Early on Cardinal Stritch was as hot as a July day, while Evergreen was as frigid shooting the basketball as the near zero temperatures outside.
However, the Vikings rebounded in the last three quarters, overcoming a first stanza deficit to win going away over the Cardinals 66-43.
“I have a lot of respect for the Cardinal Stritch basketball team,” said Viking coach Brittaney Cymbolin. “We watched them a couple times and all those kids work hard and right off the bat I called it, ‘they are gonna hit every shot they take’, and after they hit that first four I thought this is going to be a long night. Our girls kept working at what we do and keep working hard, and they did and it all worked out in the end.”
After the Cardinals hit their first four shots, two by 6’0” Emily Uher in the paint, the Cardinals had an 8-4 lead.
Meanwhile, the Vikings couldn’t buy a hoop, starting the game 2 for 11 in the first few minutes.
However, that hard work Cymbolin spoke of came in the form of the Vikings scrambling, trapping press which forced three straight Cardinal turnovers that freshman Abi Borojevich turned into a pair of buckets on a baseline jumper and a rolling left handed baby hook in the key to draw Evergreen within 12-10 at the quarter break.
A quick 10-0 burst to start the second quarter put Evergreen over the top.
Alyssa Noe and Hannah Herr drilled three-pointers around a Herr fastbreak hoop off a turnover, and Kelsie Komisarek netted a foul line jumper after another turnover to give the Vikes a 20-12 lead.
Jami Hardy’s three-point play got the Cardinals within seven, but Lexie Shipman scored off the break on a baseball pass from Noe and Bailie Sutter used her athleticism to score three putback baskets on the boards to give Evergreen a 31-19 lead at the half.
“I can’t say enough about Bailie Sutter,” stated Cymbolin. “I mean that girl just works so hard and she’s done a great job of knowing her role on the team. We needed somebody to rebound and I told her ‘I need somebody to step up’ and she said ‘I got you coach, I got you’. I know when she said it she was serious. That’s what I love about all these kids, I ask them to do something and they will go the extra mile in everything they do and I can’t respect that aspect about them enough. I so appreciate that as a coach.”
It was Sutter again in the third, hammering home a triple from the right wing to go with two more from Herr to pump the Viking lead to 42-25.
Noe’s steal and score along with a duplicate 20 seconds later boosted the score to 46-25.
Hardy answered with a long distance three but Herr’s third try rebound basket, Komisarek’s three-point play and Noe’s third steal and score of the quarter put the Vikings up 53-32 heading into the fourth.
Freshman Asia Gensch’ two buckets to start the fourth gave Evergreen their biggest lead at 57-32 from where the Vikings coasted to the win.
For the game, Evergreen shot 29 for 65 but were 50 percent after a 2 of 11 start.
Stritch was 20 of 51 but only 14 for 39 the last three quarters and committed 25 turnovers, eight each in the second and third quarters.
Evergreen won the battle on the boards against the Cardinals, 37-29.
Hardy had 15 points and Uher 10 for the 5-3 Cardinals.
Sutter’s 16 and eight rebounds led the Vikings, who are now 4-1.
Herr added 14 and Noe 13.
The Vikings now play Friday night against the hot-shooting Delta Panthers in the front end of a girls and boys doubleheader at Evergreen.
Reach Joe Blystone at [email protected]