A suffocating defense helped lift Swanton to a 40-31 home win in girls basketball on Thursday. The Patriots did have a 13-point fourth quarter, but the Bulldogs had already built a sufficient lead, allowing them to hold on for a nine-point victory in Northwest Ohio Athletic League play.
“Our defense was really good tonight I thought,” said Swanton coach Eric Oakes. “Just getting after it. I told the girls, ‘we’re gonna play fullcourt (pressure defense) non-stop, the entire game.’ They were ready to do that. Bridget Harlett’s just everywhere. She has been all year. She may miss a steal, and she’s getting it five seconds later.
“Her energy really helps all the other girls get going. Especially today, she was a big key.”
In the opening quarter after the Patriots cut the Bulldog lead to one, Swanton went on a 7-2 run to end the period. Grace Oakes banked in a three-pointer and Aricka Lutz followed with a steal and score. MacKenzie Vance scored inside for PH, but a floater from Ashlynn Waddell of Swanton put the difference at 12-6 after one.
Swanton also had a 7-0 run in the middle of the second period to extend its lead.
Averie Lutz converted a drive to the hoop, Frankie Nelson knocked down a triple, and two free throws for Harlett put the Dogs up 20-10 with 3:04 left before halftime.
Scoring 40 points can be considered rather underwhelming, however, the Dogs did just enough on that end of the floor to outduel the Patriots.
“We’re not bad shooters,” stated coach Oakes. “It’s just the ball’s not going in as much as we would like it. But today it went in enough.”
The Dogs continued to increase their lead in the second half.
A Harlett free throw started a third quarter push from the Dogs. After two missed attempts at the foul line by PH, Averie Lutz layed one in at the other end, Harlett converted a fast break opportunity and Averie Lutz split a pair at the line. Kayla Prigge then went 1 for 2 from the line for the Patriots, making it 30-18 after three.
Swanton got 1 of 2 free throws from Jessica Dohm, plus a drive and score by Averie Lutz to give them a 15-point lead early in the fourth quarter.
The Patriots would not be able to get back within single digits until the closing seconds, when Olivia Thompson ended the game with five straight points.
The victory capped a good week for the Dogs. After falling in league play to Evergreen the week before, Swanton also defeated Defiance last Monday 35-29.
“Obviously we played, I thought, a pretty bad game against Evergreen,” said Oakes. “The first half, we were up eight. Just did not have the energy that we’ve had all year. But we bounced back holding Defiance to I think 29 points defensively. And then tonight a good showing defensively. We gave up a few points right at the end, but overall the defense is keeping us in these games. And making us competitive.”
Averie Lutz led Swanton scorers with nine points. Nelson added eight, while Harlett and Grace Oakes each had seven. Thompson notched a game-high 14 points for PH.
Swanton (8-6, 2-2 NWOAL) is at Maumee (4-14) Tuesday before hosting Wauseon (6-11, 1-3) in league action Thursday.
Reach Max Householder at 419-335-2010