Opening against a rival in any sport seems to bring out the best in a team. Throw in the fact the two teams came off stellar seasons the year before, and the game in bound would turn into an event. That was the case Saturday when Wauseon opened the 2017-18 boys basketball season with Archbold. After a year in which both teams ended the season with games in Columbus, the Indians took care of the Streaks once again, winning 60-54 in front of a loud crowd at Wauseon.
“Sometimes in big games the hype leading up to it is better than the game itself,” Wauseon coach Chad Burt said after the game. “What a great high school basketball game. At times it looked like the first game of the season. Wow, were kids on both teams competing.”
The Indians took a one-point deficit at halftime and turned it into a one-point lead in the third period. Brooks Gype kept the offense going for Wauseon in the final stanza. Rigo Ramos cut into the lead when he used a Wauseon turnover to score, but the Indians hit enough free throws to lead 46-43 halfway through the period.
With both teams using a zone at times, the offenses needed a little time to adjust. Bryce Williams did for Archbold, when he slashed to the basket and scored, plus drew a foul. He missed the chance at the three-point play, but he did cut the Wauseon lead to 48-45 with 2:54 left to play.
Ramos drilled a trey and Williams did convert a three-point play around two free throws from Newlove to trim the lead to one with 1:22 left, but that would be as close as Archbold could get. Austin Rotroff slammed home a missed free throw to energize the crowd in the final 30 seconds, as the Indians saw Rotroff and Gype hit from the line to pull away and win 60-54.
“He just got cleared Monday,” mentioned Burt of Rotroff, who’s been dealing with a wrist injury. “I wasn’t sure if he could dunk anymore because he’s been taking it easy in practice.”
The teams went back-and-forth to start the game. The Streaks took a 16-15 lead at the end of the opening period, and kept the lead up 32-31 at the half.
Wauseon finished 18 of 42 from the floor and went 19 of 32 from the free throw line. The Indians won the rebounding battle 33-22 and committed 11 turnovers to 12 for Archbold. The Streaks finished 19 of 45 from the field and 9 of 12 at the charity stripe.
Rotroff used a combination of dunks to lead all scorers with 20 points. Gype added 15 and Levi Seiler had a solid first half and finished with 10 points.
Williams led the Streaks with 18 points. Ramos added 14 points.
Wauseon is back in action Tuesday as the Indians will host Genoa. Archbold opens its home season Thursday against Edgerton.
Reach Randy Roberts at email@example.com