Gunnar Oakes scored nine points during an 18-5 explosion that took just 3:49 in the second quarter, to lead Swanton to a 73-36 romp over Evergreen to improve the Bulldogs to 11-3 on the season Friday night at Swanton.
“We are definitely getting better,” said Bulldog coach Matt Smith. “Our energy level is up and it’s been nice to get some practice time under our belts. Our schedule was so crazy in December at one point I think we had played 10 games but only had 20 practices. We’ve been able to (put) more things in and we’re able to get some consistency. We are starting to play pretty well and we have a chance to win several basketball games coming down the stretch.”
Big Devin Jones’ work on the offensive glass that created three second chance baskets along with a couple of hoops each from Oakes and Bryce McComb that put Swanton on top 16-5 with 3:15 left in the first.
Evergreen fought back on two baskets from freshman Bryce Hudik and Alec Truckor’s three-point play to trail just 18-12 heading into the second.
The 6’4” junior scored in the paint, split a pair from the foul line, then on a steal to begin the Bulldog run.
McComb got a cherry pick layup before Oakes scored again on a steal and an offensive rebound before Rob Gilsdorf hit a bucket on a drive and Mark Lair tripled to put the Bulldogs up 36-17 with 4:11 left in the quarter and the Bulldogs never looked back, extending the lead throughout the rest of the contest.
“Gunnar definitely gets us going, no doubt about it. The three games he didn’t score double figures have all been losses, every other game, all 11 wins he has double digit points so I think there might be something to that.
“Evergreen has a lot of really young players but they do good things and they are going to be really solid and back to what they expect before you know it. They played really hard, right now we just have bigger, stronger and more experienced athletes.”
McComb had 17 to lead all Swanton scorers. Oakes had 16, Jones 11 and Gilsdorf 10.
Evergreen grounds Blackbirds, 38-21
Evergreen pressured and harassed Pettisville into 32 turnovers and 17 percent shooting from the floor to claim a 38-21 victory over the Blackbirds the next night.
“I thought the kids played really hard,” expressed Viking coach Jerry Keifer. “We are just trying to take one game at a time and the good Lord willing we’ll get a few more wins this year.”
Dillon King’s putback a minute into the game put Pettisville on top, but the Vikings scored the next 11 points over a nine minute span.
Peyton Pawlaczyk knotted the game with an offensive rebound basket of his own before Nick Etue’s jumper gave the Vikes a lead they never lost.
Alec Truckor’s triple closed out first quarter scoring before Teagan Pinkelman found Josh Dowling slashing to the hoop twice to make it 11-2 with six minutes left in the second.
King’s second offensive rebound hoop got the Blackbirds within 16-8 at the half as Evergreen forced 19 turnovers before intermission. Only the Vikings 25 percent field goal shooting in the same period of time kept the game within striking distance for Pettisville.
That changed in the second half as Bryce Hudik’s floater and a pair of triples from fellow freshman Chandler Lumbrezer, along with another from Pinkelman turned an eight point lead at the half into a 32-14 lead heading into the fourth.
While Evergreen continued to clamp down on defense, allowing Pettisville only seven fourth quarter free throws, the Vikings shot 52 percent in the second half to put the game away.
Dowling was the only double figure scorer in the contest with 11 on 5 of 5 from the field.
No Blackbird had more than six.
Pettisville won the rebounding battle 36-21.
Evergreen (4-8) travels to Holgate tonight before returning home Friday and Saturday against Montpelier and Ottawa Hills.
Pettisville (4-9) hosts Edon and Liberty Center this weekend.
Swanton travels to Hilltop tonight, then to Bryan on Friday for an NWOAL contest.
Joe Blystone can be reached at [email protected]