TOLEDO – Swanton scored the game’s first 11 points – and led 14-4 after the first quarter – in routing host Emmanuel Christian 76-32 in the opening round of the 19th annual Warrior Classic, presented by Thrivent Financial Thursday.
“It feels good to get a win,” said Swanton coach Matt Smith. “We have a little more talent than Emmanuel Christian. It’s good that we didn’t screw around. We came out and took care of business.”
The Bulldogs move on to face Waite in the title game. The Indians picked up an overtime win against Whiteford, Mi. in the first match-up of the tournament. Results from the championship will be posted online at swantonenterprise.com at a later time.
Swanton was aggressive on the offensive end right from the start. Zach Dziengelewski opened the game with a basket 27 seconds in, and that was followed by the first of two dunks in the first half by Gunnar Oakes, who pulled down a rebound and beat everybody down the floor for the flush.
“I thought we came out with focus right from the start,” Smith said about the game. “We didn’t lose it. Our kids played hard the entire game.”
The Bulldogs were also aggressive going to the basket, which led to free throw attempts. Oakes twice split free throws after Dziengelewski made a pair, plus Duyane Goings added a basket before a Dziengelewski free throw to make the score 11-0 with 2:41 left in the opening frame.
“We have to play to our strengths, we have three guys who can do some damage inside,” Smith said of feeding the post. “That’s what we try to do. Zach really set the tone.”
Nick Koback added a triple from the wing before Gary Black scored for the Warriors to make the score 14-4 at the end of the opening frame.
Swanton continued to go inside, which led to the Bulldogs adding to their lead in the second period. They closed a 6-0 run with four free throws to lead 20-4 at one point, and also closed the half on a 22-4 run to lead 42-11 at the half.
Oakes had three baskets in the run, plus hit a free throw with 10 seconds left. When he missed the second, Randy Slink came up with the miss and added a basket for the final score in the half.
Dziengelewski opened the second half with a score from the low block and Oakes put away another dunk before the bench saw some quality minutes for the Bulldogs. Koback had 10 points in the second half and Garrett Chandler knocked down a pair of treys in the final stanza as Swanton won 76-32.
Emmanuel ended the game on a 5-0 run to try to cut into the deficit.
Dziengelewski led a balanced Swanton scoring attack with 16 points. Oakes added 15 and Koback had 13.
The role players for the Bulldogs also had a good night. Chandler finished with 8 points, while Slink and Goings each added 7.
“Randy Slink and Nick Koback came off the bench and gave us a lot of energy,” added Smith. “They hit some good shots and moved the ball.”
It was Swanton’s second win of the season.
Reach Randy Roberts at email@example.com