HOLLAND – In postseason play it’s safe to say anything can happen. Rossford was able to play a full 32 minutes while Archbold faltered down the stretch Saturday in a Division III girls basketball sectional final at Springfield.
Their biggest shortcomings came at the foul line where the Blue Streaks were less than 50 percent compared to over 85 percent from the Bulldogs. It resulted in a 58-54 win for Rossford, despite Archbold beginning the game on a 13-0 run.
“We had some stretches where we didn’t do very well,” stated Archbold coach Brian Ziegler. “Obviously, free throw shooting. The unofficial stats, they were 21 out of 24 (from the foul line) I believe, and we were 9 out of 19. I don’t know what we were in the fourth quarter. But in the fourth quarter when you get fouled, you need to go and step to the line confident. We let too many foul shots go missed and you know, then we didn’t execute defensively.”
In the final stanza, after Rossford knotted it at 38 on a three-pointer from Megan Dunne, the Streaks took the lead back with Andi Peterson’s bucket on a drive to the hoop and two free throws for Addison Moyer with 2:20 to go.
However, from there the misses from the line began to burn Archbold.
They missed the front-end of a one-and-one with 1:25 left, then Sauder went 1 for 2 from the line on the next possession. Although Peterson was able to pull down the rebound on the miss and get it to Sauder who was again fouled, she once again split a pair. This kept the margin at two possessions, 44-38, with 49 seconds left.
Shortly after, Dunne drilled a deep triple from the right wing and was bumped, adding the free throw for a four-point play to pull the Dogs within a deuce. Peterson missed a pair at the line, but after another failed Bulldog possession, Moyer went 1 for 2 to make it a three-point lead with six seconds left in regulation.
Sammi Mikonowicz brought the ball up the floor for Rossford, finding Dunne in the left corner who knocked down a three as time expired, sending it to overtime tied at 45.
“Someone lost her and we don’t know who,” said Ziegler of Dunne’s game-tying triple. “The plan was really to foul. We just didn’t get that done. We didn’t want them shooting a three, we were gonna foul.”
The Dogs scored the first nine points of overtime, including 7 of 8 free throws, to take a commanding lead with just a minute remaining.
The Streaks did get a trio of treys from Gabby Nafziger, Peterson and Harley Phillips around just 2 of 4 from the line by Rossford in the final minute to pull within 56-54 with 11 seconds remaining. But Dunne’s two free throws five seconds later essentially sealed the Streaks fate, putting the Dogs up four.
“I think they played more to win,” said Ziegler of the overtime session. “And we were just trying to survive. And get through it, and hope to win. Between the free throw shooting and them playing a little bit stronger, they deserved it.”
The game seemed headed in an entirely different direction in the opening quarter when the Streaks began the game up 13-0 and 15-4 by the quarter break.
Nafziger knocked down a triple, Peterson scored twice in a minute span, Phillips’ bucket off a steal, two free throws for Hadley Galvan and a Lily Krieger basket put the Dogs in a 13-point hole at the 2:32 mark. Mikonowicz got the Dogs on the board with a pair of hoops, however, a Peterson jumper ended scoring in the period.
However, Rossford’s defense tightened up in the second quarter as they outscored the Streaks 15-8, trimming Archbold’s lead to 23-19 at the half.
“They didn’t let us enter to the wing where we wanted to a lot of times,” said Ziegler on the Bulldogs’ defense. “We didn’t hit the offensive rebounds very well. They had a good game plan. They played well defensively. They were more aggressive, and we were kind of more passive. Tournament time you can’t do that.”
Mikonowicz and Dunne scored all but six of Rossford’s points for the game. They finished with 27 and 25 points respectively.
Peterson finished with 13 points and Krieger added 12 to lead the Streaks. They end the season at 14-8.
Reach Max Householder at 419-335-2010