NAPOLEON – Archbold scored 40 second-half points after recording 17 in the first half, erasing a 10-point third quarter deficit to defeat Elmwood, 65-56, in the Division III boys basketball district semifinal at Napoleon Thursday.
They then opened up a 32-17 lead over Van Buren at halftime of the district final on Saturday, helping them to a 69-60 win for the district title.
Archbold got 25 points from Rigo Ramos and 24 from Kaiden Bedsole to help lead them past the Black Knights on Saturday. The Blue Streaks shot 47 percent (20 for 42) from the floor and held Van Buren to 39 percent (21 for 53).
On Thursday, the Streaks came out strong after halftime with a bucket from Bryce Williams on a backdoor cut, and another from the junior guard off a steal. Then, after Elmwood’s Nate Uzelac scored inside, Toby Walker answered with a three for Archbold to cut the Royal lead to 27-24 with about seven minutes left.
The advantage remained at three until Uzelac hit a triple, Jonah Childress converted a drive to the hoop, and Andy Curtis added a floater, giving the Royals their largest lead at 39-29 with 5:12 to go in the third.
However, the Streaks would battle back from there.
Ramos got their run started with a bucket in the paint. Then Bedsole split a pair from the foul line, and Williams added a pair before Childress scored for Elmwood.
The Streaks then got a pair of baskets off turnovers, both from Ramos. In the first, he threw down a dunk after an Austin Welch steal, and in the second he layed one in to make it 41-38 with 1:11 to go.
“That’s an energy play for sure,” said Archbold coach Doug Krauss on the Ramos dunk. “Those little plays like that are huge in a game like this. Any game for that matter.
“That’s what we talk about with our kids all the time. At this level, you can run plays, and so forth. But you’ve got to make plays. You can’t be afraid to make a play. I thought our kids did a better job of that the second half.”
Elmwood had 14 turnovers in the game and 9 in the second half.
“That’s big,” said Krauss of the turnovers. “At this level of competition, you turn teams over 14 times or more, that’s a plus for your defense.”
A Childress drive to the hoop gave the Royals a five-point edge heading into the fourth. With the Blue Streak defense paying more attention to Tayte Lentz going into the contest, they were a little caught off guard by Childress’ 20 points.
“You know, sometimes you put your eggs in one basket and the other egg pops up. Credit them (Elmwood). Credit them making plays,” said Krauss, referring to the play of Childress.
Archbold reclaimed the lead on a pair of three balls by Williams to begin the fourth. The two squads traded buckets until a three-point play from Eli Miller gave the Streaks a 49-47 lead at the 6:01 mark.
It was a lead they would not relinquish again.
Archbold got a lay-up from Miller, a Bedsole triple, Williams’ deuce off a drive to the hoop, and Ramos’ bucket off a fastbreak around hoops by Childress and Uzelac, to put them up 58-51 with 2:09 to go.
In the first half, the Streaks and Royals were tied at eight after the first quarter, but Elmwood had the better second quarter.
A Childress three broke a tie at 12 with 4:12 left in the second, then after a drive and score by Williams, Matthew Cline buried a pair of triples for Elmwood and Lentz added two from the line to make it 23-14 with 1:48 until halftime.
Miller knocked down a Blue Streak triple and Uzelac scored inside for Elmwood to equal the margin at the half.
For Archbold, Williams finished with 20 points, Miller added 16, and Ramos 13.
The Streaks now move on to the regional tournament, where they will face Cardinal Stritch Wednesday at the Stroh Center on the campus of Bowling Green State University. They are the second game which is slated for approximately 8 p.m.
Reach Max Householder at 419-335-2010
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