HAMLER – It’s like a severe storm in the spring – you can see the clouds boiling, you hear the thunder, you see the lightning, you know it’s coming, you can’t stop it, and your only hope is you’ll survive.
Every game it seems the Evergreen girls basketball team makes a run that rains down on an opponent like that vicious spring storm.
Patrick Henry was the latest victim when as quick as a bolt of lightning, the Vikings rebounded from a 25-21 second quarter deficit with a 25-2 run over the next eight minutes to wreck Patrick Henry, 61-42 Friday night.
“We played pretty well,” said Viking coach John Langenderfer. “Third quarter we just wanted to concentrate on making our possessions count. They went to a box-and-one (defense) and I thought we were real patient. We got the ball inside to (Haili) Mossing and she made some big time plays for us.”
Evergreen’s speed off the press forced 10 first quarter Patrick Henry turnovers that turned into a 16-8 lead.
Eden Eisel’s three hoops, six Alyssa Noe points, and back-to-back Kaela Fauble baskets at the end of the stanza put Evergreen in control but PH fought back into the contest thanks to radar like three point shooting from Katie Wagner in the second quarter.
“We forgot to bring our guarding shoes in the second quarter,” said Langenderfer. “And Wagner and (Alyson) Prigge made us pay. You can’t leave them running around open out there.”
Wagner hit a trio of triples and Prigge added one more to vault the Patriots in front, 25-21, with 2:58 left in the half.
Then off in the distance came a rumble of thunder, then a flash of a lightning bolt and a gust of wind as the Vikings blew through the Patriots.
Mossing hit a pair of free throws and a right side jumper to tie the game.
Then, Becca Jankowiak came in off the bench and nailed a triple with 1:11 left in the half to put the Vikings back on top at 28-25.
“The was good for her confidence,” Langenderfer said of his senior sub. “She shoots the ball well in practice. She always wants more playing time and I keep trying to give it to her and she keeps working on it. She’s a great kid.”
Alyssa Noe’s left hand drive made it 30-25 before Jessica Bostleman’s fastbreak basket, the only PH points in what would be a 8:57 span, that pulled PH within 30-27 at half.
A full force blast followed as the lightning quick Vikings created nine more third quarter turnovers and Mossing used her power inside to get a pair of hoops and a pair from the free throw line.
Eisel added to the roll with a score off a steal, a jumper from the mid key off a pass from Mossing and an up-and-under layup again off a steal with 2:36 left to put Evergreen up 46-27.
“We play more man-to-man this year, but having quickness helps us do that,” explained Langenderfer of his team’s stifling defense. “Eisel and the Noe girls (Rachael and Alyssa), are awful quick and athletic.”
“Number 11 (Aylssa Noe) for us is tough to beat. She’s our trump card and when people press us, get everyone out of the way and let’s go. It was a good game for us. We have a little more speed than they do.”
The Vikings reached their biggest lead at 57-32 on a pair of Mossing free throws before Langenderfer freely subbed the rest of the night.
Evergreen forced 30 Patrick Henry turnovers while committing 16, six of those coming after all starters were sitting out the last minutes.
Mossing and Eisel each chipped in 18 for the evening while Alyssa Noe added 14 for the Vikings who are now 5-1 overall and 3-0 in the league.
“We’re feeling good about ourselves (after beating Archbold, Delta and Patrick Henry) no doubt about it,” said Langenderfer.
“I know the (Swanton) Bulldogs are tough, Montpelier is tough, everyone left is tough. We’re not THAT good yet. We can be beat. We know we have gone cold before too.”
The loss was Patrick Henry’s first in the NWOAL. Wagner had 15 to lead the Patriots while Prigge added 12.
Joe Blystone can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org