Back in the day, Arkansas mens basketball coach Nolan Richardson said his pressing, trapping, full court mayhem defense was “40 minutes of hell,” on the Razorbacks way to a national championship.
Since a high school basketball game is only 32 minutes long, 32 minutes of hell is what Brian Ziegler’s Archbold Blue Streaks and Brittaney Cymbolin’s Evergreen Vikings put each through on the opening night of the NWOAL girls basketball season Friday at Evergreen.
59 combined turnovers later, the undefeated Blue Streaks survived over the team that was picked second to last in the pre-season coaches poll, 39-35, to go to 11-0 on the season.
“Everyone was looking at our record, and the amount of girls Evergreen lost,” explained Ziegler. “I knew coming over here it was going to be a battle because of how hard Evergreen plays. When you have two teams that play fast and up tempo you are going to have some turnovers. We had some uncharacteristic turnovers but I attribute that to Evergreen because they force those turnovers and doing what we haven’t seen before. I knew coming over here this wasn’t going to be a 20 point game.”
Morgan Miller’s pick up of a loose ball in the key and Kierstyn Repp’s triple gave Archbold an early 5-0 lead that expanded to 8-2 when Andi Peterson picked up the basketball out of a scramble and converted with 4:59 left in the first for an 8-2 advantage.
But the Vikings battled back as Jamie VanLoocke scored on a drive and found Hannah Herr in transition for a hoop off a turnover, then when Herr rammed home a three-ball with 1:39 to go in the quarter, the Vikes had chopped the lead to 10-9.
Lily Krieger and Emie Peterson answered for the Streaks by the end of the quarter to bump Archbold up 14-9, a lead that increased to 22-13 after Repp knocked home both ends of a one-and-one with 3:35 left in the half.
Baskets by Abi Borojevich on a skip pass from Herr and Lexie Shipman’s put back got Evergreen within 22-17 before Archbold finished the half with a basket that everyone from the radio broadcast crew to the scorers table said was after the horn.
Yet another scramble for a loose ball ended up in Miller’s hands when the buzzer sounded, but when Miller followed through with a shot that went in, it was counted good giving Archbold a 24-17 halftime lead.
Alyssa Noe’s bank shot and Shipman’s spin move again rallied Evergreen within three at 24-21, but Repp hit a wing jumper, a long triple and Miller again scored off the offensive glass putting Archbold up 31-21, lining them up for a kill shot with 1:39 left in the third.
But Miller’s basket was the last Archbold bucket for over eight minutes and the Vikings rallied again.
While the Blue Streaks committed four straight turnovers, Shipman nailed a triple from the left side, then after Herr’s runner, hit another form the right with 5:19 left in the game to get the Vikings within 33-29.
“I thought we did a good job on Noe, I thought we did a good job on Herr,” said Ziegler. “The girl we obviously did not do a good job on was Shipman. She hit some big shots for them and kept them in the game. Give her credit, she hit those shots.”
“I will tell you right now that girl has struggled,” said Cymbolin of Shipman. “But she came up to me and said ‘coach I’m going to have a game tonight’ and she really stepped up and she did. I’m so proud of her game tonight.”
Andi Peterson’s pair from the stripe extended the lead to 35-29, but Borojevich answered with a bomb from 25 feet to slice the Streak lead to a single possession with 1:43 to go.
Again Miller found herself with an offensive rebound inside and a hoop to follow and after a Viking miss, Andi Peterson again went 2 for 2 from the line to make Shipman’s last three-ball a shot that only condensed the score to 39-35.
“That was a big point of emphasis at halftime,” Ziegler said of the offensive boards in the second half. “I thought we did a pretty good job of that in the second half and got a couple key baskets that were critical.”
“They are a really talented team all the way around,” explained Cymbolin. “Before we started the game I said to the kids I need you to do three things that it takes absolutely no talent to do. I asked them to listen, I asked them to trust and I asked them to work hard. They did all three of those things and they left everything they had on the floor. Like I said Archbold is a really talented team and I wish them well in their journey forward but our kids played really hard.”
“They (Evergreen) has really bought into what Brittaney wants,” said Ziegler. “They really get after it and again they showed us what we need to get better at.”
Evergreen had 30 of the aforementioned 59 total turnovers while the Streaks committed 29.
Archbold won the battle on the glass 33-26, including 17-12 in the second half.
Repp had 13 points, all in the first three quarters to lead the BlueStreaks, now 11-0.
Shipman’s 13 led Evergreen (6-4).
Reach Joe Blystone at firstname.lastname@example.org