When it flat out came down to it, Delta outhustled and outmuscled Evergreen to take a 51-45 victory for Ron Rouleau’s second win of the season while the highly touted Vikings in pre-season, lost their fifth straight to fall to 1-5.
Bryce Hudik’s three straight triples to open the game and a drive by Chandler Lumbrezer gave Evergreen a quick 11-0 lead as the Vikings shot 70 percent in the first quarter.
Bowen Green outmuscled the Vikings inside for three buckets to keep Delta within 18-8 at the quarter and then when Evergreen got into deep foul trouble in the second, the Panthers fought back to slice into the lead.
After two more Hudik buckets, one a three-pointer that gave Evergreen a 23-10 lead, Delta clamped down on defense and got the best of Evergreen on the boards.
Brandon Burkhart’s second chance hoop and two more from Green closed the gap to 23-18 but Hudik struck again from long distance to get Evergreen back up 26-18.
Gabe Freeman’s pair from the foul line allowed Delta to slice the gap to 26-20 at the break.
“I told them two things after the first quarter,” said Panther coach Ron Rouleau. “First of all they aren’t going to be able to keep shooting like that, and second of all they had six fouls I think in the first quarter, and we are going to have to make our free throws to get back in it.”
That analogy came true in the third quarter after a sixth Hudik triple put Evergreen up 35-28 with 5:20 left in the stanza.
The Panthers hit 5 of 6 from the line and Seth Burres scored on a fastbreak to tie the game with 3:41 to go.
Lumbrezer’s drive put Evergreen back up but Green’s strong move in the key knotted it back up before Lumbrezer hit from the corner at the third quarter horn to give Evergreen a 38-35 lead.
Mason Loeffler’s basket gave Evergreen a five point lead to open the fourth but Delta went on an 8-0 run take the lead.
Freeman hit two from the stripe, Burres scored again on a second chance bucket, then two free throws and Green also scored off the offensive glass to close the run.
Lumbrezer hit again from outside to tie the game, Burres again added two more from the stripe, then Nate Brighton scored on a spin move to again tie the game with 3:12 left at 45.
That would be the last Viking points of the night as the Panthers hit 6 of 6 from the line, four of those from Green who ended up with 22 points on the night.
“We are a little stronger inside,” said Rouleau. “I was surprised they played us man-to-man (with Green). I thought they would play some zone because that’s what they did last year, but they came out in man-to-man and we were pretty happy.”
Delta dominated the glass with a 33-20 rebounding edge and made 23 of 28 from the stripe.
The Panthers now travel to Fayette Friday Night.
Evergreen was led by Hudik’s 24 points and shot just 10 for 36 after the first quarter.
The Vikings host their Northwest Ohio Holiday tournament Thursday and Friday, playing Fostoria Thursday evening.
Reach Joe Blystone at firstname.lastname@example.org