Down by as many as 12 points in the first half, Evergreen needed a wake up call and Brittaney Cymbolin made her halftime speech loud and clear, as her Evergreen Vikings ran off the first 14 points of the third quarter and held Pettisville to six points in the second half in a 40-34 come-from-behind win Friday in non-league girls basketball.
“I just reminded the kids that when you play defense and you rebound you have to have grit and you have to take it personally,” explained Cymbolin of her intermission message.
“You can’t rely on your teammates to always play helpside defense, you have to take it upon yourselves to keep the person in front of you and you have to take it upon yourselves to make good plays and get stops.”
Early on, Pettisville went on a three-point bombing run that would’ve rivaled the German Blitzkrieg of World War II.
Alli King opened the game with a triple 12 seconds in, then Amanda Grimm and Meleah Plank added two more from outside the arc in the next three minutes for a 9-2 Blackbird lead.
King hit two more from above the line and Leah Beck got inside twice for baskets as the Blackbirds romped out to a 20-9 lead after eight minutes.
Pettisville shot 58 percent in the first quarter to go with those five 3-pointers.
Plank’s second triple of the half gave Pettisville their largest lead at 23-11 with seven minutes left in the half.
Bekah Bowser’s 3-pointer and Lucy Serna’s zigzag to the rim from near halfcourt got Evergreen back to 23-16, but King’s fourth bomb of the half pushed the lead back to 28-19 at the break.
The fact of the Blackbirds outrebounding the Vikings 20-15 in the first 16 minutes, along with Evergreen watching Pettisville spot up all half outside the arc drew the ire of Cymbolin at intermission.
After being, well, for lack of a better term, called out, the Vikings were an entirely different team the next eight minutes.
“I challenged their grit a little bit,” Cymbolin expressed. “They had to box out and rebound, they had to get into that tenacity level. I might have mentioned that’s what our JV team has and that’s what we need and all of a sudden we turned into this tenacious playing team on the defensive end.”
Bowser’s pull-up jumper opened the half and began the aforementioned 14-zip flurry.
Addy Ricker went second chance off the glass, Bowser had a fast break hoop off a turnover, and Jocelyn Schuster scored another second-chance bucket to bring the Vikings within a point at 28-27 with 5:28 left.
Ricker got inside for the bucket that gave Evergreen the lead a minute later but the run wasn’t over.
Macy Chamberlin scored on a fourth-chance try off the offensive boards and Ricker hit on a dish from Chamberlin on a backcut for a 33-28 Viking lead before Beck scored with 10 seconds left in the quarter for the only Blackbird basket in the the third.
The Vikings were only 7-20 in the quarter, but had seven offensive rebounds, most leading to points.
“We weren’t showing enough heart and enough grit,” explained Cymbolin. “And if we want to get better for the league and for the tournament, we have to be able to rebound. We asked them who wants the job, we were one and done too many times in the first half. We said that if you want your name in the paper the best way is to hit the boards and put it back in. A lot of kids took that to heart in the second half, especially in the third.”
Bowser’s deep triple 56 seconds into the fourth doubled the Evergreen lead and after Grim scored 19 seconds later, Bowser’s 2-2 at the foul stripe and Chamberlin’s basket from Ricker opened up an eight point gap (40-32) that held until the last second of the game.
During the last 6:45, the Vikings pressured and harassed the Blackbirds into 2-15 shooting during the fourth — many of those one-and-done.
Bowser’s 17 points and Ricker’s 11 led Evergreen, now 4-2. King had 12 for the Blackbirds.