By: Nate Calvin
STRYKER – The last time Stryker beat Archbold on the hardwood, this year’s team members weren’t born yet.
The Panthers built a 45-28 lead after three quarters and then survived a furious fourth quarter rally by Archbold for a 51-45 win, their first over Archbold since 2000.
Both teams were on target from downtown in the first quarter as Archbold’s Cade Brenner buried a triple to put Archbold ahead 5-4 and would total 11 points in the quarter.
Stryker answered with a 6-0 run, capped of a Michael Donovan trey for a 10-5 Stryker lead.
Archbold came back with eight straight points as Brenner hit two more 3s to make it 13-10 and after Stryker briefly retook the lead at 14-13, Jayden Seiler hit Archbold’s fourth triple of the opening stanza for a 16-14 lead.
The three-point shooting continued in the second quarter with each team hitting two from deep to make the score 22-22 midway through the quarter.
The Panthers would take the lead for good with a 9-3 run to end the half as Michael Donovan canned a trey during the run to help Stryker to a 31-25 halftime lead.
Stryker stretched the lead to start the third frame with a bucket by Levi Barnum, Michael Donovan was 1/2 at the foul line, and Jacob Cadwell nailed a triple from the left corner to increase the lead to 37-25 at the 3:51 mark.
After a Bluestreak timeout, Evan Wendt stopped the Stryker run with a three-pointer from the corner, the only field goal of the quarter for the Bluestreaks.
It was an 8-0 Stryker surge from that point as Daniel Donovan made a pair from deep and Gavin LaBo made a layup to end the quarter as Stryker took a 17-point lead to the fourth.
Another triple by Wendt started things for Archbold followed by a basket from Brenner to trim the lead to 45-33.
Stryker stemmed the tide with field goals from Daniel Donovan and Elijah Juillard, but nine Stryker turnovers in the final stanza kept the door open for Archbold.
Wendt and Seiler kept the pressure on as they each hit 3s to close the gap to 49-42 before a Daniel Donovan layup closed the scoring for the Panthers.
Archbold made one more push as Brenner hit Archbold’s fourth triple of the quarter and their 11th of the game to make it a two-possession game at 51-45 with 19.2 left.
Stryker would miss two front ends of one-and-one at the foul line but Archbold was unable to get a triple to fall in the final seconds.
Daniel Donovan finished with 19 points for Stryker (9-7), who shot 55% from the floor as a team and Elijah Juillard had 11.
Brenner ended the night with five three-pointers and 19 points while Seiler had three treys and a free throw for 10.
ARCHBOLD (45) – Phillips 2; Brenner 19; Wendt 9; Seiler 10; Gomez 0; Diller 1; Miller 4; Hudson 0; Nofziger 0; Totals: 4-11-4 – 45
STRYKER (51) – Juillard 11; Villanueva 3; LaBo 2; M. Donovan 9; Cadwell 5; D. Donovan 19; Barnum 2; Totals: 14-7-2 – 51
GAME STATISTICS – ARCHBOLD: FG – 15/48 (31%); FT – 4/6 (66%); Rebounds – 20 (10 offensive); Turnovers – 5; STRYKER: FG – 21/38 (55%); FT – 2/6 (33%); Rebounds – 22 (4 offensive); Turnovers – 15
ARCHBOLD 16 9 3 17 – 45
STRYKER 14 17 14 6 – 51
JUNIOR VARSITY: Archbold, 50-47 (2OT)
Nate can be reached at email@example.com