All season long Evergreen has exploded on big scoring runs and Friday night was no different as the Vikings used an eight minute 18-0 run in the first half to build a big lead, then answered a Delta rally with some timely second half three point shooting to grab a 58-46 win to raise their record to 5-1 on the year.
“Defensively it was one of our best efforts in the first half,” Viking coach Jerry Keifer said. “I thought we took them out of what they wanted to do, I think we forced three five second calls which you don’t see a lot of. We got into the passing lanes and I felt we were really prepared for what they were going to do and we exectued how we wanted to play against it.”
Nic Borojevich and Hunter Tresnan-Reighard traded two buckets each before Brady Wymer’s three-point play gave Delta a 7-4 lead with 3:40 to go in the opening stanza.
That would be the last Panther points for over eight minutes as the Vikings forced 13 first half turnovers and harassed and blocked shots, allowing Delta just 33 percent shooting.
While the Vikings were strangling the Panther offense, Mason Loeffler ignited the Evergreen offensive blast with a triple at the 2:58 mark of the first to tie the game.
Nate Brighton took a feed from Chandler Lumbrezer for a score to give Evergreen a lead they never lost, then stuck a long three-ball to make it 12-7.
Bryce Hudik’s steal and score doubled up the Panthers at the break at 14-7, but the Vikes were just beginning.
Hudik scored on another feed from Lumbrezer, Brighton got a bucket off the offensive boards, then Lumbrezer finished the salvo on a score off a turnover and yet another off a Delta mistake on a long pass from Hudik to expand the Evergreen lead to 22-7 with 3:02 left in the half.
Jarod Kurfiss threw in a triple to end the run but Loeffler countered with a three-point play, and Lumbrezer matched Wymer’s high arcing triple with one of his own to put the Vikings up 30-15 at the half.
“I thought Chandler and also Nic Borojevich really brought the intensity defensively that created a lot of easy baskets for us,” explained Keifer. “Forcing the five second calls and also the turnovers really got us going.”
Borojevich’s hoop from Hudik at the five minute mark in the third put Evergreen up 20 at 39-19, but suddenly the Vikings got lax and Delta rallied.
Seth Burres got to the rim once and then again for a three-point play, Kurfiss chucked in another three-ball and Tresnan-Reighard also scored off a back door to get the Panthers back within 39-30 at the 2:30 point in the third.
“We just weren’t as good defensively at that time,” Keifer said of the Delta comeback. “It seemed like we got up 20 and decided to take a break and said ‘OK we’ve done enough’ which you can never do. I was disappointed with our defensive effort right there.
“Fortunately we shot the ball pretty well from outside in a response to that.”
This time Evergreen answered with a barrage of three-pointers, two from Loeffler and one each from Hudik and Jack Etue to get the led back 53-39 with 5:22 to go in the game.
Loeffler had 21 to lead all scorers and Lumbrezer added 13 in a balanced Evergreen attack that saw the Vikes shoot 23 of 43 from the floor. Delta shot 14 for 22 in the second half to finish at 50 percent for the game (20 of 40).
Wymer had 15, Burres 11 and Tresnan-Reighard 10 for the Panthers who fell to 2-4.
Evergreen forced 18 turnovers and blocked nine Panther shots, while committing just seven turnovers.
The Vikings open up the Northwest Ohio Holiday Classic at Fostoria with a game against Northwood (2-2) Thursday. Delta welcomes Fayette (5-3) this Friday.
Reach Joe Blystone at firstname.lastname@example.org