Vikings clamp down to win three straight

By Joe Blystone - For the Expositor and Enterprise

Three games in less than 48 hours is not even on NBA schedules much less a high school basketball team.

Evergreen survived those quick turnarounds winning all three, 32-18 over Delta Thursday, 50-25 against Hilltop Friday and used a near perfect shooting performance from Evan Lumbrezer to stop Emmanuel Christian 55-45.

For the second straight game Evergreen was not exactly stellar offensively against Delta.

However, while they were very subpar at one end, defensively the Vikes were solid allowing Delta just 18 points in a 32-18 victory over the Panthers to move to 5-0 on the season.

“I thought we were really good there and having Evan Lumbrezer at the head of that is really good too,” expressed Viking coach Jerry Keifer. “Every time they got close he turned up the pressure a little bit and we got that steal and score that we needed.”

After neither team could find the bottom of the net in a first quarter that ended with the Vikes up 4-2, Chase Stickley’s putback helped give the Panthers a 6-5 lead with 5:58 left in the half.

The Vikings responded with an 8-0 burst in the next two minutes.

Lumbrezer found Ethan Loeffler to regain an Evergreen lead. Brock Hudik came off the bench and hit a deep triple followed by Lumbrezer’s steal and a fast break hoop off a feed from Loeffler that boosted the Vikings into a 15-8 halftime lead.

“I thought Delta did a great job of being patient,” explained Keifer. “He (Panther coach Derek Sheridan) does a great job keeping them in games. We were not very good offensively at all but they took their time and were really patient. We didn’t get them out of that until we went up 10 or 12 late.”

Eli Keifer found Loeffler twice in close for buckets to open the third and Evergreen held the Panthers scoreless in the quarter until Stickley again scored off a stickback with 4:32 left.

Lumbrezer’s thievery again reared with a steal-scoop-and-score for an 11-point edge at 21-10, but James Ruple drained a triple to get the Panthers within 21-14.

With Delta in possession trying to chop into the Viking lead near the end of the stanza, Lumbrezer struck again like an unseen burglar in the night with another steal and bucket at the buzzer to put the Vikings ahead 23-14.

The junior point guard wasn’t quite finished as he dropped a three-ball on an inside-out game from RJ Shunck and just for good measure, added one more raid to the rim putting the Vikings up 28-16 with 5:49 to go.

Loeffler scored 13 and added 10 rebounds while Lumbrezer had 11 and seven steals on the night.

Stickley had 10 of Delta’s 18.

The next night, the Vikes broke away from a 4-4 tie in the first with a 24-6 run for the rest of the half and beat Hilltop 50-25.

Loeffler’s three-point play and Keifer’s three-pointer began the first half run late in the first.

Lumbrezer’s nine second-quarter points fueled the Vikings to a 28-10 halftime lead which they extended through the second half.

Lumbrezer’s 16 and Loeffler’s 11 led a balanced attack as Keifer subbed freely through the second half.

The Vikings shot 19-37 from the floor and outrebounded the Cadets 35-15.

Finally against Emmanuel Christian, Evergreen started 8-11 in the first quarter from the floor as Lumbrezer and Shunck combined for seven field goals to go up 18-7.

Lumbrezer ended up a sizzling 11-12 from the floor and burned the nets for 32 points and grabbed nine rebounds.

Evergreen held a 31-16 rebounding advantage.

The Vikings are now off until the Northwest Ohio Holiday Classic at Northwood Dec. 28-29.

By Joe Blystone

For the Expositor and Enterprise

Reach Joe Blystone at [email protected]

Reach Joe Blystone at [email protected]