Looking at the Northwest Ohio Athletic League standings for boys and girls basketball, one thing is obvious.
Archbold sits atop the standings in both - and it s not because they re arranged in alphabetical order.
Archbold s boys and girls teams romped through the NWOAL for a combined 15-1 record. The Blue Streaks boys captured the league title with an 8-0 record; the girls were 7-1 to share league bragging rights with Wauseon. They combined to post a 36-4 overall record, with the girls posting a shining 19-1 mark.
Blue Streaks basketball, as a whole, arguably ranks second to none in northwest Ohio this season. Of course, in Archbold, where the programs traditionally have been strong, the Blue Streaks are always No. 1 and the talk of the town.
“When both teams are doing well, basketball is a big point of emphasis in the community,” said Joel Ruffer, a 6-5 senior who leads the boys team in rebounding with 8.4 boards a contest.
Archbold girls coach Kevin “Scoop” Miller oversees a group that includes players who were on the team that reached Columbus for the girls state tournament two seasons ago.
The boys program, which has reached the state tournament five times, appears ready to make another strong push toward Columbus. With several key players back from the team that competed in a state semifinal last year, the boys enter postseason play with plenty of optimism.
The Archbold girls face Coldwater at Defiance High tomorrow in a district semifinal. The Archbold boys take on Fairview at Napoleon High in a sectional final Friday.
“I think both teams went into the season with high expectations,” Archbold boys coach Doug Krauss said. “We expect to be competitive.”
Such expectations play a role in backing received by both programs from the community located approximately 45 minutes southwest of Toledo.
In what ultimately helped the boys team claim another NWOAL championship outright, a sellout crowd of 2,300 filled Archbold s gym to witness a 65-53 victory over Wauseon. Tickets for the contest were snatched up hours before tip-off to make the game the first-ever home sellout that didn t involve game-time walk-up sales.
“I think people have a lot of pride in what we do,” Krauss said.
“But if [the teams] are not having any success, the people are still not down on you.”
The players in both programs are known and recognized throughout Archbold. It s more than just a privilege to wear a Blue Streaks basketball jersey. It s an honor to many who grew up following the programs as youngsters.
“Since we were real little we ve been watching Archbold basketball and waiting for our chance to get to play,” said Kara Buehrer, a 5-4 senior who averages 11.8 points and is one of four players averaging double figures on the girls team. Dan Borcherdt leads the boys team in scoring at 17.9 points a game, followed by Ruffer (11.9), D.J. Selgo (10.4) and Mike Pratt (10.0).
Amy Wanemacher leads the girls team at 13.8, followed by Kendra Stahl (12.0), Sarah Grime (11.9) and Buehrer.
Wanemacher expresses similar thoughts as her teammates about the importance that pride plays in playing for Archbold.
“There s always an honor to put on an Archbold jersey and represent Archbold school,” Wanemacher said. “Whether you win or lose the community still supports you.”
The two teams seem to have taken similar paths to reach their success this season.
“I think our kids are pretty good at keeping things in perspective,” Krauss said. “They re not too high in high moments and not too low in low moments.
“They re even keel and that s something we talk about.”
And even though Krauss and Miller don t “sit around and talk about Xs and Os,” they implement similar offensive and defensive schemes. Both teams have relied heavily on senior leadership. Both value effort.
“You practice and work hard and if you work hard you ll be successful,” Ruffer said. “I think that s the major thing here.”
“I think [the winning] is pretty well-deserved because we ve all worked hard at it,” Buehrer said.