Swanton fought hard throughout the game’s entirety, but Wauseon went on a 12-2 run from the middle of the third quarter and into the fourth, ultimately leading the Indians to a 54-43 victory over the Bulldogs in Northwest Ohio Athletic League boys basketball Friday.
“I’ll tell you what, they are tough,” said Wauseon coach Chad Burt of the visiting Bulldogs. “If you’ve seen Swanton’s scores recently, you know they are playing very, very good basketball. (Could have) beat Evergreen, I believe that was two weeks ago. Could have beat Genoa (last) Saturday.
“Coach (Joel) Visser is doing a great job with them. They were extremely well-prepared, which is really saying something. Based on the week that we’ve had. The screwy practice schedule, and the lack of practices. But man were their kids ready to play. They had us on our heels for a majority of the game that’s for sure.”
Swanton gained momentum at the half when Josh Vance buried a three-pointer from the corner as the halftime horn sounded, putting them down a point, 28-27, heading into the locker room.
They carried that over to the third period. Andrew Thornton gave the Bulldogs the lead 16 seconds in with a three, however, Noah Tester answered with a triple for the Indians.
Randy Slink scored inside for Swanton, plus a pair of free throws by Jared Wilson gave the Dogs a 34-31 lead with six minutes left in period.
The Indians would take over from there.
Trent Armstrong converted a steal into two points, Sean Brock scored inside for the Indians, and Armstrong scored on another fast break opportunity. Following a Thornton triple for the Dogs, a Brock layup and two free throws for Armstrong put the Indians up 41-36 after three.
Levi Seiler notched a pair of hoops for Wauseon in the first two minutes of the fourth around Wilson’s two free throws for Swanton, bumping their lead to seven points.
“He’s done that a lot of the year,” said Burt of Seiler. “It’s no secret. He’s a guy that we’re gonna lean on to make plays for us. Being 6’4” and he’s kind of a tough matchup.”
A Wilson triple pulled the Dogs within 45-41, but the Indians responded with four points from Seiler, plus hoops by Connar Penrod and Armstrong for a 53-41 lead with just 2:24 to go.
“They kind of wore us down with some screening action,” said Bulldog mentor Joel Visser. “Really going to their (main) guys. I mean outside of Seiler and Armstrong, they didn’t even look to really shoot the ball. I should have made some adjustments to do a little doubling on the block. Do some things differently. But, we felt good about our matchups against their two guys. Give them a lot of credit. Armstrong and Seiler played tough down the stretch.
“Quite honestly, they were better tonight. They really were. The second half, they pushed us around. Imposed their will. We just weren’t able to make the shots to keep up.”
The first half was a back-and-forth contest with Swanton leading after the first quarter, 16-15, following a Slink putback.
The score was knotted at 17 a little over two minutes into the second quarter, then Slink put the Dogs on top with a jumper. After a Jonas Tester hoop for the Indians, Wilson nailed a three to give the Dogs the lead near the three minute mark.
“I thought offensively we really executed well,” said Visser. “Even in the second half we did some good things. We got the ball to some places, but, we just didn’t finish. Or we like bobbled the pass in the high post. We just weren’t clean enough.”
Seiler then got two hoops for the Indians around an Armstrong triple, putting Wauseon in front 26-22 with 1:15 left until halftime. That four-point difference held until Vance’s buzzer-beating three.
Seiler led the Indians with 18 points. Wilson had 16 and Slink 11 for the Dogs.
Swanton got back in the win column Saturday, winning at home versus Lake 45-28. The Bulldogs jumped out to an early 7-2 lead and held an 11-4 advantage after one period.
The Swanton defense stymied the Flyers the entire night with the Dogs taking a 20-12 halftime lead. They extended the lead to 32-20 heading into the final quarter.
They had three in double figures as Wilson scored 13, Slink 12 and Thornton 10.
Swanton (7-10, 1-3 NWOAL) welcomes Liberty Center (5-9, 1-3) in league play Friday.
Reach Max Householder at 419-335-2010