In big games, teams hope to have full use of their top players.
With its standout sophomore Gene Goering sidelined with foul trouble for more than 12 minutes in the middle quarters yesterday, Archbold found other ways to pin a 59-46 loss on Northwest Ohio Athletic League rival Patrick Henry in a boys Division III district basketball final at the Waite Field House.
The Blue Streaks (19-4), who have reached the state semifinals in two of the previous three seasons (2003 and '05), are two wins away from another state berth. They will meet Gibsonburg (19-4) in a regional semifinal Wednesday at 8:15 p.m. at Bowling Green's Anderson Arena.
The 6-foot-2 Goering, a first-team all-district player, missed the final 4:48 of the first half after his second foul, and the last
6:11 of the third quarter after his third.
But 6-foot-1 junior Tyson Fruth helped fill the void with 14 points, aiding the strong perimeter play of guards Josh Johnson (12 points), David Borcherdt (11) and Josh Wyse (seven).
"Both teams really guarded each other pretty well and it was the improvising that [made the difference]," Archbold coach Doug Krauss said. "Like Josh Johnson getting into the middle and kicking out to Josh Wyse or David Borcherdt. [PH] did a great job inside on Gene Goering.
"One of the keys was that Tyson Fruth really stepped up. I don't think Tyson realizes how good of an athlete he is sometimes. He showed it today."
"When Gene gets in foul trouble we obviously take a big hit offensively," Fruth said. "Josh Johnson and everybody did a nice job driving, they made some great passes to me, and it was open. We all stepped up."
The Blue Streaks grabbed a 9-3 lead at the 2:58 mark of the first quarter on a pair of Fruth free throws before hitting a lull, which became a 15-4 Patriot run. That gave PH, the NWOAL champion, an 18-13 edge 4:13 before halftime on a 3-pointer from Zack George.
With Goering (nine points, 10 rebounds) out, Archbold regained the momentum, closing the half with its own 13-2 surge.
"Everyone stepped up, particularly Tyson Fruth," Goering said, "and Johnson played his typical [good] game. We all just did the little things today, and that's what we needed."
The Pats (17-5), who beat Archbold 49-48 in league play, got within 28-23 on the George free throws resulting from Goer-ing's third foul, but the Streaks again responded. Johnson hit one of his two 3-pointers with 5:53 left in the third and, Fruth's 14-footer at the 1:43 mark put Archbold up 35-26.
"We just all thought we had to play our own game," Johnson said, "and what a big step-up by Tyson Fruth. He played the best game of his life.."
Patrick Henry got within three points twice early in the final period, that on 3-pointers from Ajay Meyer and Kyle Tietje. But Johnson's 3-pointer answered Meyer's, and Johnson's driving bucket and a Wyse 3-pointer with 4:46 to play kept Archbold ahead 45-37. PH got no closer than five from there.
"We felt we had a good game plan going in," PH coach Dave Krauss said. "We thought we could attack different places [in the Archbold defense], and we didn't. So, you give the defense credit and move on. That's basketball. We didn't get the second chances [on rebounds] we typically have gotten, but you tip your hat [to Archbold]."