Swanton Boys Capture Outright NWOAL Basketball Championship
With a share of the NWOAL boys’ basketball title already guaranteed, the Swanton Bulldogs took the home court on Friday night, not in any mood to see “Co-Champions” listed along-side their name with any other league opponent. Despite letting a 12-point third quarter lead slip away, the Bulldogs delivered in the end, beating the Archbold Blue Streaks 45-39 to ensure this 2022 NWOAL Championship trophy will reside inside a glass-enclosed case only within the halls of Swanton High School.
This was the first title for the boys’ basketball team since the 2015 season and second since way back in 1986. In both those years, another school was able to make the same claim. Bulldog fans have to go back 40 years, to 1982, to find the last time Swanton sat alone atop the NWOAL standings when season ended.
Everyone expected a close contest knowing the Blue Streaks were capable of beating any team in the league and were in a must-win situation. As they have for most of the season, the Bulldogs got off to a quick start taking a 12-5 lead in the first quarter, getting five points from Cole Mitchey and four from Sam Betz. League scoring leader Nic Borojevich got hot in the second quarter hitting for nine points and Swanton got a put-back at the buzzer from Betz to give them a 27-18 lead at halftime. Archbold was able to stay within range, getting eight points from Alex Roth and six from DJ Newman.
Early in the third quarter, the Bulldogs extended the lead to 12 points. However, as has been their tendency in many games this season, they allowed their opponent to rally and close the gap. While the Swanton offense went cold, Archbold outscored the home team 10-5 with Newman hitting for eight straight points, chopping the deficit to 32-28.
The Blue Streak surge continued into the fourth quarter with Archbold twice tying the game, once at 32 all then at 34-34. With just over three minutes remaining, Luc Borojevich, who had been held scoreless to that point, drained a three-pointer from the corner to give the Bulldogs a lead they would never relinquish. Archbold managed to pull back within one at 37-36, but tight defense and clutch free throws by Mitchey and Nic Borojevich put the game and the NWOAL Championship on ice.
“It was all them. I didn’t make one play out there,” said Swanton head coach Bruce Smith, giving all the credit to his players for the title-clinching victory. “You go from hoping you can win to thinking you can win to actually expecting to win,” he added, explaining the progression of the mindset the players developed over the course of the season. “They’re (Blue Streaks) a very very good basketball team and we had to play well to beat them and we did. We did enough to win.”
Swanton was led in the scoring department by Nic Borojevich who had a game-high 21 points. Mitchey scored 14 points, Betz added seven and Luc Borojevich had three.
Newman’s 19 points led Archbold and Roth had 12. Gavin Bailey, Jayden Seiler, Ashton Kammeyer and Tyler Hurst scored two points each.
The Bulldogs improve to 18-2 on the year and remain undefeated in the league at 6-0. They will travel to Bryan next Friday for their final game of the regular season. The Blue Streaks drop to 3-3 in the league and 12-7 overall following their win over Napoleon Saturday night. They will host Wauseon next Friday night.
Pictured: 2022 NWOAL Boys Basketball Champion Swanton Bulldogs
Click on the link above to access all photos from the game. Photos are in the jpeg format to allow for editing and can be downloaded for free courtesy of the fultoncountymedia.com website.