LIMA – Leads can come and go rather quickly in a basketball game. However, it is unusual for a four-point lead with under 15 seconds left to be lost with the absence of overtime.
That is exactly what happened Thursday at Lima Senior, when Coldwater scored five straight points in the final 13 seconds to stun number one ranked Archbold, 35-34, in a Division III boys basketball district semifinal.
The Blue Streaks came up short on the front-end of a one-and-one opportunity at the 25 second mark, and Coldwater’s Jacob Wenning turned it into three points at the other end with a triple to cut the deficit to one, 34-33.
Then, on the ensuing inbound by Archbold, Ben Wenning got a hand on the pass and corralled it, feeding it to Cole Frilling who laid it in for the final lead change of the game. The Streaks had one final chance, but Jeron Williams was off on a fall away jumper in the closing seconds.
“We didn’t finish the game. Plain and simple. There’s no getting around it,” said Archbold coach Joe Frank. “We had to inbound the ball, and we’re gonna go to the foul line at least. We didn’t execute it. Credit to them.
“We gave ourselves every chance in the world. At the end of the day, you have to finish games. Unfortunately for us tonight, we didn’t. It doesn’t take away from anything that these guys have done all year long. It’s just a disappointing way to end what was a really good season.”
Archbold finishes the season at 23-1, a great accomplishment for Frank in his first year as the head man.
“It was a dream season for us. For me as a first year (head) coach,” he said. “It was more about the kids and what they did. The accomplishments they had.
“It hurts. I’m not gonna lie, it hurts a lot right now. But at the end of the day, the sun’s gonna come up tomorrow. And it is a game. We laid it on the line and came up a little bit short tonight. Credit Coldwater for playing a great game.”
The Cavaliers stymied the Blue Streak offense in the first half, holding them to 13 points. At the other end, Frilling scored 8 of Coldwater’s 22 in the half, and they also hit four from downtown.
There was a discrepancy in foul calls, especially in the first half, as five were called on Archbold to just two on Coldwater. However after the game, Frank was in no mood for making excuses.
“We had at least four block-charge calls that were and-one opportunities, and every one went against us,” said the Archbold coach. “But, we can’t control that. You just got to play through it and I thought we did. We had every opportunity. At the end of the day, you’ve got to be able to inbound the ball. You’ve got to be able to be solid with the basketball and get it over halfcourt. We didn’t do it. Unfortunately for us that’s the end of the road.”
The Streaks flipped the script after halftime, outscoring the Cavaliers 21-13. Frilling scored 27 seconds into the fourth quarter to put Coldwater up 30-24, but those were the last Cavalier points in the frame until the final minute.
“I knew we would answer the bell. This group’s done it all year long,” said Frank. “We did a whale of a job defensively. They had what 22 at half and ended up with 35. And five of those were in the last 30 seconds.”
Archbold was able to gain the late four point lead with four points each from Austin Wiemken and Williams, plus two free throws by fellow senior Rigo Ramos.
Frilling led all scorers with 14 points. Williams paced Archbold with 11 points, while Ramos added 10.
The Streaks were not the only ones to be upset at the hands of the Cavaliers. Two days later, eighth-ranked Ottawa-Glandorf was defeated 70-67, sending Coldwater to the regional at Bowling Green State University.
Reach Max Householder at 419-335-2010