Otsego ends Vikings’ season in OT

By Joe Blystone - For the Expositor and Enterprise

Sometimes numbers just don’t add up the right way.

Evergreen forced 16 Otsego turnovers while committing just half that many.

The Vikings outrebounded the Knights and had the same number of field goals and free throws made.

However, the difference in the game was the shot that just wouldn’t stay down for the Vikings and then six straight Otsego free throws in an extra session that gave the Knights a 39-36 win in overtime in a Division III boys basketball sectional at Evergreen Wednesday.

The Vikings ended their season with a 16-7 record.

The Vikes were just off rhythm from the get-go as after scoring two early baskets, Ethan Loeffler picked up two quick fouls and Otsego hit four of five from outside the arc in the first quarter — two each from Ryan Dennis and Ryan Gray — to take a 12-7 lead.

Evergreen clamped down defensively in the second.

Jake Fuller denied and harassed one of Otsego’s twin towers, Joe Dzierwa, holding him without a field goal and only one attempt in the first half.

Dzierwa accounted for 3-4 from the foul stripe in the second but those points were the only times the Knights dented the scoreboard in the period.

Fuller’s layup from Loeffler got Evergreen within a point, then Evan Lumbrezer’s basket on an upcourt feed from Tyson Woodring just before the buzzer got the Vikings up 16-15 at the half.

Lumbrezer found RJ Shunck loose inside to open the third but that turned out to be the only Viking score in the third quarter.

Dennis’ bucket then one from Gray closing the third put the Knights back up 22-18.

Otsego took their biggest lead (26-20) with six minutes left in the game on another Dennis hoop.

The Vikings responded with a 9-0 run on two buckets from Lumbrezer — one on a steal and runout — and a long-range bomb from Eli Keifer from the right side to take a 29-26 lead.

Otsego went back to the three-ball and misfired badly twice, but the rebounds came off with an exit velo compared to a Giancarlo Stanton homerun, and the Knights tracked both misses down in the corners and finally Dennis hit from outside to tie the game with 1:54 left.

After Lumbrezer and Dennis traded hoops, the Vikings’ junior point guard had a chance for a winner with a pull-up jumper from 14 feet.

The shot went halfway down then the net spit it back out to keep the game tied and force overtime.

With the game tied at 35 all with less than 30 seconds left, the Vikings forced little-used sub Zack Canterbury to the foul line.

However the senior, who had taken one shot that was way off line, hit both free throws to give the Knights a two-point lead.

Lumbrezer got to the line with 7.2 left and knocked down the first, but the second was long and Gray hit two more from the line after securing the rebound.

Dennis had 17 points and Gray 10 to lead the Knights. Lumbrezer had 16 for the Vikings.

The 16 wins for this season puts Viking coach Jerry Keifer 17 short of the 400 mark entering next season.


By Joe Blystone

For the Expositor and Enterprise

Reach Joe Blystone at [email protected]

Reach Joe Blystone at [email protected]