TOLEDO – The Swanton Bulldogs headed to Ottawa Hills Saturday night in a face off of two of the districts best teams. Consistent threes from the Green Bears and missed shots from the Bulldogs kept the game close, but the Bulldogs managed to grab the win with a final score of 54-43.
The first quarter set the tone for the entire game, with high energy action on both sides of the court. Ottawa Hills senior Logan Crider had three big three point shots for the Bears. Robbie Gilsdorf answered with a three of his own on the other side of the court, along with points from Mark Lair, Bryce McComb and Gunnar Oakes, giving the Dogs a small 16-15 lead going into the second quarter.
The second quarter was extremely low scoring, with the Bulldogs only putting four points on the board, with points from McComb and junior Duyane Goings. The Green Bears had a similar quarter, putting only seven points on the board. This gave the Green Bears a two point lead and momentum heading into halftime.
The Bulldogs regained their lead in the third quarter, coming back hard with 13 points, regaining momentum and the lead. McComb led the charge for the Dogs, with an early three narrowing the lead. Ottawa Hills also had a pair of long shots, coming from Logan Crider and Michael Denner.
The fourth quarter is where the game fell apart for the Green Bears. Despite the Bulldogs missing some critical shots underneath the hoop, and missing some rebounds, the Dogs managed to create their biggest lead of the game.
This came partly because of the Green Bears getting into foul trouble, and the Bulldogs capitalizing on the important free throws. The Bulldogs hit 15 of their 17 free throws, with Bryce McComb going 9 for 11 from the line.
McComb finished the game with 21 to lead Swanton (18-3), which won its 11th straight game. Gilsdorf and Oakes both added 13 points.
After getting this critical win, senior and leading scorer Bryce McComb commented on the what the team will need to improve on heading into tournament time. “Basically we need to keep grinding at practice. We’ve had two tough weeks at practice and the coaches have been pushing us and we’ve been doing our best with what we can do.”
Coach Matt Smith also spoke on how the team will stay grounded as they head into their sectional and district games. “We talked about it in the locker room. Ottawa Hills was 17-1 coming in so its obviously a jubilant locker room, but I said ‘Hey let’s celebrate tonight, and in 24 hours let’s come back and get ready to go cause we have another regular season game.’ We’ve got Liberty Center. We’ve gotta go to their place, and we want to finish the season off right. So we just said let’s celebrate tonight, but we’ve got a lot of work to do.”
On Friday, Swanton topped Patrick Henry 73-37 to improve to 5-2 in league play.
The Bulldogs end their regular season this Friday in Liberty Center.
Sam Williams can be reached at [email protected]