Swanton jumped out to a 17-3 lead after the first quarter that proved to be enough of a cushion Tuesday in a non-league girls basketball game at Pettisville. They rolled to a 43-24 win over the Blackbirds despite them getting within nine, 33-24, after the third.
“We’ve had good competition against Pettisville the entire time I’ve been here,” said Swanton coach Eric Oakes after the game. “They lost some players from last year, some really talented players. But we knew it was still gonna be tough in here. We couldn’t make too many mistakes to get out of here with the win. Happy that we got out of here with a win.”
The two squads traded three-point baskets to start the game – Aricka Lutz for Swanton and Jessica McWatters for Pettisville – but outside of that the opening quarter belonged to the Bulldogs. They used their rigorous pressure defense to force numerous turnovers, enabling them to go on a 14-0 run.
The Dogs forced 16 Blackbird turnovers in total, however, they also gave it away 10 times.
“We got off to the quick start, and then we changed defense there. It got us out (to) that bigger lead,” explained Oakes. “Then I don’t know if it was just fatigue or sickness that kind of caught up (with us). We got lazy. And let them hit some wide open shots and get some rebounds and put them up. Started fouling instead of just playing good defense. Our game’s gonna be try and pressure them. We got to score off of our defense. Offensively, we just got to keep working on that throughout the year and get better on that end.”
Pettisville snapped an over seven minute scoring drought with Hannah Sauder’s bucket at the 6:08 mark of the second quarter. Aricka Lutz responded with a deep triple, extending the margin back to 15 at 20-5.
But from there the Birds started to chip away.
McWatters’ pull up three, 1 of 2 free throws from Xavia Borden, and a triple by Mikayla Graber around a Morgan Pine hoop for Swanton, got them within 22-13 at the break.
The Dogs scored the first five points of the third to once again provide them some breathing room. Grace Oakes stuck one back in for two 28 seconds into the stanza, then 36 seconds later Averie Lutz drilled a triple from the corner.
At the end of the period, Borden’s bucket in the paint plus 1 of 2 free throws from her to go along with a pair from Alli King, got it down to nine heading into the fourth.
The Birds, however, would be held scoreless over the final eight minutes.
Although not a clean game for his team by any means, overall Oakes got what he wanted and learned a bit about his squad.
“We were hoping we could play multiple defenses tonight. And we tried a few,” said the Bulldogs’ coach. “But, obviously our bread and butter is just gonna be straight up man-to-man. Try to get after them and play sound defense. We’ve got to limit the fouls though on it. The reaching fouls.”
Aricka Lutz paced the Dogs with 16 points while Averie Lutz added 8. McWatters led Pettisville with 11.
Swanton (3-2) is back in action next Monday when they visit Rossford. Pettisville (2-4) hosts North Central this Friday.
Reach Max Householder at 419-335-2010