WAUSEON – Archbold held off Swanton, 48-43, Friday to claim a Division III sectional championship at Wauseon High School. The Bulldogs cut the lead to one possession in the closing seconds but couldn’t overcome the Streaks.
Archbold led 43-36 with about two minutes left. Swanton made it interesting as Josh Vance scored off a turnover and added two free throws to cut the deficit to 44-40 with just under a minute to play.
Elijah Zimmerman then went to the foul line for the Streaks, missing both. But Ethan Hagans came up big, getting his hand on the ball and allowing Archbold to retain possession.
Swanton fouled, and Noah Gomez went to the foul line where he made both to extend the lead to six points.
Andrew Thornton responded for the Bulldogs, sinking a big 3-pointer that made it a one possession game, 46-43, with 15.6 seconds to play.
Swanton had to foul and Zimmerman got a chance at redemption from the foul line, and this time he was clutch. He buried both free throws, icing the game.
Archbold, the second seed, moves on to district play at Central Catholic. They will face Ottawa Hills, the fourth seed, at approximately 8:15 p.m. Thursday. The winners plays Evergreen or Cardinal Stritch on Saturday.
Against Swanton, Alex Roth paced the Streaks (17-6) with 11 points, while Zimmerman and Austin Roth added 10 each.
Thornton led all scorers with 18 points to pace Swanton (9-15), while Vance added 14.
Archbold started the game on a 6-0 run and never trailed. Gomez started the game with a three-point play before Alex Roth made a 3-pointer.
Trent Weigel got Swanton on the board with a 3-pointer but Archbold eventually pushed the lead to 17-5 on an Alex Roth bucket. A Thornton bucket and Vance free throw made it 17-8 after one.
Swanton continued that late momentum into the second period as part of an 8-0 run. An effective defense and four points apiece from Thornton and Justyn Bartlett allowed the Bulldogs to cut the lead to 17-16 midway through the quarter.
Archbold finally got on the board with a little under three minutes remaining on a 3-pointer by Alex Roth. A Thornton bucket cut the lead back down to two points, but another 3-pointer, this time from Austin Roth, gave the Streaks a 23-18 halftime cushion.
Four Swanton turnovers to start the third quarter allowed Archbold to push their lead to 28-18. The Bulldogs’ scoring drought ended about three minutes into the half when Vance sank two free throws and then added a bucket.
That cut the lead to six but a basket from Zimmerman and three from Austin Roth around two free throws from Bartlett put Archbold up 33-24. Vance and Weigel buckets pulled Swanton within five, but Austin Roth scored late for a 35-28 lead heading into the fourth quarter.
Two Zimmerman free throws and 3-pointer from Trey Theobald to start the fourth gave the Streaks their biggest lead of the game, 40-28.
Swanton still had some life as Thornton scored seven points in an 8-1 Bulldog run that cut the Archbold lead to 41-36, setting up the finish.