TOLEDO – Starting the final frame with an 11-point lead, Archbold saw it drop to five on two occasions, but in the end the experience of the Blue Streaks won out as Archbold earned a spot in the Division III boys basketball regional with a 74-65 win against Cardinal Stritch Saturday afternoon in a district final at the Sullivan Center inside Toledo Central Catholic.
The Streaks were playing with an eight point lead when the Cardinals came storming back. Heading the efforts of the comeback was Jordan Burton, who drove to the basket and scored, then hit a triple on the next possession, for a 66-61 score with 2:47 left.
Archbold had an answer at the other end. Wrapped up at the waist going for a lay-up, Bryce Williams scored the last of his 30 points when he knocked a pair of free throws. Cardinal Stritch had an answer when Little Anderson slashed to the basket with 2:25 to go.
Bouncing back from a pair of missed free throws, Archbold put together one final run to put the game away. Austin Wiemken – who played a great game working the baseline – scored off a miss, then Eli Miller and Wiemken cashed in free throws when the Cardinals put them on the line.
Cardinal Stritch got one final basket with just under a minute to go, but after that called off the press and conceded the victory.
Archbold had to battle back to take a lead. Down 22-16 after the opening frame, the Streaks picked up the defense and outscored the Cardinals 20-8 in the second period to take a 36-30 lead at the half.
Both teams shot the ball well. Archbold finished 22 of 46 and Cardinal Stritch was 25 of 48. The Streaks also had just five turnovers and finished 21 of 26 from the free throw line.
Williams drained four treys as a part of his efforts and added three assists early to Wiemken, who added 18 points. Miller nailed seven free throws and finished with 13 points.
Archbold will play Ottawa-Glandorf Wednesday at 8 p.m. at Bowling Green’s Stroh Center in a Division III regional semifinal.
Streaks outlast Eagles to advance
In the district semifinal Thursday, Archbold overcame a pesky Eastwood team for a 53-45 victory.
“I thought one of the things that we did was, on the other side of it, we took some bad shots ourselves and we turned it over a couple of times and they took advantage of it,” said Archbold coach Doug Krauss after the game. “A good team like that does that. We just called a couple of sets to see if we could get into some stuff. And we converted.
“And we took care of the ball at that stage. Then we went to the foul line and connected. I think we were pretty good from the foul line tonight.”
The Blue Streaks held minimal leads throughout the game, but the Eagles never went away.
Eastwood’s Tyler Haas registered a tip in and then added a free throw for a three-point play, followed by a lay in from Cory Coffman to knot the score at 36 1:19 into the fourth.
Archbold grabbed the lead back on a three-pointer by Kaiden Bedsole 42 seconds later, however, Cade Boos answered with a three of his own for the Eagles. The Streaks went up again when Austin Wiemken converted two free throws, then a Boos triple gave the Eagles a 42-41 lead with 4:35 left to play.
Archbold’s Rigo Ramos knocked down a three from the corner to give them a lead they would not lose, 44-42.
“That’s one thing he can do,” said Krauss of Ramos’ ability to shoot from beyond the arc. “We would like to see more of that obviously. You take what they give you. And, he’s got a lot of confidence in his shot.”
Eli Miller’s drive to the hoop and a three-point play from Bryce Williams extended the Blue Streak lead to seven points. Eastwood’s last points came on a three from Boos with 1:19 left.
The Eagles came back to take the lead in the first half as well. Down 18-13 after Bedsole’s three to begin the second quarter, Haas scored off his own miss, Logan Frobose converted a fast break opportunity for the Eagles, and Haas went one for two at the line to tie it.
Eastwood then took the lead, 22-18, after a Boos floater and Zach Henline’s bucket.
However, Archbold scored the next seven points to take a lead into the break.
Reach Randy Roberts at firstname.lastname@example.org