After a red-hot start by both teams, Evergreen clamped down inside defensively, allowing Pettisville to score just 16 second half points and took a 60-46 decision at Pettisville to go to 16-4 on the year Saturday.
“This is a quality, quality win,” Viking coach Jerry Kefier emphasized. “To come over here and beat a very, very, very good team like Pettisville has at their place, this is a high quality victory.”
Pettisville used the twin towers of Sam Rychener and Graeme Jacoby to get inside again and again in the first quarter, as the duo combined for 11 in the period.
However, the Vikings were smoking hot from outside the three-point arc as Chandler Lumbrezer and Nate Brighton each knocked home two from long range, and Mason Loeffler added another to forge an 18-18 tie after the first.
Bryce Hudik’s pull up jumper, then seven straight from Loeffler on a left wing jumper, a scoop and score that turned into a three-point play, and finally a bomb from way out on the left side gave Evergreen a 30-23 lead with 3:30 left in the half.
Pettisville responded as Detric Yoder hit from midrange, Rychener drove baseline for a stuff, and Jacoby scored off the offensive glass with a three-point play to knot things back up with 1:05 left.
Loeffler’s slash through the left side 10 seconds later gave Evergreen a 32-30 lead at the break.
Rychener and Jacoby combined for 18 in the first half but that was soon to change.
After playing the entire first half without a miscue, Pettisville committed four turnovers early in the third quarter as the Vikings sent help on the Pettisville big men and Evergreen took advantage.
Hudik and Lumbrezer stuck wide open triples as the Vikes vaulted to a 39-30 lead.
Yoder forced up a shot that fell and Jacoby scored inside through traffic to get the Birds within 39-35.
Loeffler scored on a dish from Nic Borjevich and Brighton’s offensive rebound gave the Vikings a 43-35 lead before Yoder hit again from 17 feet to get the Blackbirds back to 43-37.
Jacoby went outside and canned a baseline jumper to begin the fourth, and Yoder’s long triple got Pettisville within 46-42 with 5:10 left.
But Lumbrezer’s back-to-back baskets inside from Loeffler and Brighton began a 12-2 Viking run in the next four minutes.
Evergreen also knocked home 8 of 11 from the foul line as the Blackbirds were forced to foul.
The four third quarter turnovers were the only ones Pettisville was guilty of, while Evergreen only committed five.
However after shooting just under 50 percent in the first half, Pettisville was just 6 for 15 in the second.
Meanwhile after a 52 percent first half, the Vikings went one better, going 8 of 12 in the second.
“In the second half we did the same things we did against Archbold in the second half,” said Keifer. “We worked until we got what we liked and we were pretty good shooting the ball in the second half.”
Lumbrezer led all scorers with 22 and Loeffler added 19.
Yoder got nine of his 16 points in the second half as Evergreen limited Jacoby – who had 10 at halftime – to just the two field goals. Rychener, who had eight at the break, scored a single free throw in the last sixteen minutes.
“I thought we played pretty good defense overall,” said Keifer. “After the offensive showcase in the first quarter, we got a little better in the second and in the second half we just came out and shut them down inside.
“The post defense with Nate was better, the help was better, we got deflections and some big blocks.”
Evergreen finishes the regular season and NWOAL play at Bryan Friday before starting the Division III tourney trail at Oregon Clay against Lake on Feb. 27.
Archbold holds off Evergreen for title share
There is a difference between losing and getting beat.
Losing means you packed it in, gave up, didn’t play well and allowed your opponent to dominate you without a fight.
Getting beat means someone had to make more plays than you did to win the game.
Top-ranked Archbold made those big plays in a late second quarter burst to take a lead that grew to as much as 19, then made one more to hold off a huge fourth quarter Evergreen rally to claim a 58-48 win Friday to go to 6-0 in the NWOAL and 20-0 overall.
Archbold can stake the league boys basketball title outright by beating Swanton this Friday night. Evergreen closes league play on the road at Bryan.
The Blue Streaks took a 12-11 first quarter lead thanks to a pair of baskets from Austin Wiemken, a three-pointer from Jeron Williams and Elijah Zimmerman’s three-point play.
The Vikings rallied in the second.
Nic Borojevich’s triple from the corner knotted the score at 14-14.
Mason Loeffler’s basket gave Evergreen a two point lead with 5:48 left.
After Rigo Ramos hit a pair from the stripe to tie the game, Bryce Hudik stuck a triple from the left corner to give Evergreen a 19-16 lead.
However, Chandler Lumbrezer’s dish inside for what would’ve been a wide open layup was muffed out-of-bounds and Archbold took advantage of an opportunity missed to go on a big run.
Ramos’ basket was followed by back-to-back Williams to Wiemken scores that gave the Blue Streaks a 22-19 lead.
Lumbrezer’s third chance basket off the offensive boards got Evergreen within a point but Ramos threw one in from 30 feet out, then scored on a steal and flush and AJ Mahnke finished the half with a three-point play off a steal to give Archbold a 30-21 halftime lead.
“That was certainly a turning point,” Blue Streak coach Joe Frank said.
“Evergreen was ahead and that 14-2 run at the end of the first was certainly a huge part of the game.”
That lead grew to 16 with 3:04 left in the third as Zimmerman and Ramos accounted for every point in a 9-0 flurry to make it 41-25.
Nate Brighton scored inside again and again to keep Evergreen somewhat in contact, but Williams’ triple and Zimmerman’s slash to the rim gave Archbold their biggest lead, 50-31, with 7:10 left.
However, the Vikings began getting stops and got red-hot on the offensive end.
Hudik hit a bomb from on top, Lumbrezer had a steal-and-score, Brighton hit one from way out and Loeffler scored on a dish from Hudik to make it 52-43 with 4:46 left.
Loeffler’s long triple got Evergreen one better at 54-46 with just over three minutes to play but with a chance to get within six or five, Williams came up with the game-changing play of the night with a steal and coast-to-coast score to regain a 10 point lead.
“I’ll tell you what, I give all the credit in the world to those Evergreen kids,” Frank said after. “They battled their rear ends off. They were down 19 and they could’ve packed it in and give credit to coach (Jerry) Keifer and his team.”
Both teams were more than efficient on offense as Archbold shot 24 of 41 and Evergreen was 19 of 31.
Neither team missed a free throw.
Evergreen was guilty of 12 turnovers, three of those crucial and the most vital was the steal by Williams in the midst of the Viking rally. Archbold had six turnovers.
Ramos led Archbold with 18 points. Wiemken had 14 and Zimmerman 13.
Brighton also had 18 for Evergreen on just nine field goal attempts. Loeffler added 13.
Reach Joe Blystone at email@example.com