After a slow-paced start, Evergreen sped up Delta as the game went on, increasing the lead into the fourth quarter before prevailing 54-27 over the Panthers Friday in boys basketball at Delta.
“First off we had a really big win against Cardinal Stritch, then we had eight days off, so we spent eight days on Delta’s man-to-man offense, and eight days on Delta’s zone. I think with eight days to work, we were very prepared,” explained Viking coach Jerry Keifer.
“It showed right away on the offensive end, I thought we had an advantage down low and took advantage of that early and got some shots to fall.
“Defensively we were all connected, we talked well, we did what we were supposed to do so it’s a good win moving forward into next week’s tournament.”
Ethan Loeffler found Nate Brighton for a quick score on the Vikes opening possession before the Panthers went very deliberate, running nearly a minute off the clock before Bryce Gillen hit a running leaner near the foul line to knot the game.
It was Brighton again from Ethan Loeffler 24 seconds later, and when Delta went slowdown again, Evergreen point guard Evan Lumbrezer went to work.
The speedy sophomore created two turnovers that led to a Brighton baseline jumper and a runout score by Mason Loeffler for an 8-2 lead.
Mike Eckenrode hit a deep triple at the 2:37 mark to get the Panthers back to 8-5, but Delta got no closer.
Jack Etue’s bomb from the corner and Brighton’s putback began a 20-2 run that carried the Vikings through the end of the first quarter all the way to halftime.
Mason Loeffler scored 12 of those points on a pair of triples on dishes from Lumbrezer, two backcut hoops from Brighton, then a second steal and score to fuel the Vikings to a 28-7 halftime lead.
Mason Loeffler’s slam a 75 seconds into the second half began another barrage that included a three-point play, a triple and two buckets inside from Brighton, and another steal and score from Lumbrezer. It was capped off by a resounding second dunk by Loeffler for a 48-14 lead 30 seconds into the fourth, before the Viking starters left for good.
Brighton’s 21 points and 14 rebounds led the way, while Mason Loeffler chalked up 20 as the two Evergreen big men shot 18 of 24 from the field.
As a team Evergreen shot 57 percent from the floor, and had 18 assists on their 24 hoops, with Lumbrezer and Etue each getting five.
“I thought we shared the ball very, very well,” said Keifer. “You get 75 percent assists to baskets, that’s really good, and it wasn’t just one guy, it was everyone.
“If we play like that, we will be pretty successful.”
Delta shot 39 percent and was guilty of 14 turnovers, while Evergreen had just four and only two in the first three quarters.
The Vikings are now 4-1 and play Montpelier (1-5) in the first round of the Northwest Holiday Classic at Montpelier Friday night.
Reach Joe Blystone at firstname.lastname@example.org