ARCHBOLD — A key Northwest Ohio Athletic League matchup between Archbold and Wauseon on Friday night was literally the only game for miles around northwest Ohio.
It was the only NWOAL contest that wasn’t postponed because of inclement weather concerns.
But near-zero temperatures didn’t keep a crowd from packing the gym to witness Brandon Goering’s late-game show. The junior guard scored nine of his game-high 16 points in the fourth quarter to lead Archbold to a 47-38 victory against Wauseon.
“The rest of the team just stressed to me that I needed to be more aggressive,” Goering said. “I hadn’t been aggressive the past couple games, so I had to be aggressive.”
Archbold (11-3, 4-1 NWOAL) put together a 15-4 run during the final four minutes and pulled away from Wauseon (10-4, 3-1) in a game that had been tied at 34.
Luke Fisher and Tyson Schnitkey scored nine points apiece, and Evan Wyse added eight for Archbold, which trailed only momentarily midway through the fourth quarter.
Wauseon’s Noah Castle made a pair of free throws to give the Indians a 34-32 lead with 4 minutes, 19 seconds left. It was the Indians’ first lead since Kris Boysel opened the contest with a basket to give them a 2-0 lead.
Goering put the Blue Streaks back in front for good when he knocked down back-to-back 12-footers. The Blue Streaks’ defense gave up only one more basket the rest of the night.
Castle, who finished with a team-high 12 points and four rebounds, scored from close range to make it 38-37 with 2:28 left. Archbold knocked down seven free throws the rest of the way to maintain the lead and keep pace among the leaders in the NWOAL standings.
“Every game is a championship game,” Archbold coach Doug Krauss said. “We win out, we’ve got a piece of the championship. This was obviously a huge key because Wauseon is really good. They do a lot of good things. They’re well-coached. I thought our kids did a great job.”
Boysel finished with 11 points for the Indians and kept them close early by scoring seven before halftime. He provided the game’s top highlight early in the fourth quarter when he drove hard to the basket and put down a two-hand slam that brought Wauseon within two of Archbold with 7:05 left. It also brought the Wauseon fans to their feet and appeared to create some momentum.
It was temporary, however. Goering came right back for Archbold and swished a 10-footer.
“His little jumper was worth two points just like that dunk, so that was big,” Krauss said.
Wauseon coach Chad Burt thought his team played well, but never found a way to steal the momentum completely away.
“I thought we gained some momentum late, but give their kids credit,” Burt said. “I thought down the stretch their kids hit some tough, contested shots with Schnitkey and Goering and [Jase] Grosjean stepping up with Fisher out. Give them credit, they played a heck of a game.
“But I thought we played well, too.”
The Blue Streaks played the final four minutes without Fisher after the the 6-foot-8 junior post fouled out. He had registered four blocked shots and two rebounds.
Krauss was pleased with how his team responded to Wauseon’s late run.
“In a game like this, we know their plays and they know our plays, now it’s time to make plays,” Krauss said. “You just don’t run plays in a game like this, you make plays. We did that.”
The Blue Streaks took a 17-13 lead into halftime.
Fisher accounted for seven of Archbold’s points while Schnitkey provided five.
Yet the difference in the first half was turnovers. Wauseon was guilty of 12 first-half turnovers while Archbold had only four. Wauseon finished with 16 turnovers and Archbold six.