Delta clamps down on Evergreen, 32-25

By Joe Blystone - For the Expositor and Enterprise

If this was the NFL both offensive coordinators might be looking for work right now as Delta and Evergreen combined for 51 turnovers and shot 20-83 from the floor between them.

But it was the Panthers who put on a superior defensive effort to overcome 18 second half turnovers to beat the Vikings, 32-25, in a Northwest Ohio Athletic League girls basketball contest Friday.

The win avenged a one-point loss to the Vikings just before Christmas.

“We cleaned up our defense,” Panther coach Kelsey Gillen said after. “We worked with the girls on the zone and where we wanted to be and try not to spread it out too much. Sometimes we are hot from the field and sometimes we can’t hit a shot so we put a lot of work into what we do on the other end for tonight.”

The Panthers roared out of the blocks as they did in the first encounter to take a big lead in the first four minutes, forcing five straight Viking turnovers.

Grace Munger started and finished an 11-0 start with drives to the rim.

In between, Khloe Weber had a steal-and-score and a transition triple to go with Kendall Sprow’s bucket off a Viking miscue before Kennedy Emmitt broke the seal on the rim with a bucket at the 1:32 mark of the first.

That began a run of 12 consecutive Evergreen points — eight of them from Addison Ricker — that propelled Evergreen in front 12-11 halfway through the second.

From that point on, the Vikings could only find the bottom of the net four times the rest of the night as they shot a frigid 20 percent from the field.

Weber’s top-of-the-key triple that banked in broke a 13-13 deadlock with 3:02 to go in the half that began yet another 11-0 run into the third quarter.

Another Munger drive with 10 ticks left in the second gave Delta a 20-13 advantage heading into the locker room, then the left-handed junior scored the only two Delta hoops in the third to make it 24-13 with 2:41 left.

Macy Chamberlin’s pull-up jumper got the spread back to single digits going into the fourth but the Vikings were hampered by 1-9 third quarter shooting and eight turnovers. Delta wasn’t much better at 2-7 from the floor and a matching eight mistakes with the basketball.

The Vikings got as close as five points on a number of occasions in the fourth, the first coming when after Ricker canned a jumper off an out-of-bounds play, Chamberlin split a pair from the line with 4:16 left to make it 27-22.

The last five point advantage came with 18 seconds left as Emmitt also split at the stripe before Weber went 2-2 with 3.2 to go.

“This is a huge confidence booster for the kids,” Gillen said of getting a close win. “We a number of times have been close but it didn’t work out at the end. Being able to pull away a little at the end and sealing this win will be really helpful for their confidence.”

Munger and Ricker each had 12 points to lead their respective teams. Weber added 10 for Delta.

Delta finished with 26 turnovers compared to 25 for Evergreen.

The Panthers shot 11-38 from the field.

By Joe Blystone

For the Expositor and Enterprise