Don’t be mistaken, Pettisville’s 6’8” sophomore Cayden Jacoby is good.
In fact real good.
However, Evergreen’s Ethan Loeffler matched Jacoby point for point inside and RJ Shunck went 7-7 from the floor — including three from long range — as the Vikings took a lead at the end of the first half and never gave it up in a 48-41 victory over the previously 7-1 Blackbirds on the road Saturday.
Evergreen, after a 37-22 win at Delta the night before, went to 11-2 on the year.
“I just can’t say enough about how we have grown with our post players,” exclaimed Viking coach Jerry Keifer.
“We do post moves every day, and we have gotten so much better lately. RJ comes in and has a big night, Ethan has a big night along with Jake Fuller getting a score we got a lot out of our post players.
“Our guards did a great job controlling the perimeter defensively and entering the post offensively. I thought we did a really good job on Jacoby. I felt we did a good job on (Max) Leppelmeier restricting his looks.”
Shunck and Joey Ripke countered each other from outside the arc to start the game, and Jacoby and Loeffler matched hoops before Max Leppelmeier’s floater back in the key gave Pettisville an 11-9 lead at the quarter.
Loeffler’s three-point play pushed the Vikings up to begin the second, but Jacoby answered 25 seconds later beginning a back and forth sequence capped by Josh Horning’s jumper with 4:57 left in the half that regained a Blackbird advantage.
Leppelmeier’s long bomb from way outside the arc gave Pettisville their biggest lead at 20-16 with 2:45 on the clock.
That’s when Viking point guard Evan Lumbrezer really got the Vikings rolling.
The junior guard didn’t score a point in the first half, but with his team down four, Lumbrezer found Loeffler for a layup, Jake Fuller got ahead of the pack for another and then Loeffler again for a third on his fifth assist of the quarter that pushed the Vikings back up 22-20 with 58 ticks left in the half.
Lumbrezer hit Shunck for a bucket to start the third quarter, then Shunck’s three-ball on an inside-out game from Loeffler boosted the Viking advantage to 29-22 with 4:49 to go.
Leppelmeier’s triple that bounced high off the front rim and fell through got Pettisville back to a two-score margin at 39-33, but Lumbrezer’s stop-and-go move left everyone watching with eight seconds to go to make it 41-33 heading into the fourth.
This time it was Austin Lumbrezer hitting Shunck for an easy one to make the Viking lead double figures, but the Blackbirds battled back.
Leppelmeier’s baseline floater and then three straight scores credited to Jacoby, one when Shunck tipped a rebound try and it went into the Blackbird hoop, chopped the Evergreen lead down to 43-41 with 2:45 left.
Shunck hit the first, then missed the second of a two-shot try at the line but Brock Hudik chased down the rebound giving Evergreen the ball back.
Pettisville had a chance to tie with under a minute left; however, Loeffler went to the floor for a steal that Evan Lumbrezer hit the front-end of the bonus and then the swift guard got a pick and score for a basket with 15 seconds left to put the game away.
Led by Shunck’s perfect night from the field, Evergreen shot 58 percent from the floor. Pettisville went 18-46 for 41 percent.
Each team had 21 rebounds.
Loeffler and Shunck each scored 19 for the Vikings, while Loeffler also had six rebounds and a pair of blocked shots. Evan Lumbrezer had nine assists.
Jacoby scored 18 for Pettisville (now 7-2) and Leppelmeier added 12.
The previous night, the Vikings slammed the door on Delta defensively in the first half taking a 16-6 lead, and went on to a 37-22 victory over the Panthers.
Loeffler scored 13 points and had six boards in the game while Evan Lumbrezer had 12 points and 10 rebounds over the winless Panthers.
“It was a great weekend,” said Keifer. “Anytime you get two wins in a weekend it’s a great weekend especially when you came off two losses.
“We ended a streak (that spanned 33 straight wins over two seasons) and started hopefully a new one.
“I like where we are right now after this weekend and moving on to the next game.”
Evergreen hosts Patrick Henry in a NWOAL game Friday.
Pettisville travels to Fayette Tuesday to play their rival Eagles in a Buckeye Border contest.
Reach Joe Blystone at firstname.lastname@example.org.