Wauseon established a first half lead, going up by as many as 13, and in the second half were able to stave off an Archbold surge to earn a 40-34 win in a non-league boys basketball contest at Archbold Thursday night.
“First half, I think sometime leads are misleading,” said Wauseon mentor Chad Burt. “I think we really shot the ball well in the first half and that’s what we talked about (at halftime). Was, we built the lead with something that we can’t really rely on in the second half. And obviously with their athletes, and what Archbold basketball means, we knew they were gonna come out and apply great pressure and they were gonna play very fast and they did. It became a typical Wauseon-Archbold game where it was gonna be close down the stretch. We were able to make just enough plays to pull it out.”
The Indians were able to take hold of the lead in the first quarter, then bumped it up to double digits by the second.
Following 1 of 2 free throws from Archbold’s Trey Theobald which knotted the score at 7, Noah Sauber put Wauseon in front with a basket in the paint at the 1:46 mark of the opening quarter.
Then came the Connar Penrod show for Wauseon.
He drilled two 3-pointers on consecutive possessions for the Indians, but a triple by the Blue Streaks’ Alex Roth made it a 15-10 margin after one quarter.
“I have no idea why we came out so lethargic. We acted like we didn’t care if we were here or not and Wauseon came out with some passion, some energy, and made a lot of shots. We dug ourselves a hole, then went about five minutes again in the fourth quarter without scoring — it was like 31-28 for about four or five possessions. Just didn’t get it done. Credit them, they came over here shorthanded tonight and took it to us,” said Archbold coach Joe Frank of his team’s slow start and the game in general.
Penrod picked up where he left off in the first quarter in the second, knocking down two more threes and also a layup after a nifty cut through the lane to give Wauseon a 23-10 advantage nearing the halfway mark of the frame.
He scored 14 of his game-high 17 points in the first half, but as his coach would mention, the Streaks did a better job defending Penrod in the second half.
“He’s a guy that can get to feeling it a little bit,” Burt said of his senior guard. “But like I said, that’s one of those things you can’t rely upon. Which obviously, the second half they did a great job of getting on him and it was nice to see some other kids step up and make plays. Again, just a really good team win for us.”
However, coach Frank had a different theory. He didn’t think Penrod was as aggressive at looking to score in the second half, perhaps creating a more balanced second half scoresheet for the Indians.
“I don’t think he looked to score as much,” stated Frank. “And, he scored a couple of those (his points) in the zone, so we didn’t play any more zone. Because obviously it was a bad zone. It’s just one of those nights where you just shake your head. There is a long way to go this season. A win or a loss isn’t gonna make or break us.
Archbold was able to claw back within single digits, 27-22, in the first three minutes of the third period following back-to-back clutch 3-pointers from Austin Roth.
“It’s effort and energy,” said Frank on how his team responded so well in the third quarter. “We didn’t give it the first half. Again, if I knew why I could probably write a book and make a lot of money. I’m not smart enough to do that. I don’t know the answer to that question. If I did I’d bottle it and sell it. Because, all it took was us getting into them (Wauseon) a little bit and making a shot or two.
The Streaks would eventually get it down to 31-28 entering the fourth quarter as Alex Roth closed out the third with a pair of hoops.
That margin held for just over three minutes into the fourth, then Wauseon’s Kolton DeGroff finished off a pass from Penrod to extend their lead to five with 4:51 to play. A pair of Isaac Wilson free throws increased the Indian lead to seven, but the Streaks answered back when Alex Roth was fouled and hit a pair, and Theobald had a putback to make it 35-32 with 2:24 remaining.
Penrod responded with a fadeaway jumper at the other end, and DeGroff knocked down a pair from the foul line. Then 1 of 2 from the charity stripe by Penrod with 52 ticks to go iced it for the Indians.
It also did not help Archbold that they missed a total of four free throws in the final stanza.
After Penrod, the Indians had a trio of players with six points each in DeGroff, Sauber and Easton Delgado. Alex Roth had 13 and Theobald seven to pace the Streaks.
For Wauseon, it was their third straight win while missing players as a result of COVID-19 issues. They were without a total of five players.
“Hopefully with some of the guys that are stepping in and off the bench, that’s gonna pay off for us down the road,” explained Burt. “It creates a very interesting dilemma from a coaching standpoint. How are these guys gonna mix back in? But we’ve got very unselfish kids. We’re very senior-laden. They understand the expectation so I have no doubt that when those guys come back we’re just gonna keep flowing smoothly and hopefully keep it up.”
Archbold had four players unavailable.
Each team was back in action on Saturday. It took Wauseon overtime to earn a 46-40 win at Genoa. Archbold fell at home to Ottawa-Glandorf, 57-36.
Archbold is at Fairview Tuesday night and at Kalida Saturday. Wauseon travels to Perrysburg Tuesday.
Reach Max Householder at 419-335-2010