WAUSEON – “What a surprise”, said no one who follows high school basketball as the Archbold Bluestreaks were once again playing for a Sectional title on March 3rd, taking on the Paulding Panthers.
Both teams started slowly, with Paulding finally breaking the ice at the 5:45 mark when Marcus Miller scored a layup off a nice back door cut. Archbold answered with a five point run as Bryce Williams hit a trey from the left wing and Eli Miller drove to the bucket for a score.
Harder added two for the Panthers, then Rigo Ramos nailed another three for Archbold, this one coming from deep along the left baseline.
Paulding went on a 9-0 run, prompting Archbold Coach Doug Krauss to call a time out. Toby Walker ended the draught for the Bluestreaks as he hit the second of two free throws with 1:15 left in the quarter to cut the lead to 13-9. Williams got Archbold within two, but Ingol scored for Paulding making the score 15-11 in favor of the Panthers as the buzzer sounded.
Miller got the second quarter started with a drive down the left side of the lane, was hacked in the act, and converted the charity toss. Archbold went in to full attack mode defensively with full court pressure. Dividends were paid immediately as Paulding turned the ball over leading to a layup by Williams giving Archbold the lead back 16-15 with 4:19 left before halftime.
The advantage was short lived as a free throw, then basket by Rhonehouse put Paulding back on top 18-16. At that point Williams went on a mini-run of his own. The junior scored seven straight points to give Archbold a 24-21 advantage with 2:20 left before intermission.
The Panthers added a three pointer, then two free tosses by Rhonehouse to take a 26-24 lead. Miller added a three to put Archbold up by just one, 27-26 as both teams headed to their locker rooms.
Coach Krauss must have delivered an inspiring sermon during the break as the Bluestreaks went on a 7-0 run to begin the third quarter.
Once again the Panthers responded with a 4-0 reply making it 34-30. However, from there Archbold out scored Paulding 16-3 over the next four minutes pushing the lead to 50-33. However, the Panthers weren’t done yet. They responded with a triple from Johans from the right baseline, then a buzzer beater by Echols from just outside the center circle making the score 50-39 heading into the final stanza.
Paulding opened the fourth with two three’s by Cook, before Miller added a triple for Archbold to end the run. Marcus Miller scored for the Panthers cutting the deficit to just five, 52-47, leading to a Bluestreak time out. Miller hit another trey for Archbold, but Paulding got two free tosses from Doster.
The Bluestreaks next bucket was the sweetest looking of the game as Williams tossed a no-look backhanded flip bounce pass to Ramos in the lane for a layup sending the crowd into a frenzy, and all but putting the game out of reach with 2:30 left as Archbold led 57-49.
Ramos added two more free throws, then Ingol scored the final points of the night for Paulding with a trey from way downtown.
Archbold closed the contest out with two more freebies from Ramos, and one from Walker to provide the final score, 62-52.
Bryce Williams led Archbold with a game high 22 points, including two triples. Rigo Ramos was close behind with 19 tallies, a pair of triples, as well as going 7-8 from the charity stripe. Eli Miller joined the duo in double figures dropping in 15 points, with two treys of his own. Toby Walker and Austin Welch added 4 and 2 points respectively for the Bluestreaks.
With the win Archbold advances to Districts once again. On Thursday, March 9th, the Bluestreaks will play Elmwood at 8 pm at Napoleon High School.
SCORING BY QUARTER:
Archbold – 11 16 23 12 – 62
Paulding – l5 11 13 13 – 52
Kent Hutchison may be reached at email@example.com