MILLBURY – For three straight games, Brittaney Cymbolin’s Evergreen Vikings were like David, knocking out higher seeded Liberty Center, Northern Buckeye Conference champion and second seed Otsego in a sectional final, then Delta in dramatic fashion in a Division III district semifinal.
Against their biggest Goliath, David ran out of rocks as state-ranked Archbold drained four first quarter three-pointers to take a 20-5 lead, and the Vikings never recovered falling 76-33 in the district final Saturday at Lake.
While Evergreen went 2 for 16 from the field in the opening stanza, Archbold got three three-pointers from their stand up shooter in Kierstyn Repp, and another from Alyssa Ziegler to race to an early big lead.
“I thought we came out very focused,” explained Archbold coach Brian Ziegler. “We had a game earlier against Ottawa-Glandorf at the end of the season (the Blue Streaks only loss to the top ranked Division II team in Ohio), and we kind of took what they did against us and we used it against Evergreen and their press and aggressiveness. I thought our girls executed that perfectly. It was a different break we ran tonight than we do normally. We ran the ball up the floor hard and got some easy baskets that spread the lead out a bit”
Cymbolin echoed those statements.
“One thing you have to give credit to coach Zig for is he suffered a loss not too long ago from O-G, and O-G beat them running the fastbreak. They did the exact same thing to us in the beginning of the game which extended that lead. Every single time you take a loss you learn from it and I thought he and his staff did a good job teaching those kids to take what happened to them and apply it on the floor and use it to his advantage.”
Alyssa Noe’s triple and a Lexie Shipman baseline runner got Evergreen within 10 and after Ziegler buried another triple, Abi Borojevich answered back with one of the same for Evergreen to make it 23-13.
But that was as close as the Vikings came as Ziegler nailed her third triple of the half, Kamryn Hostetler found Andi Peterson and Morgan Miller inside for scores, and Repp hit a three from Hostetler at the horn to make it 41-18.
The third quarter was more of the same as the cold shooting Vikings hit only two field goals and Hostetler kept finding open teammates inside for easy scores, three by Andi Peterson to extend the lead to 64-23.
“Kam makes everyone better,” said Ziegler of his diminutive point guard. “She would probably like to score like anyone else but that’s not necessarily the point guard’s job, they are there to make the team better and whoever she is surrounded by she has got to get them the ball in a position to score and she does just a great job in doing that.”
Archbold again shot over 50 percent (27 for 52) from the field, while Evergreen was just 12 for 43.
Repp’s 19 points that included five triples led Archbold, and Ziegler hit three triples and added two more points for a total of 11.
Evergreen (14-12) did not have anyone reach double figures in the loss, but Cymbolin expressed that the final game would not dictate what her team that returned just two lettermen off an Elite 8 appearance last year accomplished.
“These kids played their heart out and they earned the right to be here and I’m very proud of the way they handled themselves.”
The district title was Archbold’s 13th. For the Vikings, it was their fifth trip to the district final in the last seven years, winning it in 2016.
Archbold will play Liberty Benton in a regional semifinal Tuesday at Ohio Northern.
Streaks hammer Dogs, Vikes get by Panthers
How both teams got to that game was so different, and in one eerie aspect, was the same.
Three days after the tournament drawing, a local sports talk show predicted an All-NWOAL district, and it happened as Archbold, Evergreen, Delta and Swanton took turns knocking out members of the NBC, each winning sectional titles.
That’s where the similarity ended.
In one district semifinal, Eric Oakes’ Bulldogs came fast out of the block against the Blue Streaks as Haley Nelson scored off the tip and Cydney Christensen drove for a basket in the first minute.
But the Blue Streaks caught the Bulldogs at 11-11 on Morgan Miller’s three-point play, then moved past them on Emie Peterson’s hoop with 15 seconds left in the quarter, giving the Streaks a lead they never gave up.
Alyssa Ziegler’s triple started a 15-2 second quarter run that mighty-mite point guard Kamryn Hostetler finished with a steal and score that helped give Archbold a 28-16 halftime lead.
