Coming in as the perceived underdogs and with nothing to lose on their home floor, the Archbold boys basketball team hit nine three pointers and fended off a late run from Wauseon to triumph over the Indians on Friday, 50-42, and take over sole possession of first place in the NWOAL at 4-0.
The victory also erased any memory of the 68-29 thrashing they took at the hands of Wauseon in the non-league contest to begin the season.
“We’ve gotten a little bit better since back in November,” said Archbold coach Doug Krauss. “I know Wauseon knew that. Coach (Chad) Burt knew that too. But I give our kids a lot of credit for just competing their butts off tonight. That was what it was all about.
“What a great night. I just love this atmosphere. I love the rivalry.”
In addition, coach Burt of the Indians had nothing but glowing remarks about the Blue Streaks’ performance.
“I thought their kids played with great confidence tonight and got us on our heels,” he said. “We didn’t respond real well in the first half. We played with a little bit more energy in the second half, but that is a good basketball team.”
Archbold hit three of their nine triples in the opening quarter, including Toby Walker’s long range bomb with 1:02 left in the stanza to put the Streaks ahead 15-8 after one.
Mike Weigand drilled another three only 32 seconds into quarter number two and also added a score on a drive through the lane, while a corner three from Bryce Williams gave the Streaks a 15-point edge at the 2:53 mark and forced a Wauseon timeout.
What also helped Archbold was their defense that allowed only one Wauseon player to score in double figures, Carter Bzovi who finished with 13. They limited 6’8” Austin Rotroff to nine points.
“They just got a lot of components,” stated Krauss of Wauseon. “And we were able to get some help on him (Rotroff) early. Mike (Weigand) did a really good job on him.”
“They just played fast,” added Burt on the Blue Streak defense. “They are athletic. They did a good job of reading passing lanes and getting hands on balls. Again, they were well prepared and they played well.”
Out of the Indian timeout Wauseon’s Brooks Gype scored inside, then Chase Brock notched a steal and score and Gype hit a triple to bring the margin to 23-15 with 1:17 left until intermission.
Archbold’s Kaiden Bedsole drilled a three from the corner to end the Wauseon run, however, Gype and Mason Creager each converted buckets off Wauseon steals to make the difference 26-19 at the break.
The Indians built off that momentum to start the third, getting a basket inside by Rotroff and Bzovi’s bucket off a drive to the hoop which got them within three only 52 seconds in.
However, like they did the entire game, the Streaks answered the bell.
First it was Bedsole who hit yet another three, then it was Weigand who scored on an alley-oop layup, and Austin Welch who nailed a pair of free throws around one of two by Brock for Wauseon.
“I just thought they played pretty free and easy tonight,” said Burt. “They played like the underdog and they played like their backs were against the wall and had nothing to lose. For whatever reason, I thought we were a little tight.”
Rotroff banked in a short-range jumper and Gype split a pair at the foul line to get the Indians within six at the 1:42 mark. Eli Miller’s long deuce for Archbold made it 35-27 heading into the fourth.
But in spite of allowing the Streaks to extend the lead up to 11 with a three by Williams in the beginning of the final stanza, Wauseon had some triples of their own to get all the way back with under two minutes to go.
They got a three-point play by Rotroff to reduce the Archbold lead to 43-40 with 1:43 left, then a steal and score by Bzovi made it a one-point game. Wauseon fouled Miller who missed the front-end of a 1-and-1 with a little over a minute to play, but luck was on the side of the Streaks, as they managed to haul in the rebound and the Indians were once again forced to foul.
It was Williams who stepped to the line and calmly sank two big free throws, and after a missed front-end by the Indians, Bedsole added two free throws to give the Streaks a 47-42 advantage. Bedsole would later split a pair with 20 seconds to go and a layup from Weigand closed out the scoring.
“Guys stepped up and made plays,” concluded Krauss. “When the ball was on the floor we went after it. Loose balls, we got rebounds. Hey, you know, that’s what it’s about. You play your guts out and if it’s good enough, the scoreboard will let you know. Tonight we were.”
“Disregard what they’ve done early in the year, that is a very good basketball team,” said Burt, once again praising the opponent. “They can really spread the floor, they knocked shots down tonight, and they certainly earned the win.”
Williams had 13 points, Bedsole 12 and Weigand 11 to pace the Streaks.
Wauseon (10-3, 2-1 NWOAL) got back in the win column Saturday when they returned home and picked up a 33-23 win over Maumee. The Indians are at home this Friday when Delta comes to town for an NWOAL match-up.
Archbold, however, suffered their fifth loss of the season on Saturday when they fell at home to Elida 67-42. The Streaks will be at home next Saturday as well when they welcome in Contintental for a non-league contest.
Max Householder can be reached at 419-335-2010