Swanton was picked as one of the preseason favorites to win the NWOAL, and showed why by using a 32-point third quarter to blow open a close game and beat Evergreen, 79-47, in their season opener on Thursday at Evergreen.
“We came out flat, which is how we have practiced the two weeks I have had them and we had to fight our way though that,” said Bulldog coach Matt Smith. “We made a great run in the third quarter and put the game away.”
The Bulldogs do-it-all point guard Rob Gilsdorf hit a pair of angle jumpers from the right side and scored on a three-point play to counter two Alec Truckor baskets and Nick Etue’s triple to give Swanton an 11-9 lead after one.
The Bulldogs started the second with a 9-0 run keyed by Antonio Cervantes’ work on the glass, as the stocky 6’ senior scored on a pair of offensive rebounds while Bryce McComb and Matt Lair each scored a hoop.
However, the Vikings answered with a 9-0 rally of their own on Jon Milliken’s three-point play and back-to-back triples from Chandler Lumbrezer and Bryce Hudik to get within 20-18.
That was when 6’3” junior Gunnar Oakes ignited an 11-0 run with a variety of moves in the key, and along with a Lair three-ball and a Devon Jones basket inside, the Bulldogs went up 31-18 at the half.
That run turned into a 25-4 blast as the Bulldogs used a Gilsdorf three-point play, Cervantes again on the glass, Oakes on a fastbreak and McComb with a three pointer to put the game away at 45-22.
McComb scored 14 more third quarter points as Swanton cruised to a 63-33 lead after three and coasted in the fourth.
“We are always happy to get out of here with a win,” said Smith. “We just have to keep working.”
Viking coach Jerry Keifer said his very young Vikings were like day-and-night.
“For the first 14 minutes, I was very pleased with the way we played. The last two minutes of the first half and the second half was pretty disappointing but playing as many younger people as we will (including two freshmen and two sophomores), we’ll keep working to get better.”
McComb led all scorers with 23. Gilsdorf scored a very economical 15 on only seven field goal attempts and Oakes added 14.
For the Vikings, Etue was the only Evergreen player in double figures with 11. Lumbrezer and Truckor each had nine.
Swanton improved to 2-0 as they dispatched of Delta in non-league action on Saturday at Kevin J. McQuade Gymnasium, 76-50.
Swanton came out hot offensively, scoring 24 points in the opening period to build a 24-13 lead. The offense stayed solid in the second to take a 44-28 halftime lead.
Oakes led the way with 25 points for the Bulldogs. McComb’s 20 point effort pushed him over 1,000 for his career.
McComb became the third Bulldog in the 2000s to reach the mark, joining Brad Betz and Chad Lewis.
Evergreen (2-1) used a 13 of 19 effort from behind the arc to win at Otsego on Saturday, 61-56.
Swanton has a big league matchup on Thursday when they host Wauseon. They also host North Central on Saturday.
Evergreen will host Patrick Henry Thursday.
Joe Blystone can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org