After taking a two point lead into halftime, Swanton blew the game open with a 21-3 third quarter advantage, defeating visiting Springfield, 55-42, Tuesday night in girls basketball.
“They’re fast, we’d seen them on film, and they shoot a lot of threes,” Bulldog coach Eric Oakes said of Springfield. “The girls found a way to win. I didn’t think we played our best tonight by any means, but we definitely played our best third quarter of the year.
“We now have six games in 12 days, including tonight, and our goal now is to try to protect our home since we are here for five of those games and keep getting better for the tournament.”
The teams traded blows in the first quarter, mainly Swanton’s Averie Lutz with three baskets countered by Mia Rose’s triple and scoop-and-score, before Kara Truckor’s corner three-pointer gave Swanton a 10-7 advantage after a quarter.
The Bulldogs took an 18-13 lead halfway through the second when Lutz hit from outside the arc before the Blue Devils answered with a 7-0 run.
Leah Swiller’s triple with 1:08 on the clock gave Springfield a 20-18 margin; however, Lutz scored on a baseline jumper with 10 seconds left, then Frankie Nelson’s steal and pass to Lutz for a score at the buzzer regained a Bulldog lead.
That was only a sample of what was to come in the third.
Springfield committed 10 turnovers – many of which led to easy Bulldog baskets at the other end.
Aricka Lutz scored nine of those third quarter points on a layup, a three-ball, and 4 of 4 at the foul line.
Averie Lutz hit two more from outside and scored a fast break basket off one of the multitude of Blue Devil ball-handling mistakes, and Nelson added two more hoops, giving Swanton a 43-23 lead heading into the fourth.
“I’m glad we got a little spark in the third quarter tonight,” expressed Oakes. “A lot of the games we have lost this year have been because of the third quarter but the girls played really solid defense. Kara Truckor came in during the third quarter and did a great job moving over on (Rose) and not letting her drive like she did earlier in the game which was a big help.
“We hit a few threes there, and we got some layups off turnovers. A lot of our game is going to come from the defense and creating turnovers.”
A pair of long range shots by Leslie Hiser got Springfield within 12 at 45-33 with 4:35 left, then Rose knocked in four straight from the line to close the gap to 47-37 with 3:27 left.
However, Morgan Pine helped restore a 54-37 cushion with two buckets inside that helped close out the game.
Swanton shot 20 of 53 from the floor for the game, but was 7-for-12 in the decisive third quarter.
Springfield was 17-for-44.
The Blue Devils also were guilty of 24 turnovers compared to 14 for the Bulldogs.
Averie Lutz had 23 for Swanton, while Aricka Lutz added 14.
Rose had 16 to lead Springfield.
Swanton (12-5) hosts Liberty Center (9-10) Thursday before a road matchup with Otsego (16-2) on Saturday.
Reach Joe Blystone at email@example.com