It seems like yesterday when John Langenderfer took over as girls basketball coach at Evergreen High School.
In fact, this is Langenderfer’s 13th season as the Vikings mentor which has seen his teams win an NWOAL title in 2011, nine sectional titles and reaching the district finals three times.
However, against Adrian Tuesday night, Langenderfer reached a personal milestone, picking up win number 200 against only 86 losses as his Vikings chopped down the Maples, 71-21, to go to 16-2 on the season.
“I’ve had a lot of good players and it’s been a lot of fun,” said the veteran coach. “I never really thought about 200 when I started, I guess that just shows if you are around long enough and have good players that’s what happens.”
Victory 200 was never in doubt as Evergreen raced out to an 18-0 lead thanks to what has been a Viking mainstay this season, a harassing press that forced 10 Adrian turnovers in the first quarter that turned into easy baskets.
A steal and score from Eden Eisel, Alyssa Noe’s drive, back-to-back triples from Haili Mossing and Becca Jankowiak and two more Alyssa Noe fastbreak baskets off turnovers in all essence put an end to the contest before it really got started.
Kaela Fauble’s work underneath and the three point shooting of Rachael Noe helped the Vikings expand the 18-point advantage to 36-9 by halftime, and Evergreen blew the game wide open in the third with a 22-2 burst.
Mossing accounted for the first nine points of the quarter, scoring seven and feeding Alyssa Noe for a hoop before Hannah Herr came off the bench to score seven more points that gave Evergreen a 58-11 lead.
“This team right now is probably as complete a team as any team I’ve had,” said Langenderfer of this year’s edition of the Vikings. “We have people who can guard the ball and we definitely can get after it on the press. I don’t have just one go to scorer, I have three, and a couple of great role players in Kaela Fauble who rebounds the heck out of the ball and knows her role and what a nice complimentary player Rachael Noe is to be able to knock down threes and take great care of the basketball. Then we also have a couple kids off the bench who really contribute. We are 16-2 right now and obviously it’s not my coaching its because we have some good players.”
Alyssa Noe led a very balanced Viking attack with 16. Eisel and Herr each had 11, Mossing 10, Fauble nine and Rachael Noe eight.
Sam Marlatt had 10 for Adrian.
The night before against a 16-3 Ottawa Hills team, Evergreen suffered from a case of missed layups and poor three-point shooting, going 18 for 67 against the much taller Green Bears.
However, the Vikes pressured and attacked from all angles defensively forcing 30 Green bear turnovers compared to only six of their own in a 53-40 victory.
“The kids played hard, I just think we got so amped up,” said Langenderfer. “It was like we were trying to score 10 points every possession. I give them credit defensively with their 6’2” kids. They blocked probably half a dozen shots and we aren’t used to that to maybe we got a little hurried inside.”
What the Vikings did do was force tempo.
Eisel’s score off a steal, three-balls from each Noe and another Eisel steal and score helped Evergreen jump out to an 11-2 lead.
The 6’2” tandem of Olivia Van Slooten and Ariel Cummings scored four times inside to keep OH within 13-11 at the quarter and thanks to a multitude of missed layups, the Green Bears actually took an 18-16 lead with 3:44 left in the half on Kelsi Berry’s three-pointer.
But Eisel and Fauble each hit on consecutive putbacks, Fauble’s a three-point play to regain a 21-18 lead for the Vikings that eventually turned into a 25-21 halftime advantage.
“We shot 8 for 38 in the first half,” Langenderfer sighed. “Now my math skills aren’t that great but I know that isn’t very good at all. We just told the kids to keep playing and some shots would start falling.”
Fauble’s rebound basket to open the third bumped the Viking lead to six and after Morgan Bilstein’s bucket off a loose ball sliced that advantage to 27-25 with 6:09 left, Evergreen scored eight of the next 10 to gain control.
Rachael Noe drilled a long range triple, Mossing got inside around VanSlooten for a score and Jankowiak came off the bench to hammer home a three-ball from the right wing for a 35-27 lead.
Ottawa Hills tried to cut into the Evergreen lead early in the fourth as VanSlooten scored inside twice, but Rachael Noe had an answer each time with a pair of three-pointers that not only countered the 6’2” center’s hoops, but extended the Viking lead to 45-36 at the 5:16 mark.
Ellie Westmeyer split a pair of free throws for Ottawa Hills but again the Viking pressure took its toll as Alyssa Noe got a pair from the line after a steal, then the 5’5” junior raced to the rim for a score after an Eisel steal before Eisel put the game away with a coast-to-coast jaunt after another steal to put the Vikes up 51-37 with 2:23 left.
Alyssa Noe led the Vikes in the scoring column with 14 while Rachael Noe had 12 on four triples but the night belonged to Eisel who recorded a triple-double with 10 points, 10 rebounds and 12 steals in the game.
“Eden Eisel has great length, great anticipation. Heck she would make a great free safety on the football field,” joked Langenderfer.
VanSlooten had 12 and Berry 11 for the Green Bears.
Evergreen, who has clinched a tie for the NWOAL title, goes for an outright crown tonight at home against Wauseon.
Joe Blystone can be reached at [email protected]