Despite receiving some strong resistance from a tough Montpelier team, Swanton boys basketball defeated the Locomotives by 16, 58-42, to win their ninth consecutive game that just so happened to come on Senior Night Friday.
The Bulldogs trailed by as many as four points in the first period, but after Colin Rockey’s floater gave Montpelier a 15-11 advantage, Swanton got buckets from Duyane Goings and Zach Dziengelewski to knot the score after one.
“We just were a little bit tight, a little bit emotional. Rightfully so,” said coach Matt Smith of the Dogs slow start. “And we played pretty jittery at the beginning, and Montpelier was playing pretty carefree. I think that kind of knocked the wind out of us a little bit.
“It’s a credit to our kids because they didn’t panic. They said alright, lets stay the course.”
The Locomotives went to an up-tempo attack against the Bulldogs, and in using that approach, took a 23-19 lead with 4:04 left in the half after two free throws for Kyrin Schuman and Evan Friend’s bucket.
However, the Dogs would adjust down the stretch.
Robbie Gilsdorf kick-started the Bulldog offense with a basket inside, then Gunnar Oakes split a pair of free throws, and Devin Jones got a putback around a basket inside for Montpelier’s Michael Blake which trimmed the Locomotive lead to 25-24 with 1:35 left until halftime.
Kolden Uribes pushed the Montpelier lead back to three with a jumper, however, Oakes’ putback and a bucket inside for Jones with seconds left gave the Dogs a 28-27 edge at the half.
“I will give them credit, they were really fast and they really pushed it up the sideline moreso than I thought that they could,” said Smith. “But with (our guards) and with Gunnar (Oakes), his athleticism, that’s a tough thing for teams to do against us. Once we get going, we are as good at doing that as anyone else. We weren’t necessarily shying away from that.”
The two squads took turns trading points in the third period until with the score tied at 34 at the 3:10 mark, Swanton went ahead for good.
Goings, who Smith noted after the game had a big impact on the game, scored in the paint twice to make it 38-34 with 1:44 remaining in the third. Schuman’s jumper pulled the Locos back within a bucket, but Bryce McComb scored at the quarter horn to once again make the advantage four.
McComb then opened the fourth with a floater in the lane, Goings scored inside twice around Schuman’s drive to the bucket which made it 46-38 with 5:24 left in the game. Uribes then added two free throws and Dalton Surbey a putback, then Oakes scored with an assist from Gilsdorf and the Dogs led 48-42 with 4:26 to go.
The Locomotives failed to score over the final 4:42 while Swanton added 10 more to equal the final score.
“Relax, lets make some of their other guys do some things. Just play like we’ve been practicing all week,” said Smith on the adjustments of his team’s defense.
Swanton (16-3, 4-2 NWOAL) returns to action on Friday when they play at Patrick Henry.
Max Householder can be reached at 419-335-2010