In what counted as a non-league contest the week before, Wauseon eliminated a late deficit to fight back for a one-point win over Archbold. Fast forward a week to Thursday, the Blue Streaks bounced back from a horrendous first half – first quarter in particular – to earn a come-from-behind 38-32 win at home in overtime versus the Indians in the Northwest Ohio Athletic League boys basketball opener.
“For us it was all about tonight,” said Archbold coach Joe Frank on putting the first loss to Wauseon in the rearview mirror. “It was an opportunity, and the opportunity is one step in a seven-step path in the league. And that’s all it is. Although obviously, it’s always a big win when we’re able to beat Wauseon. Just like it is when they beat us. I just give a ton of credit to our kids; because, a lesser team maybe would have gone into the tank the way we shot the first half. And say, well I guess it’s just not our night. But we came out and we rang the bell to start the second half.”
The Streaks outscored the Indians 30-14 in the second half and overtime.
After experiencing some shooting woes in the first 16 minutes, Archbold went on a 7-0 run to begin the third period which got them back in it.
Trey Theobald and Noah Gomez each scored in transition, then Gomez got a 3-pointer to rattle in, forcing a Wauseon timeout with the Streaks within 18-15 at the 5:44 mark.
“They played with a lot of energy,” said Wauseon coach Chad Burt of Archbold’s effort after halftime. “I thought the start of the second half was critical. I think they started on a 7-0 run. Really gave them energy and gave them that spark in the second half. Elijah Zimmerman, the second half, was certainly a difference maker. I thought he made some big plays for them.
“The second half they made some really, really big shots at critical moments. Tip your cap, and we couldn’t quite, you know, maybe finish at the rim or make winning plays. That’s basketball. That’s Archbold-Wauseon. What a heck of a game.”
Wauseon extended the lead to 24-18 later in the frame following a putback hoop from Connar Penrod and Jonas Tester’s bucket on a backdoor cut. However Zimmerman – who was held scoreless in the first half – scored to make it a four-point margin at the quarter break.
He then scored the first four points of the fourth to knot the game at 24 just 1:24 in. A Sean Brock three-point play put the Indians back on top; however, Zimmerman’s triple tied it once again with 5:42 to play.
Zimmerman scored all of his game-high 13 points in the second half.
“He’s a three-year letter winner, two-year starter,” said Frank of the veteran guard helping lead his team to victory. “We had a little talk before we went out on the floor there in the third quarter, I just said ‘Zimm, I need you to step up. It’s time.’ He answered the call just like I thought he would. Sometimes (referring to the first half) the ball just doesn’t go through basket. But he does so many other things too. He’s our vocal leader out there. He tries to keep everybody encouraged.”
The Indians held minimal leads down the stretch, including a 31-28 advantage with 2:44 left after Brock’s basket in the paint. Theobald scored at the other end for Archbold, then Penrod split a pair from the foul line to keep the Indian lead at two.
The Streaks would tie it at 32 when Alex Roth buried a long jumper with 1:30 remaining.
Both teams had chances to win it in regulation.
Brock, after forcing a turnover, drew a foul on Archbold with six seconds left and the Indians in the bonus. But he missed the front-end of a 1-and-1 and Archbold got the rebound.
Nevertheless, the Streaks’ final possession saw Roth’s jumper fall short as time expired.
Archbold got the last laugh, outscoring Wauseon 6-0 in the extra session to seal it. Zimmerman buried a three to get the scoring started, plus went 1 of 2 from the line as the Streaks led 36-32 with 1:09 left in overtime.
Each team combined to miss three 1-and-1 opportunities down the stretch, and Ethan Hagans’ free throws with eight seconds left reached the game’s final tally.
Gomez added eight points for the Streaks. For Wauseon, Jonas Tester led the way with 11.
The first half was pretty much domination by the Indians.
Jonas Tester marked five of the first seven points, plus a triple by older brother Noah and a Penrod hoop made it 10-0 Indians nearly five minutes in.
A Roth triple at the 2:57 mark broke the Archbold drought. Tyson Britsch hit a three for the Indians, and Hagans’ turnaround jumper made the score 13-5 after one quarter.
Wauseon narrowly outscored Archbold in the second period, 5-3, giving them an 18-8 edge at halftime.
“We fought to keep it (the deficit) at 10,” said Frank of his team’s first half struggles. “Because obviously, we weren’t doing anything on the offensive end. And again, that’s a credit to their defense. We had a lot of good looks but we didn’t knock them down. We said in the locker room at halftime, ‘we’re lucky to be down 10.’ The ball game was far from over. We just have to go out and we have to start playing with some confidence. And we have to start being more aggressive at both ends of the floor.
“I really thought our pressure picked up (in the second half). And we became a little bit more aggressive. Fortunately for us, they didn’t shoot the ball very well the second half, just like we didn’t shoot it very well in the first half.”
Frank switched from man-to-man defense to a 2-3 zone for the final three quarters, and the move proved beneficial. The Indians could muster only 19 points after the first quarter.
Frank liked the Streaks defensive effort, but also said the Indians had some looks that just missed. Burt concurred, however, he also was impressed with Archbold’s defense.
“They’re just so active. They‘ve got athletes all over the floor,” said Burt of the Blue Streaks’ 2-3 zone.
“They get their hands on a lot of basketballs. They read things well. Again, very simply they have five basketball players on the court. They have guys that, like I said, they read (offenses), they make plays. So a credit to them. I thought we got some good looks, at times, that we weren’t able to quite knock down.”
Archbold (7-3, 1-0 NWOAL) plays host to Delaware Hayes on Saturday. Wauseon (7-3, 0-1) welcomes Defiance that same night.
Reach Max Householder at 419-335-2010