Archbold battled back from a double digit deficit early in the contest, however, they couldn’t do it a second time as the big battle between state-ranked teams went to Wauseon 67-56 Friday night.
The top-ranked Indians won their 34th straight regular season game and 13th Northwest Ohio Athletic League game in a row in a sold-out Thunderdome Friday night.
“We started out on fire,” stated Wauseon coach Chad Burt. “We’ve played in some big games before and this is nothing new for them. Stepping onto the floor against Archbold – to me – it doesn’t get better than this.”
Up 50-41 to start the final period, the Indians went on a 10-3 run to grab a 60-44 advantage. From there, Archbold sent the Tribe to the free-throw line. With Wauseon hovering around 50 percent from the stripe, the Streaks buried four treys to cut into the lead, but makes from Austin Rotroff and Levi Seiler kept the difference as the Indians held on.
“Being a former player, I think the pressure of the situation was bigger than the gas and the legs,” Burt said of his team finishing 12 of 25 from the free throw line. “Maybe I’m way off base on that. We could just as easily come out and play four quarters and finish 11 of 12 from the line.”
Fans in the sold-out gym were treated to an offensive delight all night. Wauseon raced out to a 19-7 lead in the opening frame, thanks to moves inside by Rotroff and shots by Trent Armstrong. However, Archbold battled back and cut the lead to 19-16 by the end of the opening frame, thanks to a triple with two seconds left by Rigo Ramos.
“Both teams played at a high level,” added Burt. “Both teams have very good offensive players and both teams are very good defensively despite the fact it was 67-56. I just think you have to give both offenses some credit.”
The teams traded the lead in the second period, with Wauseon holding on to a 31-28 advantage at the half.
The Indians went on another tear in the third period. Holding on to a slim 35-32 lead, Wauseon went on a 15-6 run to push the lead to 50-38. Archbold closed the period with another triple, one of 11 Archbold made, to make it 50-41 heading into the final stanza.
Wauseon finished the game shooting a sizzling 70 percent (23-33) from the floor. They also dominated the boards 30-18. Rotroff had a big night with 18 points and 14 rebounds. Armstrong added 16 points, Seiler had 15 and Brooks Gype added 11.
Archbold finished 21 of 47 from the floor for 45 percent. Bryce Williams led all scorers with 22 points and Ramos added 16.
Wauseon (14-0, 2-0) heads to Bryan Friday for an NWOAL battle. Archbold (9-3, 1-1) plays at Patrick Henry the same night.
Reach Randy Roberts at firstname.lastname@example.org