Swanton used a fast-tempo to blast out to a big first half lead, then after watching it disappear in the third quarter, got a huge fourth quarter performance from their main man Andrew Thornton to subdue Lake 54-46 in the Bulldogs’ season and home opener Friday against Lake.
After Richie Hayward’s triple gave Lake an early lead, Sam Betz, Thornton, and Hayden Callicotte nailed three-pointers to boost the Bulldogs on top.
Run-out baskets from Thornton and another from Betz that turned into a three-point play gave Swanton a 16-9 lead at the quarter break.
Thornton scored 10 straight Bulldog points in the second to enlarge the margin.
He started with a second chance three-ball from the left corner, added a steal-and-score, another three-pointer from the left wing and a drive off a curl cut to make it 26-13.
Betz’ triple with 2:07 to go in the half extended the advantage to 31-16 at the break.
“We were throwing it ahead, which is what I call it,” said Bulldog coach Joel Visser of his team’s uptempo style in the first half. “We got some easy buckets early, we knocked down a couple shots early, that kind of relieved some of the early-game jitters for our sophomores who started their first varsity game.
“I keep telling these guys that 2020, you can complain about this or complain about that, but it could be a great year for us.”
However in the third, Swanton went 2-11 from the field and Lake scored layups off each of three Bulldog turnovers to roar back.
Jalen Smith scored 10 points in the period to get the Flyers close and Tyler Saffren’s drive with 42 seconds left put Lake up 36-35 heading to the fourth.
Cole Mitchey’s long rebound run-out basket turned in to a three-point play to give the Bulldogs a 39-38 lead with 5:55 to go, then after a Flyer miss, Blake Szalapski’s throw ahead basket gave Swanton a three point lead.
“The biggest bucket of the game was the one Blake got in transition to get us in a situation where they again had to chase and it kind of got us jacked up,” explained Visser.
Smith split a pair of free throws with 4:12 on the clock to knot the game at 41-41, which made it time for the aircraft carrier to bring the Bulldogs home.
Thornton’s power move turned into an and-one for a 44-41 lead, then the big senior used a high screen to get open for a three-pointer for a six point difference with 3:13 left.
“It was a 20-4 run in the third for them and we were super flat,” said Visser. “I think some of that was on me getting us going to start the third. But in the fourth I give our kids credit, playing just five guys and they sucked it up and Andrew hit some big shots and that’s what he can do. He’s our senior; he’s our guy and he got it done for us when we needed it.”
Swanton then canned enough of 11 opportunities from the foul line to put it away.
Thornton’s 25 points led all scorers while Betz also hit double figures with 13.
Swanton (1-0) shot 17-44 from the floor while Lake (1-1) was 17-47. Each team had 12 turnovers.
Swanton is at Evergreen this Friday for a non-league battle.
Reach Joe Blystone at firstname.lastname@example.org