MILLBURY — It was probably enough for Viking basketball coach Jerry Keifer to start endorsing heartburn medications.
Thirteen missed free throws in 22 attempts? Reach for the Prilosec.
Thirty-three percent field goal shooting including eight missed layups? Grab a couple of Nexium.
And when a number of unforced turnovers turn your stomach upside down, throw down some Tums.
But in the end, Evergreen relieved that sick feeling with a defensive stand that lasted nearly the whole fourth quarter to pull out a 34-30 win at Lake to go to 4-0 on the year Monday night.
“This wasn’t one that we will make a highlight reel out of by any means,” Keifer said after. “It wasn’t one of our most glorious moments but in the end a win is a win is a win.”
After Richie Hayward’s 3-pointer gave Lake a 5-2 lead five minutes into the game, it seemed the Vikings righted the ship offensively when Eli Keifer hit from deep on the right wing, RJ Shunck canned a triple from the head of the key and Keifer dialed up a long distance bomb again to put the Vikes up 11-5.
However, Jaylen Smith scored three times in the second by barreling his way to the rim, and Hayward hit another from outside to knot the game at 18-18 with 1:25 left in the half.
The Vikings, in the midst of a 3-11 shooting quarter with a number of easy misses inside, got one from Keifer to drop to grab a 20-18 halftime lead.
Smith’s 3-pointer starting the third gave the Flyers a lead but Evan Lumbrezer put the Vikings back up 23-21 on a feed from Shunck after a steal.
Ethan Loeffler’s bucket off an out-of-bounds play dish from Austin Lumbrezer kept the Evergreen lead at a deuce but a Smith putback helped put Lake on top entering the fourth, 27-25.
It was then that the Vikings clamped down defensively, holding Lake to one-and-done over and over with Austin Lumbrezer and Keifer seemingly getting every rebound, as the Flyers didn’t score until 12 seconds were left in the game.
Loeffler’s split at the free throw line got Evergreen within a point 15 seconds into the fourth, then 75 seconds later, Brock Hudik scored on a breakaway feed from Evan Lumbrezer after a steal to give the Vikes the lead for good.
The Vikings could have put the game away much sooner, but normally reliable at the foul line, Evergreen couldn’t convert going just 4 of 10 down the stretch.
Keifer’s basket off an Evan Lumbrezer steal-and-feed gave Evergreen a 34-27 lead with 23 ticks left to seal it.
“We went small to make them go chase us around,” said coach Keifer about the fourth. “And we seemed to get into it better defensively. For Austin (9 rebounds) and Eli (8) to combine for 17 rebounds and a lot of them in traffic at tough times was really big.”
For the game Evergreen was just 11-33 from the floor and 9-22 from the foul line, but outrebounded the much bigger Flyers, 34-23.
The Vikings also committed an uncharacteristic 14 turnovers compared to 13 for Lake.
Keifer was the only Viking to reach double figures with 10 points.
Smith led all scorers with 11 for Lake.
Evergreen (4-0) hosts Delta (0-4) Thursday and Emmanuel Christian Saturday.
Reach Joe Blystone at [email protected]