Swanton grinded out a 41-36 home victory over Rossford in non-league girls basketball action Monday night.
Rossford did put up 14 points in the first quarter, however, that was the most they had in any quarter.
“Defensively I was pretty happy with them out there. We were just getting after it,” said Swanton coach Eric Oakes of his team. “I thought we did a nice job changing up our defenses against them. And really kind of making them figure it out on the fly after they would call timeout.”
The Rossford lead was 14-7 after a Sam Mikonwicz steal and score at the 1:53 mark, but a pair of free throws by Swanton’s Cydney Christensen and Haley Nelson’s coast-to-coast layup brought them within three at the end of the first.
The Swanton offense then got aggressive, scoring nine straight points to begin the second quarter. Nelson got them going with a basket and two free throws, then Christensen split a pair from the foul line, and Sidney Taylor hit consecutive shots to make it 20-14 with 4:33 left in the half.
However, Rossford responded with a 7-0 run as Swanton made just one bucket over the final 4:14.
“We are alright offensively, we just are missing some shots. Some easy shots,” said Oakes. “I keep telling them, one of these days we are gonna make some shots and we are gonna surprise somebody that’s pretty darn good.”
Following Peityn Theobalds’ three-pointer which ended the Swanton run, Taylor answered with a coast-to-coast hoop, but Theobalds and Deanna Utley each recorded layups which put Rossford down 22-21 at the half.
“At halftime I said, we hold them to six or less in the third, I told them we will pull this thing out,” said Oakes on the message to his team at halftime.
His girls must have been listening closely because that is just what they did.
Although back-to-back buckets by Hailey Beyer and Theobalds gave Rossford an early lead in the third, Taylor Dohm’s jump shot and 1 of 2 free throws by Christensen knotted the score at 25 midway through the period.
Taylor put Swanton on top by three with 1 of 2 from the line and a bucket. Rossford’s Haleigh Peters got into the action with a bucket of her own, but Christensen converted an assist from Taylor at the third quarter horn to make it 30-27 heading into the fourth.
Swanton maintained a safe distance for much of the fourth, going up 37-31 after Taylor’s bucket off her own miss with 3:02 left to play. But, that distance got much smaller when Mikonowicz drilled a three and Theobalds added two free throws the next time down the floor to pull Rossford within one with only two minutes remaining.
The Swanton defense would tighten up from there, however, and Taylor and Nelson each hit a pair from the line in the final 20 seconds to seal it.
“We’ve battled our free throws this year. The Evergreen game it showed,” said Oakes. “But the close games, the games that we’ve won and that have been close in the fourth quarter, the girls are stepping up and hitting some big free throws for us.”
Taylor paced Swanton’s offense with 16 points. Nelson added 15 points.
Reach Max Householder at 419-335-2010