Like opening night at Ottawa Hills, Evergreen again fell behind by eight in the first quarter against the Swanton Bulldogs.
Just like against the Green Bears, the Vikings came back, this time using big bursts in the second and third quarter to put away the Bulldogs 58-47 Friday night at Evergreen.
The Vikings then followed that win on Saturday by dominating previously unbeaten Otsego 64-23 to boost their early season record to 3-0. Swanton traveled to Delta where they were defeated 56-42.
Against the Bulldogs it was Jared Wilson 10, Evergreen 2 after five minutes as Swanton’s senior guard knocked down a pair of triples along with a three-point play in a personal scoring salvo that came mostly off four early Evergreen turnovers.
Chandler Lumbrezer’s three-point play and Bryce Hudik’s hoop with 2.6 on the clock got the Vikes back to 13-9 at the end of the quarter but Randy Slink got inside for a three-point play 15 seconds into the second to get Swanton back up 16-9.
Then like a time bomb waiting for the right moment to go off, the Vikings exploded.
Hudik began a 21-6 run with a reverse layup, Mason Loeffler scored eight straight on a three point play, a dish from Hudik off a steal and a triple with 5:37 left in the half which put Evergreen up 19-16.
Swanton never saw the lead again.
After Andrew Thornton cut the lead to 19-18, Hudik hit a pair from the line, Lumbrezer got inside on a drop from Nic Borojevich and Loeffler did the same from Jack Etue to pump the Vikes up 25-18.
“I thought we picked it up defensively,” Viking coach Jerry Keifer explained. “And early we were trying to go 100 miles an hour and we slowed down. We got some stops and Mason got hot and we went from there.”
Hudik’s three-ball and Etue’s layup off a back cut from Mason Henricks put the Vikes ahead 30-22 with just under a minute left on the clock before Josh Vance hit a deuce with 2.5 left to close the gap to six at the break.
“That last possession of the first half was huge because we had a chance to go up 10 or 11 and we turned the ball over and they hit at the buzzer, but (assistant) coach (Bruce) Smith, wise old coach Smith drew up something where we came out and scored to get us back to where we thought we should be at that point,” said Keifer.
That play turned into an easy Lumbrezer bucket to get Evergreen back up 32-24.
The lead was at six, 34-28, with 6:24 to go in the third after Dylan Gilsdorf’s bucket for the Bulldogs when Evergreen went off again.
In the span of less than 110 seconds the Vikings blew the game open.
Hudik hit from long range, Lumbrezer hit a floater in the key and Loeffler scored seven straight on a jumper from the top of the key, a drive inside and a three-point play to cap a 12-2 run giving Evergreen their biggest lead at 46-30 with 4:38 to go in the third.
“That first span in the third quarter after being pretty good defensively, we were really good offensively,” expressed Keifer.”We scored I believe five straight possessions.”
Swanton got back to ten on a Gilsdorf hoop and four points from Vance to trail 46-36 with 7:50 left, but Borojevich and Loeffler went 3 of 4 from the stripe and Lumbrezer had a steal and score to give the Vikings a comfortable 15-point lead with 5:55 left in the contest.
For the game, Evergreen was 22 for 42 from the floor, including 15 for 22 in the middle two quarters.
After coughing the ball up six times in the opening stanza, the Vikes committed just seven more miscues the last three.
After starting 4 of 9 from the floor, Swanton finished 19 for 47 and were guilty of 15 turnovers. The Vikings also had a 31-18 rebounding edge.
“I thought Chandler was really good on the boards tonight and Nate Brighton, as under the weather as he was, got some key offensive rebounds for us too,” said Keifer.
Loeffler led a balanced Viking attack with 20 points. Hudik added 17 and Lumbrezer 13.
After scoring the first 10 points of the game, Wilson led the Bulldogs with 13 while Slink – who fouled out in the fourth quarter – added 11.
Evergreen tops Otsego
The next night there were no first quarter woes as Evergreen led 15-9 after one.
Loeffler got five points and dished to Brighton for two buckets, Hudik got four more including a steal and score, and Lumbrezer capped the quarter with a layup off a feed from Borojevich at the buzzer.
What came after that was an absolute clamp down on the Knights defensively as the Vikings allowed just 14 points the rest of the night.
A second quarter three-point barrage, two from Borojevich and one each from Loeffler and Etue had the Vikings doubled up on Otsego, 32-16, at the half.
That lead continued to expand in the third as Evergreen allowed just one field goal in each quarter in the second half.
Loeffler scored seven more, including a thunderous one-handed slam off a lead from Hudik, and Brighton got six more as Evergreen led 50-21 after three.
Evergreen shot 6 of 8 from the floor in the fourth that included a pair of baskets from freshman Ethan Loeffler and another by classmate Evan Lumbrezer.
For the game, Evergreen shot a smoking 24 of 39 from the floor.
Evergreen harassed Otsego into 9 of 37 shooting and blocked eight of those shots. Evergreen forced 16 Otsego turnovers.
Loeffler led the way scoring wise with 21 while Brighton added 12.
Evergreen hosts Emmaneul Christian tonight before traveling to highly state touted Cardinal Stritch Thursday.
Reach Joe Blystone at firstname.lastname@example.org