Sports Writer
HOLGATE - The celebration in the Antwerp locker room following their 71-39 win over Holgate was well deserved. The conference win gives the Division IV fourth ranked Archers the Green Meadows Conference title with one game to play. Antwerp can claim the title for their own with a win over the Bulldogs on Friday at Edgerton. Both teams squared off in the Route 49 classic in late December with the Archers winning 57-28.
Antwerp captured their last GMC outright championship in 2010 and followed it up with a tie for the title in 2011 with Edgerton and Tinora. In 2012 the Bulldogs were the title holders with Wayne Trace winning or sharing the title since 2013. If the Archers would fall to Edgerton and the Raiders win in their finale with Hicksville then a tie with both Paulding County schools would be reality.
"At this point, knowing we will at least share the title is nice for our team and it will be something they can remember but we still have one more conference game. Our goal is to win at Edgerton. We don't want to share the GMC," said  a determined Doug Billman.
At Holgate on Friday the Archers came out a little sluggish but quickly found themselves with their full court, man-to-man, trapping defense. The Archers allowed just two free throws in the first quarter to take a commanding 15-2 lead at the end of the first stop.
A Jayvin Landers dunk in the second quarter with 2:37 remaining had the Archers still in control 27-10 and after a Tiger free throw Jayvin connected on a long three-pointer to put the Archers up 31-10. The blue and white closed out their scoring in the half with Owen Sheedy canning a couple of free throws and a triple to give the Archers a 35-15 halftime advantage.
Antwerp opened the third period with a 14-3 run to take a commanding 49-18 lead with Blake Schuette leading the Archer attack with eight points and Austin Lichty and Jake Eaken each answering with a  three-pointer. Holgate freshman Abe Kelly ended the third frame with back-to-back triples to pull the Tigers a little closer but still trailing 51-26 heading into the final eight minutes of play. Kelly finished with 15 points, all from behind the arc, to lead Holgate.
Jacob Savina opened the final period with a three-pointer followed by a two-point goal along with back-to-back buckets from Jagger Landers to push the Archer advantage to 60-26. The final six Archer points came from Sheedy on two buckets and a two-pointer from Hunter Sproles.
"Maybe it was because we didn't have school today and we were out of our routine but we were a little sluggish at the start but  give Holgate credit. They came out and was physical defensively and I thought we responded in a very positive way," said Coach Billman.
The Archers got 16 points from Jagger Landers followed by 13 from Lichty and 11 from Jayvin Landers. Schuette came in and responded with 10 points with Owen Sheedy getting valuable minutes while chipping in nine.
"Owen (Sheedy) did a nice job for us tonight. You can see his confidence grow when he's on the court. This is such an unselfish team. They trust each other and they look out for each other. The way we practice is the way we play. Sometimes in practice we are so unselfish that we have to remind them to shoot," said Billman.
In junior varsity action, it took three overtimes before the Antwerp Archers defeated Holgate in an exciting contest prior to the varsity game. Knotted at 27 a piece at the end of regulation both teams scored in the first overtime. Trailing 30-27 Antwerp's Kaden Recker hit a big three-pointer to send the game into overtime number two. Both teams had the opportunity to win but missed free throws kept both teams scoreless. In the third overtime the Archers answered with Recker being the marked man to come up big for the Archers. Recker canned a basket and a free throw to push the blue and white to a 33-30 win.
Antwerp 15  20  16  20  -  71
Holgate      2  13    9  13  -  39
Jagger Landers 16, Austin Lichty 13, Jayvin Landers 11, Blake Schuette 10, Owen Sheedy 9, Jacob Savina 5, Jake Eaken 5, Hunter Sproles 2. Totals 27 10-20 71. Three-point field goals: Austin Lichty 3, Jake Eaken, Jayvin Landers, Jacob Savina, Owen Sheedy. Rebounds: 27, Turnovers 10.
Abe Kelly 15, Bailey Sonnenberg 10, Sam Medina 6, Luke Werner 2, Ethan Sparks 2, Hayden Hartman, Blake Hattemer 2. Totals: 12 8-10 31. Three-point field goals: Abe Kelly 5, Bailey Sonnenberg 2. Rebounds: 16, Turnovers 13.