Swanton used a significant size advantage to create consistent defensive pressure in a 50-36 victory over Fayette at home in boys basketball Tuesday.
“The name of the game we thought was, we had to get out and pressure them and use our length to make it difficult for them to find open lanes. I think we did a pretty good job with that,” said Swanton mentor Matt Smith after the game.
“We knew coming in they were gonna run that 1-3-1 (defense). We had too many turnovers against it,” added Fayette coach Todd Mitchell. “Their length is a big problem. They probably had five or six inches on each of our players.
“That’s a very athletic team. And they are big and strong. They’re well coached.”
Swanton held a four point edge after the first quarter, but Fayette responded with threes from Tharyn Colegrove and Travis Wagner, putting them in front 13-11 at the 6:30 mark of the second.
Gunnar Oakes then split a pair from the foul line for Swanton, Wagner hit another three, and Colegrove added a bucket for the Eagles to open up a six-point edge.
However, threes by Randy Slink, Tanner Prentice and Oakes gave Swanton a 21-18 lead at the half.
But despite having the lead, coach Smith let his team know in the locker room they needed to be better.
“I don’t know if we got tired, but we kind of just went into a little drought. We didn’t hit a couple shots. Our defense went down a little bit,” he said when speaking about the second quarter. “At halftime we just said listen, we’ve got to continue (to) pressure. It’s gonna lead to some transition buckets.”
Duyane Goings’ basket roughly 1:30 into the third quarter gave the Bulldogs a 28-21 lead, but Colegrove answered with a jump shot and 1 of 2 from the line. Oakes then scored on a steal by Swanton, Dylan Gilsdorf converted another fastbreak opportunity, and Oakes turned a steal into a dunk at the other end to make it 34-24 with 1:33 left in the third.
Slink’s bucket on a drive to the hoop put the margin at 12 points going into the fourth.
“We came out flat like we did the first quarter,” said Mitchell of his team’s play in the third. “They went on a run and they got some run outs. We had some turnovers and they scored off the turnovers. Then you look up and it’s a 10 point game.”
Following a Clayton Pheils three for Fayette 15 seconds into the fourth quarter, Slink scored inside and then added a three-point play to make it 41-27 with 6:14 to go. Slink was Swanton’s second leading scorer with 13 points for the game.
“He played well,”said Smith of Slink. “And the best thing he did was his defense. He actually leads our team in deflections. He’s got long arms, he’s very active, he’s quick. So, when he comes in there he does a good job of just disrupting the other team’s offense. He was very good at that tonight.”
Both teams proceeded to trade buckets, then Oakes’ three-point play put Swanton up 46-32 with exactly four minutes to play. The Dogs would maintain their double digit advantage throughout the final four minutes.
Leading Swanton (6-9) was Oakes with 19 points. Wagner finished with 11 and Colegrove 10 for Fayette (5-10).
Swanton stays home this weekend when they welcome in Evergreen Friday and Genoa on Saturday. Fayette hosts Hicksville Saturday.
Reach Max Householder at 419-335-2010