In what can be described as a defensive struggle, Archbold boys basketball outscored Pettisville 31-18 in the second half to balloon a 10-point halftime difference to a 57-34 win Friday on the Blackbirds’ home floor.
Although both team’s defenses played well, the Blackbirds, as their coach would admit, committed too many turnovers for them to have a chance of winning.
“We were really pleased with our defensive effort in the halfcourt,” said Pettisville mentor Brian Leppelmeier. “I think that was the very first thing in our gameplan. Making sure that we take care of their guards. Not allowing them to get to the rim. And I thought we really executed our gameplan and did a good job in the halfcourt at guarding.
“The story for the whole ball game, and it kind of started in the first half, was just us turning the basketball over. And really I think, some (were) forced turnovers on Archbold’s part, but also just some unforced errors on our part.”
Pettisville had 20 turnovers for the game to just 8 committed by Archbold.
“We are getting better defensively,” said Archbold coach Doug Krauss. “We mix it up between our man and our full-court man (defense). And our halfcourt 1-3-1. Both were effective. We have quickness that can get you into the full-court man.
“Our kids have been doing a good job off the ball. And anticipating passes.”
The Blue Streaks led 10-2 after Toby Walker’s three at the 2:36 mark of the first quarter, but 1 of 2 free throws by Pettisville’s Ben Gray and a bucket on the fastbreak by Canidate Vickery got it down to 10-5 at the quarter break.
“We (were) dribbling too much the first half. And we got guys open, but were not swinging it,” said Krauss on his team’s offense in the first half. “We are at our best when we are kicking it and moving it, finding the open man and making one more pass.”
However, it looked as if the Streaks were going to blow it open in the second quarter when Bryce Williams converted a drive to the bucket, a Blue Streak steal led to a Walker three at the other end, and Kaiden Bedsole’s bucket off a steal put them up 10 just 50 seconds in.
Pettisville’s Gabe Beck responded with a drive to the basket, then Justin Rupp hit a pair of free throws, and he also added a pair of baskets to make it 17-13 with 4:54 left until halftime.
Rigo Ramos was fouled and hit a pair from the foul line for the Streaks, Cash Gericke added a bucket on a spin move, Williams went 3 of 4 from the line and Ramos added a deuce to once again put them up by double digits. They would take a 26-16 lead into the intermission.
But despite the advantage, Krauss clearly felt that his team left some points on the board in the first half.
“We talked about it at halftime, we turned them over a few times, but we weren’t really benefiting from it. We weren’t converting on it,” he said. “We would get the ball down there and we weren’t getting the finish. And we wanted to get better at that. That’s an area we can get better at.”
The third quarter was fairly even with Archbold outscoring Pettisville 14-12.
Rupp’s triple and a layup from Detric Yoder got Pettisville within 35-26 with 2:38 to go in the period. Williams responded with a three and Caleb Wooley’s basket in the paint for Archbold made it a 14-point margin before Pettisville’s Landon Roth scored and the difference was 40-28 after three.
However, the Streaks scored eight straight to begin the fourth as Wooley got a basket inside, Jeron Williams knocked home a triple, and a three-point play for Ramos essentially put the game away with 6:27 remaining.
Williams paced Archbold with 12 points, while Rupp led all scorers as he notched 13 for Pettisville.
It was Pettisville’s third straight loss to drop them to 4-3 on the season. They return to action Thursday as they are on the road at Tinora.
“We don’t consider it a loss if we learn from it,” concluded Leppelmeier. “With a team like Archbold, a great basketball team, we battled and we are gonna get better from it. I think in games like this, what you need to work on is pretty magnified. And I think we know that it is taking care of the basketball.”
The Streaks fell at home to unbeaten Ottawa-Glandorf on Tuesday, 68-60. Archbold (4-2) is at Eastwood this Friday to close out play in 2016.
Reach Max Householder at 419-335-2010