Hot-shooting Panthers drill listless Vikes

By Joe Blystone - For the Expositor

Basketball can be just as easy as who puts the ball in the basket at a high percentage and who doesn’t.

Add that in to who wants to play and who doesn’t can be very good for one team, and not so much for the other.

Hot shooting Delta came out of the blocks ready to play while Evergreen looked like they were in dreamland of a white Christmas, as the Panthers laid an embarrassing 51-32 loss on the Vikings Tuesday in boys basketball.

Delta is now 5-1 on the year while Evergreen falls to 3-3.

“We really make an effort to have them get shots up at practice that simulate game situations,” Panther coach Matt Brighton said. “As the season has progressed we are trying to make it more like that so when it’s game time they are more comfortable shooting them.

“The thing is we are building that idea in practice and we are starting to see it in games. I don’t expect us to shoot 7-11 from the three point line every game (which the Panthers did), but tonight it was falling and our guys were confident.”

Bryce Gillen hit two wide open triples, as the Vikings were still in neutral closing out and Justin Ruple got inside twice for buckets and a 10-6 Delta lead at the quarter break.

That lead grew to 15-8 on Ruple’s uncontested triple with 5:36 left in the second.

Drew Gillen’s putback and Tyson Woodring’s turnaround jumper drew Evergreen back to 15-12 but Gillen stroked two more triples in rhythm to push the lead to double digits at 23-12 before Woodring’s steal and score got Evergreen to single figures at the half.

Bryar Knapp threw in a triple to start the third to help Delta double up the Vikes, 28-14.

Back-to-back putbacks by Ryder Hudik and Riley Dunbar brought Evergreen back to a 10-point deficit, but Gillen’s fifth triple and a three-point play from the senior guard opened up a 40-20 margin after the third.

Jesse Spradlin and Eli Keifer hit triples to draw the Vikes within 44-30 with 5:35 left, but Evergreen came up empty after three Delta turnovers when they had a chance to get back into the game.

Nolan Risner added two late hoops to take the margin back up to 19.

Gillen’s 25 points led the Panthers who shot a sizzling 21-36 from the floor. Ruple added 13 and Risner 10.

No Vikings hit double figures as they shot 13-41 from the floor.

“We knew who we had to guard tonight,” Brighton said of forcing Evergreen into 31 percent from the field. “We had to have a hand up on the catch all the time on (Keifer) and we had to close out hard on their other shooters.

“Effort is something we shouldn’t have to talk about, it’s an expectation with us. I get it, sometimes shots won’t fall or someone is better than us but we should always have that energy level like we did tonight no matter who we play.”

Delta hosts Fairview Thursday while Evergreen plays at Fostoria next Tuesday.

By Joe Blystone

For the Expositor