Evergreen was like that dog chasing a kid on a bike.
No matter what the kid tried to do to get away, they just couldn’t until the dog finally ran out of steam chasing him.
While the Vikes kept nipping at the Panthers heels all night, Delta made enough free throws in the last two minutes, while holding Evergreen scoreless to take a 46-40 Northwest Ohio Athletic League win at home in girls basketball Thursday.
The Panthers remain undefeated in the league at 4-0.
“I thought our girls really grinded it out,” veteran Panther coach Ryan Ripke said. “That is something that we have done a lot this year. We have won a lot of close games and I think our girls are starting to figure out what it takes to win those close ones.”
It was the Vikings who took an early lead when Kennedi Keifer drilled a top of the key three, then dished to Bekah Bowser for another long range bomb to give Evergreen an 8-4 lead halfway through the first.
Braelyn Wymer’s triple with 3:14 to go got Delta within 9-8, then after Bowser’s running one-hander regained a four point Viking lead, Wymer again hit from beyond the arc with 54 ticks left to pull the Panthers back to a one point deficit at the quarter at 14-13.
Delta knocked in the first eight of the second quarter – all on second chances off the offensive glass.
Actually every one of the Panther points in the second stanza came off second tries.
Brooklyn Wymer hit 3 of 4 from the line after being fouled on offensive putbacks, then got a second chance hoop to give Delta the lead.
Khloe Weber’s second-try triple pushed the Delta advantage to 21-14.
Savannah VanOstrand’s third chance bucket brought the Vikings back to 21-18, but while Evergreen got caught standing and watching on missed Panther shots, Brooklyn Green and Weber each scored to make 14 points off second chances and a 27-18 halftime lead.
“I thought defensively we did a pretty good job,” explained Ripke. “They hit some shots, especially in the first quarter. I thought in the second we did a much better job of our rotation. Rebounding has been a weakness of ours, I thought we crashed the boards better and came up with some loose balls and obviously that helped. I thought in the second quarter we played with more energy and more confidence.”
Green gave Delta their largest lead of the night with 6:34 left in the third at 29-18 before Evergreen began the chase back into the game.
Keifer nailed a right corner triple and Bowser followed with a steal and score.
Reagan Rouleau and Weber scored to regain a double digit lead at 33-23 with 3:37 left.
Again Evergreen retaliated, as Jordan Lumbrezer and Paige Radel hit from outside the arc to close the gap to 34-29 entering the fourth.
Keifer’s third three-ball of the game got the Vikings within one at 34-33 with 7:24 left in the contest, before Delta got the good end of two 50-50 charge-blocks calls to again open up the lead.
A collision by Green going to the rim with a Viking trying to take a charge, resulted in two from the line to push the Delta lead to 36-33.
That lead increased a minute later when Brooklyn Wymer did the same on a drive and scored a three-point play to double the Panther spread to 39-33.
“We want our girls, especially Brooklyn to attack the basket,” Ripke stated. “Those were definitely 50-50 calls. I know (Evergreen coach) Brittaney (Cymbolin) probably wasn’t happy with those, and if they would’ve gone the other way I probably wouldn’t have been happy with them either.
“That’s a real tough call, but we wanted to attack the basket and at the time we got the benefit of those calls.”
VanOstrand got Evergreen back to 39-38 with a putback and a top of the key triple with 3:14 left.
One more score from an offensive rebound, this one from Keirsten Culler, was the biggest of the night for the Panthers as it gave Delta another three point lead with 2:47 to go.
“We changed up our offensive formation,” Ripke said of the play that led to Culler’s hoop. “I probably should’ve done that a long time ago, but she found herself open on the block and got a huge bucket for us.”
Nicole Brand netted 2 of 2 from the foul line 33 seconds later to again bring the Vikes to 41-40, but Evergreen never scored again.
Brooklyn Wymer could only net 1 of 4 from the line, but Weber hit a pair with 1:13 left to give Delta a two posssesion lead.
Keifer and Bowser each had good looks from outside the arc but couldn’t find the bottom of the net before Delta added 2 of 4 from the stripe for the final margin.
Neither team shot it well as Delta was 13 of 42 while Evergreen hit just 12 of 44.
The biggest difference was the 13-6 Panther advantage on the glass in the second quarter.
Brooklyn Wymer’s 12 points and Weber’s 11 led the Panthers.
VanOstrand had 12 for Evergreen.
Reach Joe Blystone at email@example.com