There are times in a game when a young team faces adversity and crumbles like an abandoned rusty steel mill.
Like when a turnover gives an opponent a game tying layup with 42 seconds left. Or when a game winning wide open layup in the first overtime is missed.
Both those things happened to Jerry Keifer’s Evergreen Vikings Tuesday at home against NLL foe Anthony Wayne.
But instead of crumbling, the Vikings became galvanized in the second overtime, scoring 11 of the first 12 points to take a 73-64 win over the Division I Generals to up their record to 7-5.
Anthony Wayne fell to 5-5.
“This win was huge,” stated Keifer afterward. “We challenged our kids tonight. Win or lose we wanted our kids to play and compete as hard as they could. Every time we cut, every time we screened we wanted to do it as hard as we could.
“I think we can be a good basketball team when we play that hard.”
Anthony Wayne took a 27-26 lead into the locker room at halftime, that doubled when Andrew Murphy split a pair from the line to begin the second half.
Bryce Hudik’s three from the right corner, Austin Blanton’s drive and score, and a pair from the line from Mason Loeffler boosted Evergreen to a 33-28 lead.
That five point lead turned into 10 when Blanton scored off Teagen Pinkelman’s drop pass inside before Pinkelman followed with a transition triple to give Evergreen a 43-33 lead with 5:32 left.
Murphy scored six straight, including 4 of 4 from the stripe to slice the Viking lead to 43-39 before Chandler Lumbrezer found Josh Dowling ahead of the pack against the press to get the Vikes back up six.
Hudik scored on a back cut and a drive but Murphy scored on a steal, a three-ball and yet another with 51 seconds left to bring the Generals within a deuce at 53-51.
It was then that Elijah Lomax got a steal at halfcourt and scored on a breakaway to knot the game and send it into overtime.
Troy Schalitz scored twice around a Loeffler triple to give Anthony Wayne a one-point lead, but Dowling answered with a steal and score to give the Vikings a 58-57 advantage.
Murphy and Schalitz each went 2 for 2 from the foul line around a Nate Brighton triple from the top of the key to tie the score at 61 all.
Evergreen worked the ball down to six seconds and Hudik found Loeffler slashing to the rim but his layup was off the mark and the Generals had a chance to win, except for the fact that Lumbrezer hustled downcourt and blocked Murphy’s layup attempt at the other end that would’ve given AW a victory.
In the second overtime the Vikings left no doubt as Loeffler made amends right away by scoring a three-point play on a spin in the key and free throw, Lumbrezer scored on a drive, Hudik hit both ends of the bonus from the foul line, then Lumbrezer two more times got to the rim to put the game away.
“The biggest thing we can take from this game is it’s one more time our young kids made mistakes down the stretch but got a chance to redeem themselves and did exactly what they needed to do to get a win,” explained Keifer.
For the game the Vikings shot 24 for 46 from the floor and 18 for 24 from the foul line to offset a 40-19 rebounding disadvantage and 22 for 25 from the stripe for Anthony Wayne.
Loeffler had 25 points, Hudik 16 and Lumbrezer 14 to go with seven assists to lead Evergreen who now hosts Liberty Center in an NWOAL contest Friday before going to Pettisville Saturday.
The Generals, a team that beat Sylvania Northview Friday night who had beaten Evergreen 61-39 three weeks ago, were led by Murphy who had 34, including 12 of 13 from the foul line. Schalitz added 23 points.
Reach Joe Blystone at firstname.lastname@example.org