When a team shoots 28 percent from the field and 5 for 21 from the foul line, that is usually a recipe for a night of disaster on the basketball court.
Evergreen had those horrendous shooting numbers against the Swanton Bulldogs in a non-league girls basketball game, but rather than being blown off the floor, the Vikings raced to a 25-7 halftime lead and coasted home with a 40-26 win to raise their record to 2-1 on the season Thursday at Swanton.
“Hard work,” stated Evergreen coach Brittaney Cymbolin. “We made a commitment to each other back in the summer that we were going to outwork everyone. Our goal is to is to be the hardest working team in northwest Ohio. I think you can see that on the floor. Our girls get their hands on the basketball and if it’s loose on the floor we’re on the floor after it. I think our girls are really responding to it. We may not be the most talented team in retrospect of people picking us second to last in the NWOAL but we are gonna fight. Our girls are gonna fight.”
Besides getting a number of 50-50 balls, the Vikings attacked the boards with a vengeance against the much bigger Bulldogs and created chaos on defense, forcing 17 first half turnovers and 28 for the game.
After Cydney Christensen scored a minute into the game for Swanton, the Bulldogs went south offensively, not scoring for the next eight minutes.
Evergreen wasn’t any better, only going 2 of 6 from the line in the first 5:44 of the game to knot the score at deuces with 2:16 left in the first.
Then the harassing trapping Viking defense began to take it’s toll, forcing 10 first quarter turnovers.
Hannah Herr had a steal and score that little did anyone know, would give the Vikings the lead for good.
After another steal Lexie Shipman snapped an inside-out pass to Alyssa Noe for a triple, Bailie Sutter scored off a Noe steal, Herr drained a long three-ball and Shipman found Mikaela Ball wide open underneath, capping a two minute 12-0 run and giving Evergreen a 14-2 lead at the buzzer.
“We worked on it (the press),” said Swanton coach Eric Oakes. “Some days we handle it pretty well, today we panicked especially in the first quarter and first half, not getting the ball to where we wanted but we’ll work on it and get better. We’ll learn from this and by the end of the year we’ll calm down.”
After Bridget Harlett scored to again start a quarter with a Bulldog hoop, the Vikes, besides creating seven more second quarter turnovers, crashed the boards on both ends to make Swanton go one-and-done the rest of the half. They held a 26-15 first half advantage on the glass.
“After our showing, or not showing, rebounding wise in the Ayersville game, we worked very hard in practice boxing out and attacking the glass,” said Cymbolin. “Our kids tonight held each other accountable for their performance rebounding.”
Oakes echoed those sentiments on the other side.
“What really irritated me was our rebounding. We have a height advantage, we just did not get on the boards like I thought we should. I don’t think they shot it real well but they created a lot more opportunities with their work especially on the offensive end.”
Another 10-0 Viking run essentially put the game on ice. Noe nailed a deep three, then scored off another fastbreak steal by Herr. Freshman Abi Borojevich stuck a three from the left wing and Noe capped the burst with a spin move to the rim to make it 24-4 with 2:59 left in the half.
Evergreen reached their biggest advantage at 23 when Herr hit another triple with 3:04 left in the third to boost the Viking lead to 35-12.
The Vikings led 40-18 with 4:48 left before the Bulldogs scored the last eight points of the game.
“This win was important to our kids,” said Cymbolin. “Swanton has a great volleyball team and they ended up taking our volleyball team out of the tournament and it made a really bad taste in our kids mouths so is was important to a lot of the kids that are playing now to avenge that so the kids really took this game to heart.”
Noe had 14 and Herr 11 to lead the Vikings.
Swanton outshot Evergreen, hitting 36 percent from the floor, but only got off 34 attempts.
Christensen was the only double figure scorer for Swanton with 12. Swanton then went on to beat Maumee 39-29 on Saturday.
The Bulldogs are next in action Thursday when they travel to Springfield. Evergreen hosts Jones Academy Tuesday.
Reach Joe Blystone at firstname.lastname@example.org