Mom and Dad probably said many times that not much in life comes free.
While Evergreen passed up a myriad of free chances at the foul line in the fourth quarter, the Vikings got a number of stops defensively when they needed them to outlast Fayette, 62-60, Tuesday night at Fayette in girls hoops.
The Vikings jumped on the Eagles early as Jordan Lumbrezer’s baseline drive, then consecutive steal and scores by Bekah Bowser and Savannah VanOstrand gave the Vikes a 6-0 lead 50 seconds into the game.
Bowser, who hit a school record seven triples against Eastwood last Saturday, had radar lock still engaged, as she knocked down three more from outside the arc in the opening stanza.
However, Evergreen couldn’t keep Fayette off the offensive glass as three times Addisyn Bentley scored on putbacks, Jensyn Robinson nailed a second-chance triple, and Trista Fruchey also scored off the offensive boards to keep Fayette close at 21-18 after one.
VanOstrand’s three-pointer and two free throws from Bowser extended Evergreen’s lead to 31-25 with 2:59 left in the half, but the Eagles again flew to the glass as Fruchey’s third-chance bucket, a second putback from Amber Gaona, then four more free throws from the 5’3” junior guard brought the Eagles over the top at the half, 33-31.
“I give Fayette a lot of credit,” Viking coach Brittaney Cymbolin said. “Those kids worked their butts off. I think Fruchey is a great player and so is Bentley.”
It was more of the same early in the third as Fruchey again hit the glass for two more scores, the second giving the Eagles their biggest lead at 43-37 with 4:45 to go.
But Nicole Brand began to bring the Vikings back netting a forced baseline jumper, then drilling a right-corner triple that – along with 4 of 4 from the stripe by Lumbrezer – helped get Evergreen back to a 48-47 deficit at quarter’s end.
As Brand heated up, the Vikes also began to control the boards.
Brand’s step back three-ball regained an Evergreen lead at 51-50 with 5:26 left.
Bentley countered on a feed from Jillian Figgins, but Brand struck again on a transition triple to put Evergreen ahead for good at 54-52 at the 4:34 mark.
“The thing about Nicole is that we’ve always known she has had it in her to be a shooter like that,” explained Cymbolin. “The last couple of games she has really started to figure that out which is working in our favor.”
Bowser’s fast break bucket and ensuing triple on the next posession boosted the Evergreen lead to 59-52 but the Vikings, after going 13-16 the first three quarters, began to misfire from the foul line.
After hitting nothing but net her first six tries, Lumbrezer missed twice.
Kennedi Keifer hit just 1 for 4 and after Gaona tripled and Bentley went 2 for 2 for Fayette, the Vikings held a precarious 61-59 lead with 25 seconds left.
Figgins was fouled going to the rim but could only split to close the Eagles to 61-60.
Bowser went to the other end after being fouled on the inbounds, but also could only manage a split, giving Fayette one final try.
Figgins’ triple was wide and Gaona’s try from the middle of the key was short, and after Lumbrezer lofted a deep pass that VanOstrand ran down, Evergreen had survived.
After being dominated on the glass in the first half by a 17-9 margin, Evergreen outrebounded the Eagles 18-14 in the second half.
“I told our kids we needed to rebound better in the second half,” stated Cymbolin. “I thought they made the adjustment and they worked really hard to hit the boards.”
Both teams handled the basketball well in the up-tempo game as Fayette committed just 10 turnovers and Evergreen 12.
Bowser led all scorers with 24 points. Brand added 16 and Lumbrezer 12 for Evergreen, now 8-10.
Bentley had 21, Fruchey 20 and Gaona 11 for the Eagles (10-7).
Evergreen hosts Patrick Henry Thursday before a Saturday visit to Hilltop. Fayette is at Stryker Thursday.
Reach Joe Blystone at firstname.lastname@example.org