It was a bit of a slow start, but once they got going in the first half, the Lady Bulldogs were hard to stop. Jumping out to an early lead, Swanton never looked back, winning 59-42 at Wauseon Thursday in Northwest Ohio Athletic League girls basketball action.
The game started with Wauseon’s Sam Aeschliman and Swanton’s Sidney Taylor matching treys. After that, both teams stayed off the scoreboard for the next three minutes. Finally, Aricka Lutz converted a turnover into points for Swanton to end the drought.
After that, it was all Swanton. Cydney Christensen hit a couple free throws and Averie Lutz used a steal to score to push the score to 9-3. The teams traded points to make the score 13-6 by the end of the opening frame.
“That’s one thing we really harped on going into the game, bringing the effort right away,” Swanton coach Eric Oakes said of the start. “This is a team – the record isn’t want they wanted – but they can do a lot of good things and can get a lot of confidence if you keep them in a ballgame.”
Swanton’s defense forced Wauseon into 12 turnovers in the opening period.
“We knew we needed to be patient on the offensive end,” stated Wauseon coach Ashley Oyer. “We shot it quick and they are good in transition. Early on they were getting every loose ball and tip.”
Taylor sandwiched treys around two free throws from Wauseon’s Sydney Zirkle to open the second period. The lead grew to double digits when the Bulldogs added one more run before the half ended.
Zirkle scored the final field goal for Wauseon to make the score 22-12, then Swanton went to work. Taylor scored and a minute later Averie Lutz canned a pair of free throws. It got worse for Wauseon when after a technical foul, Nelson added a pair of free throws and used the free possession to drop in a three.
“We got aggressive and the shots starting falling,” added Oakes. “That’s what we wanted to do. We didn’t want to keep them around.”
Wauseon did get five free throws to end the half, but Swanton’s Adriane Wood scored from the low block in the final second to make the score 37-17 at the half.
The game stayed in the 20-point window until a late run by the Indians. A 6-0 run by Wauseon in the final 1:53 made the final 59-42.
“Not turning it (the ball) over is key in keeping it even,” mentioned Oyer. “They were face-guarding Rylee and it took some time to get adjusted to that. I felt we were more confident and more aggressive.”
Wauseon committed 23 turnovers, with 19 coming in the first half. The Indians finished 15 of 34 from the floor. Swanton had 13 turnovers and ended 20 of 46 shooting. Wauseon had a 30-26 edge in rebounds.
Taylor led all scorers with 21 points in the contest. Nelson, who sat the final minutes of the third period and the fourth after contact on the floor, added 11 points.
“Sid Taylor is doing a great job of finding some openings,” Oakes said of his leading scorer. “She’s getting some three’s off and she’s come up big.”
Rylee Campbell led Wauseon with 13 points. Zirkle added 10 points.
Swanton closes the regular season by hosting Liberty Center this Thursday.
Reach Randy Roberts at firstname.lastname@example.org