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Published: Wednesday, 3/17/2010

Blue Streaks focused on defense

BY JOHN WAGNER
BLADE SPORTS WRITER

ARCHBOLD - Archbold will find itself in a familiar place tonight - a Division III boys basketball regional tournament game.

The Blue Streaks will make their fifth regional appearance since 2003 when they take the court at 8 p.m. against Plymouth at Bowling Green State University's Anderson Arena.

The Blue Streaks are seeking a fourth state semifinal berth since 2003. The winner advances to Saturday's final against the winner of the Lima Central Catholic-Centerburg semifinal.

To advance, the Blue Streaks (19-4) need to keep playing tough defense, Archbold coach Doug Krauss said.

"That's what we've hung our hat on all year," he said. "We're not a team that's going to wow you on the offensive end. But we're going to come after you on the defensive end with everything we've got. You've got to tip your hat to our guys for that."

The Blue Streaks have held their first three tournament opponents to 29, 35, and 35 points. Their harassing, stout defensive style also limited Delta to just 29 points in a regular-season loss.

"Give them a ton of credit, that's what they're known for, and that's what they do," Delta coach Cory Sprow said after the Blue Streaks held them to 35 in the district final.

"Give them credit, because they're a great team. They are going to represent this area really well at the next level."

Perhaps more impressive was Archbold's effort against Evergreen's Chad Mossing in the district semifinals. Mossing, who had tied a school record with 42 points against the Blue Streaks during the regular season, struggled to reach 13 in the rematch.

"They really didn't do anything different that we expected them to do [on defense]," Evergreen coach Jerry Keifer said after that game. "But they just did everything a whole lot better than I expected them to do it, and that was the key.

"They really made a conscious effort to double-team Chad whenever he got the ball, and they were really physical with him."

Plymouth (23-0) was ranked fourth in the final Division III state poll. But the Big Red, which moved up to D-III this season, has a bit of a monkey on its back: The team has lost back-to-back regional games (in Division IV) and is 0-3 all-time in regional contests.

The Big Red will present Archbold with a challenge similar to Mossing in senior Brook Turson, the son of Plymouth coach Brad Turson. Brook Turson scores 25.2 points per game while adding 9.5 rebounds, 5.8 assists, and 2.7 steals per contest.

Another threat for the Big Red is senior Brandon McCalley, who averages a double-double of 14.8 points and 10.1 rebounds per game.

The Blue Streaks will counter with a more balanced scoring lineup. Garrett Morton leads the way with his average of 9.9 points per game, while fellow junior Telly Fricke adds 9.6 points per game.

Sophomore Luke Kammeyer has added an inside presence, averaging 9.1 points and 7.8 rebounds per game.

But Krauss is quick to tout the contributions of his entire team.

"Sam Miller has played well for us, Christian [Goering] has been solid, Corey Walker - I think, right down the line, everyone has played well for us," Krauss said. "We're not the most intimidating team, but I think we'll come out hard, give you our best for 32 minutes."

Contact John Wagner at:

jwagner@theblade.com or

(419) 724-6481.



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