Ottawa Hills nips Evergreen, 53-51

By Joe Blystone - For the Expositor

OTTAWA HILLS — Fifty-fifty plays. One team gets the benefit and the other doesn’ closed.

A batted ball, after a muffed double dribble no-call, led to a chase in which Ottawa Hills’ Sam McCaffery slid under Evergreen’s Drew Gillen, resulting in a foul call and McCaffery hitting two free throws with 3.5 seconds left that gave the Green Bears a 53-51 win Tuesday in boys basketball.

Evergreen fell to 3-2 on the year with the loss.

Ottawa Hills shot 7-11 in the first quarter — three of those McCaffery hoops — to roll out to a 17-6 lead.

The Vikings chipped away at the lead in the second, mostly at the foul line.

Eli Keifer, Walker Lumbrezer and Tyson Woodring combined to go 8-8 from the stripe, and Woodring canned a long triple along with a fast break hoop to shave the Ottawa Hills lead to 26-23 at the half.

AJ George and McCaffery combined to score 11 third quarter points as Ottawa Hills regained an eight point lead before Evergreen went on a 10-2 run.

Gillen used one of his game-high 16 rebounds to score a putback, Blade Walker found Mason Emmitt for a backcut bucket, then Keifer scored four points in the last three seconds of the third.

The junior guard knocked down a wing jumper, then stole the inbounds and hit from the same spot to again bring Evergreen even at 39-all.

Keifer’s turnaround to start the fourth pushed the Vikes up for the first time but Chase Miller’s three-point play put the Bears back up 45-44.

That lead extended to 51-45 with 2:12 left when Evergreen rallied again.

Keifer swiped an errant pass, one of 19 Ottawa Hills turnovers the Vikings forced, and scored on a layup.

A Woodring theft resulted in the lefty junior hitting 2-2 from the line, then Keifer hit again from the middle of the key to knot the game with a minute left.

Ottawa Hills worked for a last shot when a wild pass was snared one-handed by McCaffery and he put the ball on the floor, then pulled up his dribble and again went to dribble out of trouble, which drew the ire of the Vikings’ bench and fans to no avail.

Woodring tipped a pass that resulted in the above-mentioned scrum that put McCaffery on the line where he hit both for the winning points.

McCaffery led Ottawa Hills with 18 points as the Bears were 21-43 from the floor but threw the ball away 19 times.

Evergreen shot just 27 percent in the first half before finishing 16-46. The Vikings had 14 turnovers.

Keifer had 21 to lead Evergreen, while Woodring had 14.

The Vikings are off until next Tuesday when they host Delta.

By Joe Blystone

For the Expositor