HAMLER — Archbold applied the kind of defensive pressure on Thursday night against Patrick Henry that would have made it a long and frustrating time for any team.
The Blue Streaks forced the Patriots into committing 24 turnovers and rolled to a commanding 54-40 triumph in a key Northwest Ohio Athletic League matchup at Patrick Henry.
The Patriots were guilty of 14 turnovers before halftime and never could overcome a slow start.
"We live with our defense," Archbold coach Brian Ziegler said of the Blue Streaks, who improved to 14-1 overall and 6-0 in league.
Jesse Fidler paced Archbold, scoring a game-high 17 points, including 11 in the first half. Cassidy Wyse added 10 points and Cassidy Williams finished with nine in a game that puts Archbold alone in first place in the NWOAL.
Patrick Henry's Katy Hammer finished with a team-high 13 points while Kelsey Tietje was held to 12 points and six rebounds by an Archbold defensive strategy designed to double-up and even triple-team the 6-foot-3 senior whenever she touched the ball near the rim. Tietje entered the game averaging 19 points and 12.6 rebounds.
The Blue Streaks did such a stellar job of pressuring the Patriots' guards that Tietje's looks were kept to a minimum.
"The first half we had way too many turnovers," said Patrick Henry coach Joe Pennington, whose Patriots suffered their first loss of the season to fall to 12-1 overall and 4-1 in league. "I would guess we probably had more turnovers [in the first half] than shots — easily.
"Tietje came down and they had double and triple-teams coming at her, and we kind of froze and put ourselves in bad spots."
Patrick Henry turned the ball over nine times in the first quarter to only once for Archbold.
The Blue Streaks' full-court pressure caused the Patriots’ ballhandlers plenty of frustration trying to bring the ball across halfcourt and eventually to Tietje. The Patriots' top scoring option was limited to a single basket in the first quarter and Archbold held a 14-8 lead.
"Tietje was our biggest threat, so we tried to double-team and work on her the most," Fidler said. "I think we accomplished that tonight."
Archbold maintained a grip on the game's tempo for the rest of the first half and went into halftime with a 26-17 edge. The Blue Streaks committed only two turnovers before the break compared to the Patriots' 14.
The Blue Streaks came out in the second half, dictating the action by playing tenacious defense that kept the Patriots in search for some consistent offense, which it was never able to establish.
The Blue Streaks put further distance between themselves and the Patriots early in the third quarter by going on an 11-4 run that led to a 37-19 lead when Wyse sank a 10-footer from the baseline with 3:49 remaining in the third quarter. Archbold went into the fourth quarter in total command.
"This was big for us," Fidler said.
Contact Donald Emmons at: firstname.lastname@example.org or419-724-6302 or on Twitter @DemmonsBlade.