Feb. 3—BLUFFTON — Pandora-Gilboa's 60-42 boys basketball win at Bluffton on Saturday night could be divided into two parts.
And those parts were as different as a weather forecast that began with 70 degrees and sunny in the morning and called for a freeze warning by the end of the day.
When Bluffton's Marek Donaldson hit a 3-pointer in the first minute of the fourth quarter to tie the game at 40-40, it looked like it was going to be the closely contested non-league match-up that had been predicted between two teams who came into the game with identical 14-2 records.
But over the next six minutes, the Rockets outscored the Pirates 20-0 to go from a 40-40 tie to a 60-40 lead in a monumental momentum swing.
Colin Harris led P-G with 16 points and three other Rockets scored in double figures. Aidan Morris scored 14 points, Aiden Harris had 13 points and Nate Maag contributed 12 points. Blake Sommers' 12 points led Bluffton and Donaldson scored 10 points.
The Pirates were coming off an overtime loss to Spencerville on Friday night that ended with the Bearcats getting the game-winner on an offensive rebound just before the buzzer.
Bluffton took a 16-11 lead at the end of the first quarter Saturday night but could not build on that lead when it scored only two points in the second quarter.
That allowed Pandora-Gilboa to go up 21-18 at halftime and it maintained that three-point edge going into the fourth quarter.
Probably no one saw what was coming in the fourth quarter, though.
"You don't see that night in and night out," Pandora-Gilboa coach Mike Lee said about the Rockets' 20-0 run. "I think some of that had to do with them having an exhausting, competitive game last night. I think as the game went on, especially in that second half, the air just kind of got lifted out of the gym a little bit."
Colin Harris and Morris led the offensive surge in the second half for the Rockets. After combining for five points in the first half, they scored 25 points in the second half.
"They like punched us in the mouth but we kind of settled down. We made a bunch of tough shots and tough lay-ups," Morris said. "We called a couple of plays and set some screens to get us open but then it was just knocking down big shots at big moments."
Bluffton coach Todd Boblitt said, "It was a tough weekend. I thought our guys competed the right way. We looked like we ran out of gas to some degree in the fourth quarter. Pandora is really good. They're physical defensively and they guarded us really well.
"We just didn't seem to be able to get any rhythm or flow offensively but I think that has a lot to do with what they were doing defensively. When you make shots it makes the game a lot easier and we were just in such a funk offensively," he said.
Saturday's win completed a very successful weekend for Pandora-Gilboa. On Friday night it beat Liberty-Benton to move into a tie for first place in the Blanchard Valley Conference with the Eagles. And then the Rockets got Saturday night's big non-league win.
Looking at Saturday night's win, Colin Harris said, "It's huge. They're 15 minutes down the road. We're a good team, they're a good team. It's a big win for us. There's always competition between us."
Lee said, "This is the time of the year you want to kick it into the next gear. And naturally, we're hoping to ride what we did this weekend."
Pandora-Gilboa 60, Bluffton 42
Score by quarters:
Pandora-Gilboa 11 10 19 20 — 60
Bluffton 16 2 19 5 — 42
Colin Harris 16, Aidan Morris 14, Nate Maag 12, Aiden Harris 13, Zach Neuenschwander 5. Totals: 21-12-60.
Wade Ginther 6, Blake Sommers 12, Terron Boblitt 3, Marek Donaldson 10, Luke Ginther 2, Kerry Wright 7, Brody Sommers 2. Totals: 17-3-42.
3-point goals: PG — Morris 2, Maag 2, C. Harris 1; B — Donaldson 2.
Records: Pandora-Gilboa 15-2; Bluffton 14-3.