In an up and down game for both teams looking to remain in the NWOAL title race, Archbold boys basketball had the last high of the night on Thursday when Kaiden Bedsole buried a three point basket with three seconds left to allow the Blue Streaks to triumph over Swanton on their home floor, 56-55.
“It was one we needed bad. Our kids persevered,” said Archbold coach Doug Krauss. “Bryce (Williams) hit some huge shots. Ofcourse, I think (Kaiden) Bedsole hit a big one there too.”
The Blue Streaks entered the fourth quarter down by one, but a three pointer by Bryce Williams just over a minute in put them back on top, 46-44. Archbold’s Derek Walker added to their lead with a basket in the post, however, Robbie Gilsdorf split a pair of free throws for Swanton and a three-point play for Zach Dziengelewski knotted the score at 48 with 3:38 to play.
The Bulldogs went on top when Gilsdorf got a bucket but failed to complete a three-point play, then two free throws for Antonio Cervantes extended the lead even further at 52-48.
However, Archbold would not go down without a fight, and Williams converted the vaunted four-point play after he was fouled while hitting a three, tying the score at 52 at the 2:13 mark.
Swanton then broke the tie after Dziengelewski scored off an assist from Cervantes, and after both Archbold’s Austin Welch and Gilsdorf each split a pair at the line, the Streaks were given the opportunity to either tie or win the game down 55-53 with 25 ticks to go.
Although their first attempts failed, Bedsole grabbed the loose ball and fired a three from the left wing which found the bottom of the net with about a second remaining for the Dogs. Swanton’s pass into the front court was intercepted by Archbold and the Streaks were able to celebrate a monumental road win over the preseason league favorite.
“It was just a hard fought game,” said Krauss. “I was hoping we had a chance to (have it) go down to the wire. To stay with it. And sure enough we did.
“This is a huge win for us coming off a tough loss last Saturday down at Holgate.”
“I am obviously disappointed in the outcome and some of the mental mistakes we made,” said Bulldog head coach Matt Smith. “We were very undisciplined at times, even at the end of the game we left our assignment and trapped for some reason when we just needed to lock down and defend. We hurt ourselves. Obviously, Archbold hitting 12 of 24 three’s is big but we went 10 for 21 from the (free throw) line and missed some really crucial ones down the stretch.”
Archbold opened up an 8-2 advantage in the first quarter with the help of three points by Mike Weigand, a three by Bedsole and an inside hoop by Austin Welch. But, the Dogs answered with two of four free throws from Cervantes, Bryce McComb’s bucket on a hard drive to the basket, and a steal and score by Gilsdorf to knot the score at eight with 1:14 remaining.
The Blue Streaks’ Toby Walker hit a three with 42 seconds left, but Gilsdorf’s layup at the other end gave Archbold a slim 11-10 advantage after one.
Swanton forced an early timeout by the Streaks in the second period after a three-point play and another bucket in the post for Dziengelewski, and a Bulldog steal that resulted in Mark Lair’s layup gave them a six-point edge. Bedsole responded with a long range bomb while Williams also hit from deep around a McComb deuce to reduce the Bulldog lead to 19-17 at the 5:34 mark.
Gunnar Oakes kick-started a Swanton surge with a fade away jumper, then Gilsdorf’s mid-range jumper, a steal and score for McComb, and a one-hander by Devin Jones gave the Dogs their biggest advantage, 28-17, with 3:17 left until the half.
However, in perhaps the biggest stretch of the game, Archbold climbed back into it as Williams hit a three and consecutive buckets by Eli Miller made it 28-24 at halftime.
Krauss highlighted that stretch in his postgame remarks, noting that it was very important they did not fall too far behind. They also managed to stay out of foul trouble.
“We got everybody out of there with just two fouls,” he said. “So we hung through that. And now you go to the third quarter and you got a chance to play.”
“We had a chance to break the game open when we went up 11 in the second quarter and we just lost our legs,” added Smith.
Bedsole buried a triple off the get go in the third period to trim the Swanton lead to one. Neither squad took more than a two point edge in the frame and the Dogs held the lead at the break as Gilsdorf’s jumper with 47 seconds left made it 44-43 after three.
Williams hit seven three pointers to pace the Streaks with 22 points, while Bedsole added four three’s for 14 points. Gilsdorf finished with 12 to lead Swanton, McComb 11 and Dziengelewski 10.
Swanton fell to 0-2 in the NWOAL with the loss while Archbold is 2-0 after defeating Montpelier the week before.
“Bottom line, as well coached and hard as Archbold plays, we have more experienced athletes and we should of taken care of that team,” concluded Smith. “It is on me to get these kids to play up to their potential and I have failed to do so thus far.”
Swanton wins battle of Bulldogs over Rossford
In the fall both Swanton and Rossford made the OHSAA football playoffs, Saturday night at Swanton it looked at times as if the pads and helmets never came off as Swanton persevered to a 63-55 victory.
“We knew it was going to be a very physical game and we played a lot better than we had this week,” said coach Smith. “We needed a game like this one that was physical and we played the way we were supposed to play and it feels good. We’ve had a couple games where we just didn’t show up that were pretty disappointing, so we’ve got to find a way to just be consistent.”
Oakes and Gilsdorf combined for 24 of Swanton’s 29 first half points, and Swanton held Rossford to 3 of 15 from the floor in the second quarter to take a 29-20 lead into the locker room.
Rossford closed to within 35-34 on 6’7” 260 pound Jeff Hodak’s foul line jumper with 3:19 to go in the third before an Oakes steal led to a transition hoop by Gilsdorf to raise the lead to three.
Cota Sinclair’s jumper got Rossford back within one but a Gilsdorf steal and score, then a hoop from Oakes inside moved Swanton back up five.
Swanton still held a precarious 48-44 lead with just over four minutes to play when Smith found offense from a unexpected source.
Jones got loose inside twice in a 32 second period to help up the Bulldog lead to 54-46 before Swanton went 9 for 12 from the foul line down the stretch to put the game away.
“He had a couple big buckets didn’t he?,” Smith said of Jones. “They have a monster (Hodak) inside and he caught the ball clean and did what he was supposed to do.
“We’re still working through some growing pains from the shortened preseason and stuff but at this point we’ve had enough time to work through these things.
“This was a good win for us, I was proud of our kids effort, they stayed after it so hopefully we can build from this.”
The win raised Swanton’s record to 5-2 overall. Oakes paced Swanton with 25, while Gilsdorf had 15 and McComb chipped in with 11.
Swanton next plays at Otsego Wednesday night.
Max Householder can be reached at 419-335-2010