Swanton rebounded from a 14-point home loss against Edgerton in their previous game over a week earlier to defeat Rossford at home on Wednesday, 46-33.
“We talked about being willing to sit down and defend for as long as it takes,” said Swanton coach Joel Visser on the aspects focused on in practice leading up to the Rossford game. “One thing we did and really stressed, was getting off to a fast start. We’ve been behind in every game by at least six three minutes into the game. And we’re playing catch-up from the start. So we got off to a much better start.
“But where we’ve got to get better, is we have to take care of the ball late (in the game).”
Swanton got their fast start in the opening quarter, thanks in large part to Randy Slink who was back after missing the Edgerton game due to injury.
The junior buried consecutive three-pointers to give the hometown Bulldogs a 6-0 lead.
“It was good to have him back,” said Visser of Slink. “And the guys know that he can play, so I think from a mental and morale perspective, it was uplifting to know that he was gonna be back in the lineup.”
That advantage then ballooned to 12-0 after a pair of buckets from Hunter Mix and a pull-up jumper from Dylan Gilsdorf. Rossford’s only points in the frame came on a hook shot by Lucas Warner, pulling them within 10 by the end of the quarter.
Swanton’s Jared Wilson sank a three-pointer which made it 15-2 15 seconds into the second period, however, the Rossford defense helped them get back into it from there.
Cam Reynolds started the rally with a bucket, then consecutive steal and scores from the visiting Bulldogs got the score down to 15-8 not even two minutes in. Zach Bloom of Swanton responded with a basket off an assist from Josh Vance, but a combined six free throws by Rossford’s Zach Perry, Peyton Sloan and Warner made it 17-14 with 4:07 left in the half.
“I think they had 10 points (off turnovers). That’s my guess at this point,” said Visser. “So you take away those 10 points and our halfcourt defense was really, really good tonight. We did some good things, and we just gotta keep doing what we’re doing defensively and keep playing hard.”
Swanton made the last run of the half as Andrew Thornton drilled a mid-range jumper and Wilson followed with a triple. After a basket from Sloan, Wilson knocked down another three, this time from the left corner to put the halftime margin at 25-16.
Although Rossford’s defense continued to wreak havoc in the third, the home Bulldogs just outscored them 10-9 in the frame, giving Swanton a nice cushion entering the final period.
A Rossford technical foul sent Swanton to the foul line at the 6:36 mark of the fourth, and Wilson calmly sank both shots. But, Rossford would get a pair of buckets from Reynolds around 1 of 2 free throws by Sloan to get them within 37-30 with 3:08 remaining.
Slink answered for Swanton with a basket shortly after Reynolds’ second hoop, Mix stuck one back in after a miss the next time down the floor, and Slink scored inside to extend the lead back to 13.
Rossford could only muster one last three over the final 1:30.
Wilson paced Swanton with 14 points, Slink added 12 points and Mix 9.
Swanton, who moved to 4-2 after the win over Rossford, competes in the Warrior Classic at Emmanuel Christian Friday and Saturday.
Reach Max Householder at 419-335-2010