The name of the game in basketball is to put the ball through the net and for 22 minutes and 47 seconds, Evergreen didn’t allow Swanton to do that as the Vikings fought through a subpar offensive performance to claim a 45-14 win at home over the Bulldogs to remain unbeaten in NWOAL play at 5-0.
“We did a pretty good job limiting (Swanton’s leading scorer Kyleigh) Ramlow’s looks,” said Evergreen coach John Langenderfer. “And we did a pretty good job handling (Haley) Nelson. It was such a physical game that I think the kids on both teams never really got in a flow offensively. We never really got going on the scoring end like we have recently and that’s a credit to the Swanton kids defensively. All things considered though, that’s probably the best we have played defensively for a while this year.”
Ramlow got one open look early that she made count in the form of a three-pointer 1:11 into the game to give Swanton an early 3-0 lead.
The Bulldogs countered Haili Mossing’s six straight points with a pair of Cydney Christensen baskets against the press, then Nelson’s offensive rebound hoop at the 4:16 mark gave the Bulldogs a 9-6 lead.
Little did anyone know, Nelson’s hoop would be the last Swanton basket for the next 25 minutes and 36 seconds.
Eden Eisel’s fastbreak basket from Becca Jankowiak got the Vikings within a point and after Sidney Taylor split a pair from the line with 1:27 left in the first, it was all Evergreen for nearly 23 minutes.
Rachael Noe’s game tying free throws with 22 seconds left in the opening stanza began a run of 34 straight Viking points that spanned into the fourth quarter.
Kaela Fauble’s offensive putback to open the second quarter started a 16-0 burst in that eight minutes and Hannah Herr’s transition hoop ended it.
In between Mossing hit three jumpers, including a triple to give the Vikes a 26-10 halftime advantage.
Evergreen only scored six points in the third in going 3 for 10 from the floor but added on early in the fourth with a 10-0 run to start the quarter that put the game away.
Again it was Fauble scoring on the offensive glass and on a jumper from the right of the foul line, Eisel with a triple and free throw and the capper from Herr on a steal and score before the Bulldogs finally got back on the board with a pair of free tosses from Christensen with 2:40 left.
“Kaela played very well tonight,” said Langenderfer. “Good defense, she tipped or redirected a lot of shots, good job on the boards at the offensive end, didn’t turn the ball over at all. She had a great game.”
Ramlow finally hit a Swanton shot from the floor at the 1:47 mark of the fourth to end that drought.
Swanton coach Eric Oakes echoed Langenderfer’s statements regarding the Bulldogs’ defense.
“I thought we did too (play well on defense), especially in the first quarter. We fell apart offensively and they had a lot to do with that as well, but our whole goal all week was to keep them out of the paint, they have so many good shooters and to try to stop one doesn’t usually work out too well so we were going to try to stop the drive and not let them get to the rim and for the most part we did that. They ended up with 45? Defensively against them that’s a pretty good job for the team they have.
“Offensively they made us struggle, they turned us over but we’re going to get better. The girls work too hard that we won’t.”
Swanton shot just 5 for 34 from the floor and committed 23 turnovers.
Evergreen shot only 36 percent on 18 of 50 and had 11 miscues with the ball.
Mossing was the only double figure scorer on the night with 15.
Evergreen (now 11-1) tries to remain unbeaten in league play as they travel to Montpelier Thursday. Swanton (4-8) hosts Bryan on the same night in an NWOAL contest.
Joe Blystone can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org