Swanton shot less than 30 percent from the free throw line, while visiting Archbold scored 18 of their 45 points from beyond the arc in a 45-34 win for the Blue Streaks in the Northwest Ohio Athletic League girls basketball opener Friday.
“Anytime you can win in our league on the road it’s a nice win,” said Archbold mentor Brian Ziegler. “Doesn’t matter who you are because we have good coaches, we have good players. Everyone knows their stuff they (opposing teams) are trying to do offensively.”
The Streaks hit 4 of their 6 three-pointers in the opening quarter to gain the early momentum.
They went up 4-0 after an Andi Peterson hoop and two free throws by Lily Krieger, then after a basket inside for Swanton’s Morgan Pine, Gabby Nafziger knocked down a three for the Streaks. Jessica Dohm scored inside for the Bulldogs, then Archbold’s Addison Moyer hit from deep, Averie Lutz scored in transition and 1 of 2 free throws for Dohm got Swanton within 10-7 at the 2:06 mark.
The Streaks followed with back-to-back treys, the first by Nafziger and then Harley Phillips, and a Lutz bucket off a dish from Bridget Harlett made it a 16-9 difference after one quarter.
Nafziger had three triples in the contest as she finished with 11 points. “We used to have to tell her to shoot,” said Ziegler of his senior guard. “Now she’s comfortable catching and shooting. That comes with maturity and she’s done a great job. Knowing when she has a good shot and when she doesn’t.”
“A couple of their girls shot the ball pretty well early on from three,” stated Swanton coach Eric Oakes. “Which obviously got (them a lead). I was real happy (with) the way we played. We were diving for balls, we were all over the place. We were 5 for 18 from the free throw line. And then we might have missed more layups tonight (than usual). You make half of each of those and we’re looking pretty good.”
Swanton missed a total of eight free throws in the second quarter alone, hitting just 2 of 10 which allowed the Streaks to build a double digit lead at the half.
With the score at 21-13 following a Lutz triple with 3:21 to go, Archbold proceeded to go on a 8-1 run to close the half.
Naomi Rodriguez split a pair of free throws and Krieger went 2 for 2. A Moyer triple, 1 of 2 at the line for Lutz and Krieger’s putback in the closing seconds put Archbold on top 29-14 at the half.
Neither team got its offense going in the third quarter, thanks in large part to quality pressure defense from both sides, with the Streaks outscoring the Bulldogs 8-6 in the stanza.
“I thought we made some good adjustments,” said Ziegler of his squad’s defense. “They got to the basket early on us and got us in foul trouble, and I thought we kind of made some adjustments to our man and kept them from getting clear lanes to the basket.”
Swanton switched from playing primarily zone defense in the first half to man-to-man after the break. They held Archbold to 16 second half points and forced 21 turnovers for the game.
“They are so good,” said Oakes on planning a defensive strategy for the Streaks. “Krieger and Peterson are so good at the high-low game. We don’t have the heighth really. So we tried a little bit of a zone, they hit some threes on us. But when we went man, I thought our girls really did a nice job. Frankie Nelson did a great job on Krieger in the second half. A freshman on a senior – that’s an all-league senior player. Did a nice job on her.
“We’ve just got to make those layups when we get the chance and we’ve got to hit those free throws.”
The Dogs scored the game’s final seven points to pull within 11. Lutz had a pair of layups and Dohm stuck a triple with only four seconds left to equal the final tally.
Lutz led all scorers with 16 points.
For Archbold, Krieger had 12 to go along with seven rebounds. Phillips added nine points.
“Lily’s a number one option for us every night we go into a game. Teams double her and sometimes (she gets) tripled,” explained Ziegler. “I think we had more balance tonight which I’m much more pleased with. We had more balance tonight than we’ve had in the past. It’s always been maybe one scoring 20 or 25 and another one maybe having 13. I think we had more balance throughout the lineup which that’s what we’re used to doing.”
Swanton (4-5, 0-1 NWOAL) welcomes Bryan (5-5, 0-1) this Friday for another NWOAL contest. Archbold (7-3, 1-0) hosts Holgate tonight and Wauseon for a league tilt on Friday.
Reach Max Householder at 419-335-2010