Beavers take down Manchester for berth in HCAC semifinals

More news about: Bluffton

February 27, 2015
By: Colton Steiner, sports information assistant

Stats  I  Knight and Sheerer video  I  Coach Shutler video

LEXINGTON, Ky. - In the opening game of the HCAC tournament, the Beavers fought back after a 29-26 halftime deficit and were able to pull out a 57-50 victory against the Spartans of Manchester University on Friday, Feb. 27. Bluffton moves on to face #1 seed and tournament host Transylvania on Saturday at 3 in the semi-finals. Transylvania was the first team in Heartland Conference history to go 18-0 in HCAC play this season.

The Beavers went out to a 5-2 lead after TAYLOR WHITAKER (Mansfield/Lexington) knocked down a triple at the 18:01 mark. The Spartans fought back and took their first lead of the game after a free throw by ABBY LANG with 12:20 left in the first stanza. The Beavers regained the lead, 19-16, following charity tosses by MACEY SHEERER (Bucyrus) and RACHEL BEINING (Ottoville) with 9:28 left in the half. However, the Spartans took control with an 11-3 run for a 27-20 lead with 3:11 remaining. Bluffton answered with a 6-2 spurt to finish the stanza down by just three points, 29-26.

The Beavers came out on fire in the second half after Sheerer went on a scoring spree, scoring eight of Bluffton's first 10 points. The strong start gave Bluffton a 36-29 lead four minutes into the final period. The Beavers extended their lead after Sheerer went perfect from the charity stripe, going up 43-34 with 9:51 left in the game. Manchester pulled within a point at the 7:21 mark following a free throw by JOCELYN HAMILTON that made it 43-42. Bluffton never relinquished the lead as the Beavers avenged their 2013-14 quarterfinal loss to these same Spartans. TAYLOR KNIGHT (Perrysburg) was clutch from the foul line and went 6-for-6 in the final 35 seconds to hand the Beavers a 57-50 victory over Manchester University which ended their season.

Macey Sheerer led the Beavers with a career-high 26 points and she also grabbed six boards. Sheerer was an impressive 13-for-15 from the charity stripe. Also showing up for Bluffton was Rachel Beining who notched a double-double with 12 points and 10 rebounds. Taylor Knight added eight markers, along with a team-high four assists.

Free throws were the difference in this game. The Beavers went 23-25 (92 percent), while the Spartans struggled from the line, going 12-for-27 (44.4 percent). The teams were even from the field with Bluffton shooting 34.8 percent (16-for-46) and Manchester right with them at 34 percent (18-for-53). The Spartans finished with a slim 34-33 edge in rebounds.

Bluffton will look for its first-ever berth in the Heartland Conference finals when the Beavers take on a 24-1 Transylvania squad that was a perfect 18-0 in the HCAC this season