Evergreen “knocked out” of boys basketball tournament by Liberty Center

Staff Report

HOLLAND — Just because someone is knocked into next week doesn’t mean it’s a foul unless you get caught right?

Kinda the same with a mugging, assault, robbery, unless there’s a witness there’s no law broken.

But what happened to Evergreen’s Evan Lumbrezer with five seconds left in the game was seen by plenty of witnesses, including three “cops” in stripes who looked the other way.

Rather than a chance to win the game, after a series of events that included two technicals, a rash of missed free throws and a last second long ball that went off glass and bounced off the front rim, the Vikings came up on the short end, 49-46, in a boys basketball sectional final against Liberty Center Friday night at Springfield.

The Vikings finish at 13-10 after starting the season 3-7.

Evergreen had come from six points down twice in the fourth, with Lumbrezer scoring three times in the span of 25 seconds — twice on steal and swoops to the rim — to tie the game at 46-all with 1:07 left.

Wyatt Leatherman split two free throws with 60 seconds left to give the Tigers a one-point lead, and after a Viking miss, Liberty had a chance to run out the clock.

A Tyson Woodring steal gave Evergreen a chance for a last shot but when Eli Keifer found Lumbrezer on a back cut, the senior point guard was sent to the floor by a pair of Tiger defenders but not a whistle was to be heard.

After the Vikings fouled to stop the clock, Viking coach Jerry Keifer was given two technical fouls for vehemently making his point — not only what happened to Lumbrezer, but what had happened much of the second half.

Matthew Orr missed the intial one-and-one, then Leatherman converted just 1-4 from the technicals.

Orr then split a pair with 2.7 left, giving Evergreen a last chance.

Lumbrezer raced up the floor and got off a shot from above the volleyball line that rattled off the board and front rim, sending Liberty Center to the district tournament and the Vikings left wondering why.

Evergreen had advanced to the final by coming back from an early 10-point deficit to defeat Maumee Valley Country Day in the semifinal Wednesday.

Keifer’s foul line jumper starting the fourth gave Evergreen the lead for good and Lumbrezer’s 10 fourth quarter points —including 6-6 from the foul stripe down the stretch — put the Vikings into the final.

“It was a battle,” expressed Coach Keifer after the game. “But we move on. Being down like that in the first half and then taking the lead and holding it is huge. We have a some tournament-tested players still from our 25-1 team a couple years ago and they know what it takes to advance.”

The same scenario happened in the final.

Aiden Hammontree scored three first quarter baskets and Liberty Center hit six of their first eight shots to take a 14-8 lead.

Hammontree doubled the score with a jumper to start the second.

That was the last Tiger score for six and a half minutes.

Keifer scored twice on fastbreak feeds from Lumbrezer and then Woodring did the same from Keifer to get the Vikes within one.

Then after four misfires, the Vikings swarmed the boards, with Woodring finding Keifer for a corner triple he splashed to give the Vikings a two-point lead they took into the half.

Evan Conrad’s three-point play regained a Tiger 29-28 lead with 3:49 left in the third and Leatherman hit a buzzer-beater to put the Tigers ahead by six heading into the fourth.

Despite a series of no-calls inside on a lot of questionable contact, Shunck found Loeffler, then scored twice himself on dishes from Lumbrezer to tie the game at 38 with 4:28 left.

Woodring’s steal and score kept the Vikes even with 3:15 to go.

Conrad got two scores, one on a putback and Hammontree one more to give LC a 46-40 lead before the events in the final 90 seconds.

Keifer finishes the season with 397 wins, all at Evergreen, heading into next season.

In the history of Ohio High School basketball, only approximately 100 coaches have hit the 400 win mark at the same school.


Staff Report