Winning teams make winning plays and Archbold made a couple to end the opening quarter and half as the Blue Streaks opened Northwest Ohio Athletic League boys basketball play with a 53-28 win at Swanton Thursday night.
Mired in a 5-3 game late in the opening stanza, Jeron Williams stepped up and hit a couple of big shots in the final 34 seconds of the period. Williams drilled a triple, then found the ball in his hands after the inbounds pass was stolen and with the clock winding down, he buried a second trey to put Archbold ahead 11-3 at the end of the stanza.
“Jeron has really been shooting well in practice,” admitted Archbold coach Doug Krauss, who picked up his 550th coaching victory with the win. “We’ve just been waiting for that to carry over to game night. That’s exactly what we need out of Jeron. He’s such a good shooter.”
The Blue Streaks did the same thing to close out the half. This time, Austin Wiemken stepped up and made a couple big plays. He scored in the paint late in the half, then on the next possession kicked out and found Rigo Ramos for an open trey.
“Austin is really effective with that,” Krauss said of Wiemken’s passing ability. “He can do one of two things. He can finish, which he’s done a really nice job for us, or he passes it really well.”
Hunter Mix did get a basket for Swanton, however, the Blue Streaks ended the half with another triple, this one coming from Kaiden Bedsole to push the Archbold lead to 29-13 at the half.
“We had a couple mistakes,” Swanton coach Joel Visser said of the first half. “We talked about at the start of the game we’d have some turnovers and there are going to be some lay-ups (for Archbold). We just have to keep plowing through it and keep getting better. We felt like if we could just hang around, we’d have some opportunities to win in the fourth.”
In the second half, Archbold’s pressure on defense was too much for Swanton. The Blue Streaks opened the final period on a 12-2 run before Mix ended it with a basket for the Bulldogs.
“Their pressure speeds us up,” Visser said of the Archbold defense. “We’re not there yet.”
However, it was too late for Swanton as the state-ranked Streaks claimed the 53-28 decision.
“We haven’t shot the ball well enough to beat a team,” admitted Visser.
Swanton committed 17 turnovers and finished 10 of 30 from the floor. Archbold committed 11 turnovers and made 20 of 47 shots. The Streaks also had a 30-24 edge in rebounds.
Williams finished with four treys and led Archbold with 12 points. Wiemken added 11 points. Mix led the Bulldogs with 11 points.
Archbold then picked up a 68-50 road win over Ottawa Hills on Saturday. Ramos led them with 16 points in that contest.
Archbold (9-2, 1-0 NWOAL) next has a pivotal league match-up when they host Wauseon this Friday. Swanton (4-7, 0-1), after hosting Northwood Monday, welcomes Bryan for a NWOAL game Friday.
Reach Randy Roberts at firstname.lastname@example.org