Fort Jennings’ Madison Neidert (13) drives the baseline against the defense of Bluffton’s Libby Schaadt during girls cage action Saturday afternoon at The Fort. (DHI Media/Jim Metcalfe)
Fort Jennings’ Madison Neidert (13) drives the baseline against the defense of Bluffton’s Libby Schaadt during girls cage action Saturday afternoon at The Fort. (DHI Media/Jim Metcalfe)

FORT JENNINGS — Bluffton’s game plan was simple in its girls basketball clash with Fort Jennings Saturday afternoon at The Fort: push the tempo and either get a layup/inside shot on penetration or a 3.

That plan of head coach Eric Garmatter worked well for the Lady Pirates as they grabbed a 55-33 non-league triumph.

Bluffton canned 18-of-44 shots for 40.9 percent to the Musketeers (1-2) total of 13-of-50 (26%).

Fort Jennings head coach Bill Calvelage was absent due to the death of his father earlier this week, so his three assistants: Cora Kehres, Taylor Wallenhorst and Kim Von Lehmden; assessed the game.

“We knew they’d be aggressive and attack the basket or shoot the 3. We only slowed it down some in the second quarter,” they agreed. “We never seemed to get settled in offensively. We’re not sure if it was the girls trying to hard to win for Bill but we never played relaxed today. We had some turnovers and that just allowed them to get out and run. They force you to get back on defense because of the transition game and the turnovers made that harder for us.”

The Pirates (3-1) led from the word go as Katie Prater hit a foul shot at 6:48 to get the scoring started. The Pirates’ pressure — in either full- or half-court — forced six turnovers in the first period and Alivia Koenig provided the scoring with a 3, a deuce and two free throws in the process. When she buried a triple from left of the key at 5.0 seconds, the Pirates lead stood at 10 — 18-8.

The visitors started 6-of-12 in the quarter.

Fort Jennings switched from its 2-3 zone to man-to-man in the second period but the Pirates still built the lead to 25-9 on a bomb by Koenig at the 4:34 mark. That is when the hosts began to slow down the Bluffton attack and climb back into the game. When Kristen Luersman put back a miss with 7.1 seconds to go on the clock, they were within 25-17.

Bluffton picked it back up again in the third stanza as their offense warmed back up, hitting 6-of-13 of its shots, including 3-of-9 downtown. On the other end, Jennings committed six more errors to short-circuit any chance to stay within striking distance. When Brinkley Garmatter downed a 3-pointer from the left corner at 1:22, that put Bluffton in front 42-23.

Bluffton’s largest lead of the game came midway through the finale — twice — as it reached 23.

“Alivia is our veteran leader as a junior — for us, that is a veteran because we have no seniors. She settles it down for us and sets the tone,” Coach Garmatter explained. “Averey (Rumer) and Katie (Prater) are the other two we really look to set the tone and help the younger girls.”

Due to lack of players for Bluffton, there was no junior varsity game.

Jennings hosts Putnam County archrival Ottoville Tuesday (6 p.m. JV start).

Bluffton visits Ada Thursday to commence NWC action.

VARSITY

BLUFFTON (55)

Brinkley Garmatter 1-2 2-2 5, Kayla White 0-3 0-0 0, Katie Prater 4-6 4-5 13, Averey Rumer 2-8 1-2 5, Laykin Garmatter 1-2 0-0 3, Cierra Ackerman 0-0 0-0 0, Ashley Eachus 1-3 0-0 3, Alivia Koenig 5-11 4-6 18, Libby Schaadt 4-9 0-0 8, Grace Myers 0-0- 0-0 0. Totals 18-44 11-15 55.

FORT JENNINGS (33)

Annabelle Wisner 0-4 0-0 0, Makenna Ricker 0-5 1-2 1, Kayleigh Klir 0-1 1-2 1, Madison Neidert 2-8 0-0 4, Marissa Krietemeyer 2-11 0-1 4, Erica Rau 1-2 0-0 2, Kristen Luersman 4-8 3-4 11, Christina Gerdeman 0-0 0-0 0, Rachel Kneale 0-1 0-0 0, Lillian Wisner 3-8 1-2 7, Chloe Wieging 1-2 1-2 3. Totals 13-50 7-12 33.

Score by Quarters:

Bluffton 18 7 17 13 - 55

Fort Jennings 8 9 6 10 - 33

Total Field Goals/Percentage: Bluffton 18-44/40.9, Fort Jennings 13-50/26. Free Throw Percentage: Bluffton 73.3, Fort Jennings 58.3. Three-Point Field Goals/Percentage: Bluffton 8-19/42.2 (Koenig 4, B. Garmatter, Prater, L. Garmatter, Eachus), Fort Jennings 0-6/0. Rebounds: Bluffton 30/9 off. (Rumer 8), Fort Jennings 35/16 off. (Krietemeyer 8). Assists: Bluffton 11 (Prater/Rumer 4), Fort Jennings 6 (Neidert 2). Steals: Bluffton 8 (Rumer 3), Fort Jennings 10 (Rau 3). Blocks: Bluffton 0, Fort Jennings 0. Turnovers: Bluffton 17, Fort Jennings 17. Fouls: Bluffton 18, Fort Jennings 17.