Swanton defended its home court, winning the inaugural Bob Fisher Holiday Classic on Saturday. They topped Miller City in the final 52-37 after beating Delta in the first game on Friday.
“First off, we talked to our guys about playing particularly hard in the areas we could control; defense, rebounding, and valuing the possession offensively,” said Swanton coach Joel Visser. “We felt like we were the better team on paper athletically and if we could control tempo and take care of the ball we would put ourselves in a good spot to win.”
He said in both games, the team did a great job of dictating tempo.
“We picked up both teams full court defensively and challenged everything in the half court,” said Visser. “This was a critical part of putting us in control of both games and allowed us to play at a pace we were comfortable with.
“From there we relied on Josh Vance and Andrew Thornton to make plays for us offensively.”
They led the Bulldogs in scoring both nights and open everything up for the team, according to the coach.
“When they play well we are really good. Our team is extremely young and talented and we get better each night we compete,” Visser said.
In the final on Saturday, the Bulldogs raced out to a big lead early. Swanton was hot offensively and pushed their advantage to 19-3 by the end of the opening period.
They extended that lead in the second quarter. Swanton outscored Miller City 6-4 and took a 25-7 lead into the locker room at halftime.
The Wildcats fought back in the third, but the Bulldogs put them away in the fourth quarter.
Thornton paced the Bulldogs (6-2) offensively with 16 points, while Vance added 14. Austin Ruhe led Miller City (4-4) with 13 points.
The Wildcats had defeated Fairview 55-44 on Friday to advance to the final.
The Bulldogs limited Delta offensively on Friday en route to a 48-26 victory.
Swanton led 14-7 after one quarter and pushed that lead to 28-11 at the halftime break. A 16-5 third quarter stretched the Bulldog advantage to 44-16 after three quarters and Swanton cruised to victory.
Vance paced Swanton with 19 points and Thornton scored 14.
“I really like this group because they have heart and a willingness to be coached every day,” Visser said of his team. “If we stay healthy and stay the course we have a shot to make noise in the NWOAL this season and for years to come.”
Noah Risner led Delta (2-6) with seven points.
The Panthers fell to Fairview 59-20 on Saturday.
Swanton is in action again Saturday when they travel to Otsego. Delta is at Lake Saturday.