A big second quarter from Archbold, one in which they outscored Pettisville 14-5, was the difference down the stretch as the Blue Streaks defeated the visiting Blackbirds 51-41 in a non-league boys basketball contest Friday.
The Streaks did suffer their first loss of the season the next night, falling at Ottawa-Glandorf 71-45.
“We emptied our tank. And we had to. That’s a nice team,” said victorious coach Joe Frank after the Pettisville game. “Lepp (coach Brian Leppelmeier) does a great job with them. They were well-prepared. They played the game the first quarter the way they wanted to play it. Then we, obviously, changed a few things up.”
Pettisville gained its first lead of the game when Isaac Reynolds drilled a three-pointer at the 2:22 mark of the first quarter for a 11-8 advantage. The difference stayed three following two free throws from Archbold’s Ethan Hagans and a basket inside from the Blackbirds’ Graeme Jacoby. However, Noah Gomez got the Streaks within one, 13-12, on a drive and score with 1:16 left and that’s what it would be after one.
Jacoby had eight points in the frame but was limited to just three over the final three quarters.
“They were taking away Graeme,” said coach Leppelmeier. “Making his catches tough in the paint. Weren’t gonna give Max (Leppelmeier) any stand-still threes or any open looks. Really, the game plan (was) Mitchell (Avina) get the basketball in the paint. And then some other guys had to step up. I thought Isaac Reynolds and Josh (Horning) did a nice job of knocking down some shots.
“We just needed a few more to fall.”
“He got too many touches the first quarter,” noted Frank. “And we didn’t get a double (team) the way we needed to. Then we started pressuring a little bit. Again, some of their role players stepped up. Made some big shots for them. Credit them. We were glad that those guys had their hands on the ball rather than Jacoby or (Max) Leppelmeier. But those kids knocked shots down.”
The Streaks’ second quarter run started with a pair of Hagans free throws. Elijah Zimmerman then scored on a drive to the hoop, DJ Newman hit a jump shot, and Hagans scored in the paint for a 22-15 lead with 3:08 before halftime.
A Horning three pulled the Birds within four, but Zimmerman closed the half with a pair of hoops.
Archbold kept their distance from Pettisville in the third quarter, using Trey Theobald’s three in the final minute of the period to go up 37-28 heading into the fourth.
They held a 41-32 advantage after a pair of Gomez free throws at the 4:43 mark of the fourth; however, the Birds began to chip away.
First Jacoby got back on the board with a three-point play, Hagans responded with an Archbold hoop, then an Avina bucket got it down to 43-37 with 3:20 remaining.
However, Pettisville would not score again until there was under a minute left. In that time, the Streaks bumped their lead back to 11 thanks to 1 of 2 free throws from Zimmerman and four straight points by Gomez.
“That team’s gonna win a lot of games this year,” concluded Frank on Pettisville. “We’re just pleased that we had a game like that. Because those are the kind of games that you learn a little bit more about yourselves and find out some areas of strength, or weakness, that you need to continue to work on to get better.”
Gomez led all scorers with 14 points. Zimmerman added 11 for Archbold (5-1).
Along with Jacoby, Max Leppelmeier tallied 11 points for Pettisville (6-1).
“We’re gonna get better,” said coach Leppelmeier. “I mean Archbold, this is a great game. It’s a measuring stick for us. Kind of find out what we need to work on and what they’re gonna take away. And how our kids need to adapt when you play good teams. Archbold’s one of those teams, they’re gonna take things away. We have to learn to adapt. Can’t fault our kids effort. They’ve played hard all year long. A lot of kids in new roles. We just have to use this to get better moving back into league play a week from today.”
Reach Max Householder at 419-335-2010