TOLEDO – Swanton Bulldog coach Joel Visser said earlier in the season that his team was going to hang their hat on defense until they could find more ways to score.
The Bulldogs definitely defended, holding host Emmaneul Christian to 33 percent from the floor, but struggled offensively in a 41-29 loss to the Warriors in the consolation game of the Warrior Classic this past Saturday, Dec. 30.
The Bulldogs lost to Whiteford 56-39 in the opening round the previous night.
After plodding through a first quarter in which both teams combined for 5 of 20 from the floor and EC held a 6-5 lead, Randy Slink gave the Bulldogs a one point lead on a steal-and-score nine seconds into the quarter.
A pair of Warrior buckets from Brennan Morris and Jailon Walker gave EC a 10-7 lead, but Jared Wilson canned a baseline jumper with 5:19 left in the half to chop the Warrior lead to a point.
However, that was the last Swanton field goal of the half as nine second quarter turnovers hindered Swanton offensively.
The Warriors weren’t much better, shooting just 4 of 11 in the period, but Tariq Hardiman and Gary Black drilled triples in the last 2:14 to give EC an 18-10 halftime lead.
Hunter Mix’ three-pointer 28 seconds into the third got Swanton within five but EC scored the next eight on Walker’s steal-and-score, Caden Williams’ drive and Thomas Gary’s triple to take control at 26-13 before Slink’s triple stopped the run.
EC took their biggest lead at 31-17 with 1:12 left in the third on Williams’ stop and go move to the rim.
The Warriors matched that 14-point lead at 41-27 on Black’s third triple of the night with 2:20 to go before Andrew Thornton’s putback closed out scoring for the night.
Swanton held EC to 16 for 48 from the floor, however, shot just 11 of 36 themselves and committed 21 turnovers compared to just 12 for the Warriors.
Slink and Mix each had eight points as Swanton did not have a player hit double figures.
Walker had 11 and Williams 10 to lead the Warriors.
The Bulldogs fall to 4-4 on the year and play at Otsego Saturday.
Reach Joe Blystone at firstname.lastname@example.org