Despite a furious comeback from Wauseon, Swanton was able to prevail via Averie Lutz’ 3-pointer from Steph Curry range with 21 seconds to go for a 40-37 victory in a Northwest Ohio Athletic League girls basketball game at Swanton Thursday night.
“She’s practiced enough and it should go in because she’s a good shooter,” said Swanton coach Eric Oakes on what went through his mind when Averie put up the game-winning shot.
The Bulldogs were able to prevail down the stretch without Aricka Lutz, who went out with an injury in the second half.
“Obviously the last seven minutes, without your point guard, your leading scorer, and your leader out there was stressful. And Wauseon did a great job coming back,” explained Oakes. “I think our girls just got a little bit down seeing her go out. Because we were pretty much, I thought, handling them for the most part there. It was gonna be real tough for them to get back into it.”
“They’re playing really well,” said Wauseon coach Dan Seiler of Swanton. “We can’t take nothing away from them. But we’re just not healthy. And that’s no excuse. We gotta come to play, and we didn’t. We had a great fourth quarter. The kids played hard in that fourth, but we just couldn’t put it together before that. That’s the way it goes.”
There was some drama — and utter confusion — in the waning seconds following Averie’s three.
Swanton eventually retained possession and were set to inbound the ball with just .2 seconds remaining. The Indians’ Marisa Seiler would step in front of the inbound pass and, with the clock not being started on time, she dribbled out to the corner for the tying triple that sent excitement through the Wauseon faithful in attendance.
But the officials sorted out the clock issue, forcing them to redo the play, and the second time Swanton successfully inbounded the ball to run out the clock.
The Dogs opened up a 12-point lead in the third quarter, 31-19, thanks to an Averie Lutz trey at the 2:40 mark. It then stayed at 12 when Chelsie Raabe of Wauseon and Swanton’s Katlyn Floyd traded buckets.
The Indians’ Ellie Rodriguez and Autumn Pelok each made baskets in the final minute plus to pull them within eight at the quarter break.
It started a great run from Pelok who scored 10 of her 12 points over the game’s final eight and a half minutes.
Two Pelok hoops with a Seiler jumper and an Averie Lutz floater put the margin at 35-31 with just under six minutes left.
“She just played hard in that second half. She had a lot of good steals and she put a couple buckets in for us. A couple really nice passes. She’s just a player,” coach Seiler said of his point guard.
Averie Lutz’ drive and score extended the Bulldog lead at 37-31 with 5:22 remaining, giving them a little breathing room.
However, the Indians got a bucket inside from Hayley Meyer off Pelok’s pass, then the next possession it was Pelok burying a triple to make it a one-point game just under the four minute mark.
The only points over the final 3:54 were Pelok who split a pair from the foul line to tie it at 37, and also the go-ahead three by Averie Lutz.
Averie led all scorers with 19 points. Aricka Lutz had 12 before exiting the game.
For Wauseon, Seiler finished with 14 points.
Swanton was able to contain the Indians in the paint for the most part. Even though their center, Meyer, had seven points, it was a quiet seven.
“Frankie (Nelson), Katie (Floyd) and Trista (Eitniear) I thought did a great job on Meyer inside,” Oakes said. “She’s tough to handle; they bodied her. She pushed us around pretty easily, but we did a great job inside on her. Holding her down and making sure she didn’t go crazy on us. Just a good all-around team win.”
Three-pointers by Averie Lutz and Floyd were the difference in the first quarter as the Dogs led 14-8 after the period.
They upped that advantage to as much as eight in the second before Wauseon tightened it up. A Seiler triple, plus Pelok’s open basket inside got the Indians within 18-15 with 3:42 left in the half.
Aricka Lutz answered at the other end 45 seconds later, then Alaina Pelland’s fastbreak hoop was the final points of the half, putting the difference at 22-15 at the break.
Raabe, one of the Indians’ senior leaders, tried to give it a go following a leg injury she suffered the previous Friday versus Liberty Center; but she clearly was not 100 percent healthy. She scored just two points on the night.
“I thought she was gonna be OK. She tried, (but was) a little bit slow,” said the Indians’ coach. “We finally got a couple girls back out of quarantine. It’s the first they’ve seen the floor in a couple weeks. It’s tough, but it’s no excuse. Can’t take nothing away from Swanton. We just couldn’t make plays there in that early front of the game and it took us too long to get our feet underneath us. We just didn’t make the plays when we needed to.”
Swanton moved to 11-5 overall and 3-1 in the league after the win, while Wauseon dropped to 9-5 and 2-2.
This week the Dogs host Defiance Tuesday and are at Liberty Center on Thursday. The Indians are at Stryker Monday, then they welcome Evergreen Thursday and Anthony Wayne on Saturday.
Reach Max Householder at 419-335-2010.