Nelson’s triple and score off an out-of-bounds play got Swanton as close as 34-27 with 2:48 left in the third before Hostetler began her best John Wall impersonation, finding open Blue Streaks over and over in the person of Lily Krieger twice and Repp for a triple another time to vault Archbold to a 46-27 lead early in the fourth where Archbold coasted to the win.
Repp led the hot-shooting Streaks (26 of 45 from the floor) with 22 points while Andi Peterson had 11.
The Bulldogs, who bowed out after winning their first sectional title in 10 years, were led by Nelson who tallied 11.
The other semifinal started out looking like a blow out and turned into anything but that in front of a raucous crowd at Lake.
Ryan Ripke’s fifth-seeded Delta Panthers came out with guns blazing as three buckets by Abby Freeman scored three times, Maddie Mattimore nailed a triple and a three-point play, and Hayley Callahan scored three more to race the Panthers to a 15-4 lead with short time left in the first quarter.
At that point Evergreen was just 2 for 13 from the field for the game while the Panthers were 6 for 10.
How things changed in the next eight minutes and two seconds.
Lexie Shipman drilled a 23-footer just before the first quarter horn, and after Mattimore’s driving score regained a 10 point Panther lead, the Vikes exploded.
Alyssa Noe’s steal-score and one more from the foul line ignited a 14-4 Viking run.
Freshman Savannah VanOstrand came off the bench and hammered a triple from the corner, Shipman hit another, Noe left two Panther defenders reaching for air on a right-to-left drive before Shipman brought the Vikings back to even with the Panthers at 21 with her third three-pointer of the half.
“She has really stepped up big when we have really needed it the most,” Cymbolin said of her senior forward. “We told the kids before the game, this will be a series of peaks and valleys. And when we are in one of those valleys we can’t give up, we have to fight our way out and we most definitely did that in the first half.”
Hannah Herr gave Evergreen their first lead of the game crossing over twice for a score, then Shipman dropped her fourth bomb of the night on the Panthers to give Evergreen a 26-21 lead.
Mattimore’s arcing runner found the bottom of the net to get Delta within a deuce at 27-25 before Noe’s scored on a stop-and-go move then a long three ball blasting the Vikings in front 32-25.
It was then the Panthers’ turn to get out of a valley, and they did so led by an unsuspected scoring source.
Emily Clifton’s bucket along with 3 of 4 from the line from Mattimore helped draw Delta within 34-30 at the quarter.
The Panther senior forward nailed a wing jumper starting the fourth quarter to get Delta back to a two point game, then she scored on a drive at the 5:20 mark.
After Kelsie Komisarek scored on an out-of-bounds play to get Evergreen back up 42-36, it was Clifton again on a bank off the glass, then Freeman on a steal and score to again get the Panthers within two with 2:48 left.
Shipman and Mattimore each split a pair at the line and after Noe misfired at the line, Clifton drove for the tying hoop with 17 seconds left.
Evergreen averted a turnover at halfcourt when Cymbolin called timeout before a trap caused what would have been a bad pass, giving the Vikings one chance with eight seconds left, and one more time the Vikings found magic.
Noe took the ball in backcourt and after what seemed like the longest pause since stop-action, she raced the ball up the left middle of the floor and when a second Delta defender engaged her, she kicked the ball out to an open Herr who hit the pot of gold at the end of her rainbow at the buzzer for the game winner.
“Hannah Herr just came up big for us. She was really confident in that shot,” an exuberant Cymbolin said after. “Alyssa Noe could’ve kept going and thrown something up but she didn’t. She recognized a teammate that was open, she kicked the ball and trusted her teammate and her teammate saved us. You’ve gotta give them all the credit in the world.”
After starting the game 3 of 14 in the opening quarter, Evergreen shot 50 percent for the last three, including seven triples.
Delta did the opposite after opening 6 for 10 from the field, the Panthers shot just 12 for 34 the rest of the night.
Reach Joe Blystone at firstname.lastname@example.org