BOWLING GREEN – It is never easy when a sports season comes to an end. Especially, when it happens abruptly like it did for the Archbold boys basketball team Saturday night versus Columbus Africentric in the Division III regional final at the Stroh Center in Bowling Green.
Tied at 39 with 3.7 seconds remaining, Africentric worked the ball over to the left wing and senior Tre Baumgardner drilled a three-pointer as time expired, stunning the Blue Streaks 42-39.
“We’ve had the great fortune of coming down here and winning some games like that over the years,” said Archbold coach Doug Krauss after the game. “But, tonight the tables got turned on us. You just tip your hat off to the kid, he made a shot. Unfortunately for us. But, like we told our guys, ‘hey this is what happens’. You go compete baby, sometimes it works for your favor, sometimes it doesn’t.”
“It was a heck of a game,” noted Africentric coach Michael Bates. “If you’re a fan of high school basketball, in a regional championship game, that’s the type of game you want to see. You don’t want a blowout. That was defensive. It was fundamentally sound.
“They (Archbold) just a very good team. We put ourselves in position to win the game at the end. And this kid right here (Baumgardner) made a play.”
After a Rigo Ramos three 1:15 into the fourth gave Archbold a 36-33 advantage, Africentric responded with a 6-0 run. They did so with two of four from the foul line and baskets by Dorian Holloway and Anthony Bowman.
However, the Streaks then converted a long possession in which they grabbed numerous offensive rebounds, tying it up at 39 on a Kaiden Bedsole triple at the 3:12 mark.
The final three minutes were a whirlwind, beginning with Africentric, who elected to keep possession and run the clock down for the final shot. However, the Nubians would turn it over with 38 seconds left to give the ball back to the Streaks.
Archbold took it down until there was 10 seconds left, but Africentric’s Jah Bennet stole the ball, giving his team the final shot.
“We had pretty much what we wanted,” said Krauss of his team’s final possession. “Give the Bennet kid credit, he made the play. I thought we executed well. We ran the clock down like we wanted to. There was no reason to call a timeout, we knew exactly what we were going to run.”
The Streaks were able to slow down the Nubian offense for much of the game. Although Africentric actually shot better than Archbold in the first half, they were 0 for 5 from beyond the arc.
The Blue Streak defense was effective using the 2-3 zone, as coach Bates admitted his team settled for too many jump shots early on.
“I had like five or six, seven tapes (on Africentric), and no one ever played them zone,” said Krauss. “I mean I’m thinking, geez, they are pretty athletic. I don’t know why you want to let them do what they want to do (against man-to-man). So we dusted off a zone. We didn’t play too much zone (this season). It seemed to bother them a little bit.”
Archbold, meanwhile, was 50 percent (4 of 8) shooting the three in the first half.
Eli Miller pegged a three for the Streaks at the 4:10 mark of the second quarter, then after back-to-back buckets from Holloway, Miller hit another triple to put them up 24-18 with around 2:30 until halftime. Baumgardner’s basket made it a four-point margin, and that’s where it would remain at the half.
Archbold’s Bryce Williams scored on a drive to begin the third quarter, Holloway converted off his own miss for the Nubians, and Bedsole hit a floater to keep them ahead by six. Baumgardner then hit a pair of triples around a trey from Williams, pulling the Nubians within 31-28 at the 3:50 mark.
He followed that with a three-point play to tie it, then Bennet’s putback gave the Nubians the lead. It was their first lead since the opening quarter.
Williams’ bucket on a drive to the hoop knotted the score at 33 entering the fourth. He finished the game with 13 points, while Ramos added 11 for the Streaks.
Baumgardner scored 20 points to lead all scorers. Holloway added 16 points.
Archbold is the regional runner-up, ending the season with a 22-4 record. With making the trip to state last season and nearly going back this year, the Streaks’ senior class will undoubtedly be missed.
“Those seniors have been great for us,” stated Krauss. “They’ve been a part of some really good teams. And they were huge.
“They are hurting right now. They are hurting. Because they put a lot of time in. You invest in something, and it hurts (when it ends). It hurts a lot.”
