After a number of close losses with players sidelined during the first half of the season, and badly in need of a win, