Down double digits in the early minutes of the second quarter, Wauseon didn’t panic and instead behind a 16-5 third quarter run, earned a 48-45 win over Archbold in a Northwest Ohio Athletic League contest.
Already winning at Archbold in a non-league game earlier this season, the Indians completed the season sweep of the Blue Streaks with the home victory Friday night.
“It’s more of a mental block for our kids,” said Wauseon coach Dan Seiler on facing Archbold. I’ve got seniors that tell me, ‘coach, we’ve never beat Archbold.’ And I keep saying that it’s time to change. It’s time to get over that. It’s time to move on and mature. We’ve talked a lot this season about maturity. Just growing up. And trying to take that next step to get better. I think we’re getting there.”
“We couldn’t get enough rebounds tonight,” stated Archbold coach Brian Ziegler. “But the difference was points in the paint. Give Wauseon credit, they took advantage of their size and that was the difference.”
Wauseon took its first lead of the second half when an unsuspecting three-point shooter, Sydney Zirkle, drilled a corner trey with 2:11 left in the third. She added to that 1:03 later with a basket inside, then a Chelsie Raabe basket off a steal gave them a 38-33 lead heading into the fourth quarter.
“We just weren’t playing our defense,” said Seiler of the first half and how his team responded. “We were giving up way too much on that back side. Our bigs weren’t rotating over, and when our bigs didn’t rotate over, we didn’t have enough help. They are athletic, they know how to get to the rim, and we have to rotate over and help. And then our wing is supposed to drop down and cover that post. We did that in the second half….very well.
“It’s a lot of heart and it’s just kids wanting to play hard and do what’s asked of them. But I’ve got that group. And I’m very fortunate to have the kids working as hard as what they do.”
The Streaks went on a 8-0 run in the fourth to reclaim a one-point lead. Two free throws by Zirkle put Wauseon up 42-35 at the 5:25 mark, but Archbold rallied.
Kylie Sauder split a pair from the foul line, Abi Borojevich then drilled a three, Karsyn Hostetler a long deuce, and a turnaround jumper for Sauder made it 43-42 with 1:35 remaining.
“I liked how are girls competed,” said Ziegler. “When we got behind seven we could have given up. We didn’t give up and gave ourselves a shot.”
The Indians, who had an advantage inside, used that edge with a basket from Zirkle with 1:22 to go that reclaimed them the lead. She was also fouled on the play but missed the and-one opportunity; however, they grabbed the rebound which later led to a pair of free throws from Sam Aeschliman to make it a 48-43 difference.
A pair of Naomi Rodriguez free throws got Archbold within three, and a Wauseon turnover with eight seconds left provided the Streaks one last chance. Borojevich fired up a three-point attempt that went in and out, giving the Indians the victory.
Zirkle led the Indians in scoring with 17 points. Aeschliman added 14, while Hayley Meyer added seven to help Zirkle in the post.
“When we run that three-big matchup it’s hard (to defend),” said Seiler of his team’s advantage inside. “And I thought we executed that – especially in the third quarter very well. With Syd, and Hayley, and Chelsie. They were huge tonight because they’re just a tough matchup. Them girls are so athletic and they’re so strong.”
Borojevich had 17 and Sauder 11 for Archbold.
Sauder scored 8 of her 11 points in the first half as the Streaks got off to a hot start.
A 10-0 run at the end of the first quarter, which lingered into the second, helped them go ahead by 13.
Borojevich started it with four straight points, followed by Sauder’s runner in the lane to give them a 15-6 lead after one. They extended it to 19-6 on consecutive hoops from Rodriguez and Sauder to begin the second stanza.
However, the Indians would outscore the Streaks 16-9 over the final 6:51, pulling them within 28-22 at the half. Meyer scored all seven of her points during the stretch.
Wauseon (10-3, 1-1 NWOAL) resumes league play Thursday with a home tilt against Bryan. Archbold (7-5, 1-1) hosts Stryker Tuesday and Patrick Henry Thursday.
Reach Max Householder at 419-335-2010