Viking boys knock off Holgate, 44-34

By Joe Blystone - For the Expositor

HOLGATE – Sometimes basketball can be such an easy game.

Take care of the basketball and make free throws and usually you go home a winner.

Jerry Keifer’s Evergreen Vikings did just that, committing only seven turnovers and hitting 14 of 16 fourth quarter free throws to pull away from Holgate in a 44-34 victory Tuesday on the road.

“We got them in the double bonus (in the fourth quarter),” said Keifer. “So we got them spread out and we did what we do out of that and when you have a kid go to the line and make 15 of 18 (as Nick Etue did) it’s a great strategy.”

Evergreen took a lead at the end of the first quarter when Peyton Pawlaczyk hit a triple with 15 seconds left for an 8-6 lead.

Chandler Lumbrezer broke a 14 all deadlock with 38 seconds left in the half with a three-ball to give the Vikings the lead heading into the locker room.

Etue’s three-pointer and three-point play helped the Vikes to a 24-18 lead with 5:35 left in the third, but Holgate finished the quarter on a 6-0 run on baskets by Brady Hohenberger, Jack Clady and a bat off an offensive rebound by Trey Jones that went off the board and through to knot the score at 24 heading into the fourth.

Teagan Pinkelman’s pair from the line and Etue’s spin in the key aided an early fourth quarter spurt that bumped Evergreen in front 29-24 with 5:32 to go.

From there, the Viking defense really clamped down on the Tigers by forcing four straight turnovers and the parade to the foul line began.

Etue converted 5 of 6 and Bryce Hudik scored off yet another Holgate turnover to push the lead to 36-27 at the 1:23 mark.

“I thought we did well with the press and we defended the heck out of them,” explained Keifer. “We were good defensively and I thought we held our own on the boards, they’re a lot bigger and stronger.”

At that point Evergreen knocked down eight straight free throws, a pair by Hudik and six more from Etue to ice the game.

Evergreen (now 5-8) forced 18 Holgate turnovers and went 21 for 26 from the foul line for the game while Holgate was 8 of 12.

Etue was the only double figure scorer in the game with 26.

The Vikings play a weekend doubleheader at home, Friday against Montpelier and Saturday versus Ottawa Hills.

By Joe Blystone

For the Expositor

Joe Blystone can be reached at [email protected]

Joe Blystone can be reached at [email protected]