Streaks take down O-G
Archbold did something Wednesday few Blue Streak teams have been able to do, take down perennial power Ottawa-Glandorf.
Behind a 52 percent (24 of 46) shooting effort from the field, including 50 percent (10 for 20) from beyond the arc, the Blue Streaks did just that, defeating the Titans 78-68 in a Division III boys basketball regional semifinal.
In doing so, the Streaks got revenge on a 70-65 loss at O-G from Dec. 23.
“We were going against a team that, bar none, public schools in Northwest Ohio, has been the standard bearer,” said Archbold coach Doug Krauss. “What they’ve done over the years, Division II (or) Division III, whatever division they’ve been in, they’ve really done a great job. But with that being said, every year is a different year. And our guys, I think going down there and battling them during the season was helpful. Even though it was a long time ago. Our guys knew they could play with them. It was a very similar game to the first time, except the ending was a little bit different.”
“We never got into the rhythm that we needed to,” said Titan head coach Tyson McGlaughlin. “I got to give them (Archbold) a lot of credit. Their guards did a fantastic job of handling our pressure and spreading us out (defensively). Had that third quarter where they scored 28 points and we couldn’t keep them in front of us. They made us pay for it. You get down to a team like that, that has the guards, and has the ability to space you out, they can make you pay.”
The first half was neck and neck the whole way. Archbold pulled within two, 14-12, at the end of the first quarter on a turnaround jumper from Kaiden Bedsole.
The Streaks opened up a 25-20 lead in the second period after an Austin Wiemken hoop underneath, then back-to-back Bryce Williams three-pointers.
O-G answered with four straight points, Archbold’s Caleb Wooley scored off his own miss but failed to complete the three-point play, Chad Duling split a pair of free throws for the Titans, but Rigo Ramos’ floater for Archbold gave them a 29-25 lead with under a minute left in the half.
Owen Hiegel ended the first half on a high note for the Titans, getting fouled while shooting a three, and the junior converted all three free throws to pull them within one at the break.
The third quarter belonged to the Streaks, scoring 28 points behind 5 of 6 from three.
They still led by one, 38-37, with 4:35 left in the third, then Bedsole extended it with a triple. O-G’s Ethan White got to the foul line where he converted a pair, but Ramos responded with a three of his own. Jay Kaufman then scored on a drive to the hoop for the Titans, however, another Ramos triple made it 50-43 with about two minutes left in the period.
“That’s just our guys shooting with confidence,” said Williams on his team’s offensive success. “And just moving the ball. Passing up an OK shot for a great shot.”
Williams drove to the hoop for a bucket, the Titans’ Aaron Rieman answered with a three-point play, but that was answered by a three-point play from Williams to make the margin 55-46 at the 1:07 mark. Archbold’s Elijah Zimmerman scored on an outlet pass to briefly put the Streaks up 11, then a Bryce Schroeder bucket for O-G got it back to nine entering the fourth.
Archbold kept a comfortable lead for much of the fourth, until a 10-2 run by the Titans got it down to 72-68 with 1:35 remaining.
“I don’t think it was anything against us. You’ve got to give the other team some credit for that,” said Krauss of the end of the game. “You got to understand how quick they are. They have some unbelievable quickness. Maybe we got a little bit too tight at times. We didn’t space the floor like we would have liked to. Maybe we didn’t go after a pass as well as we could of. But again, we just talk about (keeping) your poise. Do what we’ve been doing, and, good things will happen.”
The Blue Streak defense stiffened up in the final minute plus, then they went 6 of 8 from the line to seal it.
“You have to understand what they (O-G) bring to the table,” concluded Krauss. “And for us to do what we did, it took a mental game plus the physical part to do what we accomplished.
“Like I said before, this O-G team, I have so much respect for what they do on a yearly basis down there. With their coaching staff, they’re just great guys. And their team. They just keep turning it over every year to something really good.”
Williams paced the Streaks with 32 points while shooting almost 70 percent from the floor. Eli Miller added 12 points and Ramos 11.
Kaufman had 25 points and Hiegel 18 to lead O-G.
Reach Max Householder at 419-335-2010