.

Bluffton's outstanding backcourt duo of Cosby and Brown led the way with 18 and 14, respectively. Ketner and Rich both added 12 with Rich pulling down eight boards for the Beavers. Ronnie James (Cleveland/Benedictin) had six points and two assists while his tough defense at the end of the game was instrumental in the victory. Cosby blocked a career-high three shots for the victors.

The Beavers shot 48.1 percent (26-of-54) from the field, compared to Defiance's 45.3 percent (24-of-53). While both teams did not shoot particularly well from deep, the Beavers converted 6-of-20 for 30 percent, besting the Yellow Jackets' 20 percent.

Bluffton returns to action with a trip to Earlham College on Friday, Jan. 22, Tip-off is slated for 7:30 p.m. in Richmond, Ind., following the womens' matchup with the Quakers.

Women’s basketball
The Bluffton University women's basketball team showed no signs of rust in an 80-67 demolition at Defiance on Friday, Jan. 15, 2021. The Beavers improved to 7-1 following their first game since December 12. It was the season opener for Defiance.

Consecutive triples by Brianna Gillig (New Riegel) and 10 points by the junior in less than three minutes propelled Bluffton to a quick 12-4 lead at the 7:04 mark of the first quarter. The home team pulled within a point at 18-17 with a minute to play in the opening stanza before a Claire Myree (Cincinnati/Lakota West) trifecta made it 21-17 heading into period two.

A 9-1 spurt to open the second quarter made it 30-18 thanks to consecutive deuces from Emma Saltzman (Arcadia) and a deep ball by Nora Hemminger (McComb). Ten straight points from freshman Maddie Fitzpatrick (Mt. Gilead) helped the Beavers blow it wide open as the visitors took a commanding 44-24 advantage at the break.

The Beavers stayed in control throughout the third quarter as Taylor Malson (Castalia/Margaretta) got to rack twice in an 18-second span en route to a 60-46 lead going to the final stanza.

Gillig and Sammy Shardo (Findlay/Liberty-Benton) dialed long distance to open the fourth quarter and the Beavers never looked back. An 11-point five minutes for Gillig sent the Beavers to 76-54 lead midway through the fourth and it sent her to the bench as the junior's night was done! Malson put it on ice with her triple at the 1:30 mark as the visitors capped off an 80-67 victory in their first game of 2021.

Coming in just one point off her career best was Gillig who hit 4-of-5 from distance for 28 counters. Fitzpatrick dropped in 12, while Saltzman and Malson added 10 points apiece. Gillig pulled down a game-high seven rebounds for the victors. Shardo and Kylie Brock (Villa Hills, KY/Dixie Heights) doled out four assists each and Fitzpatrick picked up three steals. Shardo stuffed the Jackets twice.

Bluffton hit 28-of-64 (43.8 percent), including a sparkling 13-of-30 (43.3 percent) from outside the arc. The Beavers pulled down 15 more caroms (43-28) and turned it over two fewer times (20-18). The visitors also spread the wealth with 19 assists on Friday night.

The Northwest Ohio rivals will be back at it on Saturday, Jan. 16, when the venue moves to Bluffton. Tip-off in the Sommer Center is slated for 2 p.m. with the men to follow at 4 p.m.

Saturday
For the second time in 22 hours, the Bluffton University women's basketball team ran roughshod over their rivals from Defiance County. Bluffton built a 44-12 lead at the break and was never challenged in its 75-54 victory over Defiance College. The Beavers improved to 8-1 on the season, while Defiance slipped to 0-2.

Even though they played just last night, the Beavers showed no signs of fatigue in the first quarter, outscoring Defiance 18-5 during the opening stanza. Freshman Taylor Malson (Castalia/Margaretta) got the ladies going with five first quarter points, including a trifecta from deep. Junior Emma Saltzman (Arcadia) tossed in four points of her own, looking dominant in the paint.

The second quarter was all Sammy Shardo (Findlay/Liberty-Benton). The sophomore sharpshooter was 4-for-4 from the field and 2-of-2 behind the arc, tallying 10 points for the Beavers. Freshman Sydney Cavanuagh (Mansfield/St Peter's) added five markers for the women off the bench. The Beavers opened a commanding 44-12 lead at the break thanks to outscoring the Jackets 26-7 in period two.

It was more of the same for the Beavers in the third quarter. Shardo knocked down her third triple of the night while Malson scored two more buckets. Saltzman kept control of the paint with another four points and a rebound.

The fourth was too little, too late for the Yellow Jackets. Junior Brianna Gillig (New Riegel) put it on ice with a giant hoop and harm late in the game, giving her five tallies in the quarter.

Freshman Angel Schneider (Columbus Grove) got going late as well, making two smooth shots to give her four counters in the final period as Bluffton rolled to a 75-54 victory.

Malson and Shardo paced the Beavers with 13 apiece while Saltzman took care of business down low with 12 points and three rebounds. Shardo and Peyton Henry (Leipsic) took care of the ball handling duties, both dishing out five assists (career highs) for the victors. Senior Nora Hemminger (McComb) came away with a team-high four steals. Gillig chipped in with nine points and seven rebounds.

The Beavers shot 49.2 percent from the field, compared to Defiance's 25.8 percent. Bluffton also bested the Yellow Jackets from the 3-point line, knocking down 10-of-23 for 43.5 percent, compared to 22.2 percent (4-of-18) for the visitors. The Beavers ripped down nine more boards (48-39), but they also turned it over nine more times (24-15).

Bluffton returns to action next Friday, Jan. 22, when the Beavers travel to Earlham College for a 5 p.m. tip in Richmond, Ind.