Down 34-27 with 7:39 left in the game, Swanton coach Matt Smith stuck to his game plan as he continued to spread the floor, and in doing so, used a big 12-2 run to finish the game and defeat Archbold 39-36 in an NWOAL contest at Swanton.
“That was the game plan going in,” explained Smith. “We didn’t think we could delay. They are too good and too athletic on defense, but we also didn’t want to trade baskets all night because they are bigger, so the kids just bought into the fact that we just had to control the game. Just dictate the tempo and I think we did a pretty darn good job of that tonight.”
That control of tempo was apparent right away with the Blue Streaks up just 3-1 three minutes into the game, Bulldog guard Bryce McComb drove the middle out of the spread to tie the game, then picked an Archbold pass and scored to put Swanton ahead before Robbie Gilsdorf added on with a pull up jumper out of the spread to put the Dogs up 7-3.
Archbold closed to 9-8 at the quarter on Grant Rupp’s three and a steal and score from Evan Wyse, then went on a run of their own to take a 20-14 lead.
Jase Grosjean hit a baseline jumper and after another Evan Wyse steal and score, Chandler Wyse hit back to back triples, the last with 3:23 left in the half that gave Archbold a six point lead.
However, Gilsdorf hit a floater in the key, McComb popped a triple from the top of the key when the Archbold defense backed off too much, then Clayton Ringle drilled a controversial triple at the horn to give Swanton a 22-20 halftime lead.
Archbold coach Doug Krauss thought both that the shot was after the buzzer and that Ringle had a foot on the three point line but after a very short discussion, the triple was confirmed.
The Blue Streaks came out on fire in the third quarter, hitting 6-7 field goal attempts, five of them on lay ups.
Grosjean scored on a steal 30 seconds into the period, then Tyson Schnitkey got to the rim twice to give Archbold a 26-22 lead.
After JD Sanderson scored over Archbold’s 6’8” Luke Fisher, Fisher returned the favor, scoring twice in the paint around a three point play by Ringle, then Schnitkey batted an out of bounds pass in at the buzzer to give Archbold a 32-27 lead heading into the fourth.
Fisher scored at the rim 21 seconds into the fourth to give Archbold their biggest lead at 34-27, but the Blue Streaks would miss their last 11 shots from the field to finish the game.
“I told the kids at halftime they were going to come out swinging,” said Smith. “It wasn’t pretty in the third quarter but we fought through a lot of adversity and the kids hung tough. I knew we played some pretty good defense in the fourth, I didn’t realize it was THAT good.”
While Archbold was missing every look, McComb again took over.
First he hit a pair of free throws we 6:51 left. Then after Ringle got a pair of the same at 5:42, McComb split the Archbold defense like they were frozen in time to get the ‘Dogs within 35-33 with 2:34 left. He followed up 40 seconds later with a steal and score that he converted into a three point play that put Swanton ahead 36-35 with 1:53 to go.
Another Archbold miss put McComb back at the line with 28.9 to go, as he hit both ends to make it 38-35.
Schnitkey split a pair from the line five seconds later and Sanderson did the same for Swanton with 21.2 left to make it 39-36.
Archbold worked the perimeter but Schnitkey passed up a good look at a three and passed to Fisher who missed, then, Evan Wyse missed the follow which Swanton’s Dylan Sanderson rebounded and was fouled.
Sanderson missed both free tosses but after an Archbold rebound and a timeout, the Blue Streak inbounds pass went through Fisher’s hands and was recovered by the Bulldogs to seal the win.
“This is a great win for us,” said a jubilant Smith. “I would say that these kids have never seen an Archbold team lose to a Swanton team in their lifetime, and that’s huge. These kids probably weren’t born the last time we did it. Hopefully that will springboard us into bigger and better things.”
McComb’s 17 led the Bulldogs, now 5-5 on the season and 1-2 in the NWOAL.
Schnitkey was Archbold’s leading scorer with 10 as they fell to 7-3 and 2-1 in the NWOAL after a loss to Elida Saturday night.
Swanton faced another tough foe on Saturday when they fell to 55-47 to Lake, who is ranked ninth in the state in Division II.