Through nearly three quarters, the Swanton Bulldogs were trying to play catch up in a tight battle with Evergreen Thursday, as they looked to avenge an earlier 51-49 loss to the Vikings.
Then, late in the third quarter the Batphone rang and the Bulldogs’ Sidney Taylor answered like a cartoon superhero, making every big play in the last 10 minutes to bring Swanton back from a six-point first half deficit to a 47-36 win.
The victory was the first in the NWOAL for Swanton this season.
“I’m not sure if anyone really noticed but we didn’t sub the whole second half,” said Bulldog coach Eric Oakes. “We were a lot more aggressive in the second half. These girls somehow get stronger as the game goes on. Once it started going well for us, we just left them in there to see how far we could go with them.
“They just sucked it up and seemed to get stronger and faster.”
Swanton’s Averie Lutz’ three buckets, including a long triple countered three-balls from Kelsie Komisarek and Hannah Herr to give Swanton a 9-8 lead with 3:37 left in the first.
The Vikings got a spark from freshman Mady Peluso to go on a 7-0 run as Peluso went coast-to-coast for a three-point play, then found Abi Borojevich for a pair of hoops to give the Vikes a 15-9 lead.
Herr’s left-handed bank kept the lead at six at 17-11 early in the second, but that was the point that Taylor began to get on a roll as the senior forward scored all eight Bulldog points in the stanza to keep Swanton in striking distance at 23-19 at the half.
Peluso’s triple from the right wing helped keep the Vikings up 27-23 with 4:42 to go in the third but Taylor’s bucket off a loose ball knotted the game at 27 all with 2:04 left.
Bailie Sutter’s fastbreak hoop with 41 ticks left gave Evergreen the lead once again but Taylor’s bomb from the left corner with 15 seconds left gave Swanton their first lead since the first quarter heading into the final eight minutes.
“Evergreen did a nice job getting it down there (inside),” Oakes said. “We thought we were helping (on defense) but we got caught standing underneath the basket.”
After 24 minutes of both teams getting after each other defensively, forcing 42 evenly split turnovers, it was the Bulldogs who took better care of the ball in the fourth quarter, and Taylor continuing to make every big play.
Her jumper from the right side to start the fourth gave Swanton a 32-29 lead, and after Sutter answered to chop the lead to one, Taylor found Aricka Lutz for a bucket, then later on hit Ally Hendricks for a hoop against the press for a 38-32 lead.
Then after Hendricks scored again, Taylor put the game away going 4 of 4 from the foul line down the stretch.
“Ally Hendricks didn’t score a lot tonight, but she did a great job on Herr and the two shots she hit really opened the game up a little bit for us,” said Oakes.
“Sid Taylor? We’ve been waiting for that for a while,” Oakes said in reference to his senior’s huge game. “She really made an effort to get the ball to the hoop tonight.
“I thought Evergreen played pretty well. They shot the ball pretty well, I think they like shooting it here. But we clamped down on defense pretty good in the second half.”
In the fourth the Dogs forced six more Evergreen turnovers while not committing a miscue themselves.
Evergreen shot 15 of 31 for the game, but only 5 for 15 in the second half.
Swanton was 16 for 42, but heated up in the second half with a 10 for 18 effort from the field.
Taylor’s 24 points led the Bulldogs while Averie Lutz chipped in with 11.
Swanton, after traveling to Archbold for a makeup league game Monday, returns home to face Maumee Tuesday and is at Patrick Henry Thursday. Evergreen is at Fayette Tuesday for a non-league contest, then travels to Delta Thursday and Hilltop on Saturday.
Reach Joe Blystone at email@example.com