Wauseon, behind a strong first half effort from their defense which allowed only three Archbold field goals, fought off a late rally by the Blue Streaks for a 47-40 victory in NWOAL boys basketball Friday night. The hometown Indians moved to 2-0 in the league in front of a sold out crowd.
“That’s a good win for us,” said Wauseon coach Chad Burt. “That’s a heck of a win against a very good team. A tournament atmosphere.”
On the other side, despite the loss which dropped his team to 1-1 in league play, Archbold coach Doug Krauss sees a lot of things to build on from this game.
“I was pleased with our kids in the second half. How we went out and competed,” said Krauss. “You know what, it was a positive. It was a great experience coming over here, and we can use this to move on to other situations.”
Wauseon led 8-1 after the first quarter on three points each from both Carter Bzovi and Brendan Britsch, a bucket for Austin Rotroff, and just 1 of 2 free throws from Kaiden Bedsole of Archbold.
Bzovi had 8 of the 13 points scored by the Indians in the second stanza. After a slam dunk off an inbound play by Rotroff to begin the quarter, Archbold finally got its first field goal thanks to Caleb Wooley’s bucket on a fastbreak.
Wauseon led 17-3 with 3:50 to go in the second quarter after Bzovi’s bucket inside. Then Bryce Williams of Archbold scored on a drive to the hoop, Bzovi converted a floater, and Bedsole responded with 1 of 2 from the line which kept the margin at double figures.
Bedsole added a three the next time down the floor for the Streaks, but Bzovi answered with a putback to make it 21-9 at the half.
“I think the key to the first half was, we let them dictate the whole style of the first half,” said Krauss on Wauseon’s first half success. “As far as, we let them set up their halfcourt defense. With their length, and what they have in there, they are just too good in a halfcourt situation.”
Williams and Eli Miller both hit threes for the Streaks in the first 1:30 of the third, while Rigo Ramos added a deuce inside around baskets by Bzovi and Rotroff to make the margin eight, 25-17, at the 6:25 mark.
In the final minute of the frame, Archbold’s Jeron Williams converted a three-point play to bring them within five at 35-30.
“They’ve got so many offensive weapons and so many ways they can hurt you. They started making shots,” said Burt of Archbold’s run in the third. “I thought we had an answer. Brooks Gype didn’t score a lot, but I thought he settled us down. And we had some guys come off the bench and make some plays in the third quarter.”
Bzovi gave the momentum back to Wauseon with a triple at the buzzer, increasing the margin back to eight heading into the fourth.
“His three at the end of the third quarter was monster. It kind of settled us down,” said Burt. “I thought they (Archbold) were playing with a lot of confidence and urgency. He made a great individual play to hit that three just right at the buzzer. And I thought he did a nice job of slashing and finishing at the rim as well.”
The margin remained eight after the two teams traded buckets to begin the fourth, then Miller scored on a dribble penetration, Dawson Rupp split a pair of free throws for Wauseon before Bryce Williams pegged a triple to make it 41-37 with 2:47 to go.
Gype split a pair from the line with 58 seconds left, however, a Bryce Williams three-point play pulled the Streaks within two at 42-40. The Indians then added two more freebies from Gype and 3 of 4 from Rotroff to close out the Streaks.
“I thought we hurt them a little bit on the offensive boards. We got a couple cheap putbacks,” concluded Burt. “I thought we got to the foul line. We didn’t make a lot of foul shots, but I thought we converted enough just to hold them off. And late (in the game) we got just enough defensive stops.”
Bzovi finished with a game high 19 points while Rotroff added 15 for the Indians. Bryce Williams was Archbold’s leading scorer with 13.
Archbold (9-4, 1-1 NWOAL) remained on the road Saturday night where they were defeated by Elida in overtime, 60-59. They will next host Patrick Henry this Friday before a trip to Continental on Saturday.
Wauseon (12-1, 2-0) hosts Bryan Friday and Rossford on Saturday.
Reach Max Householder at 419-335-2010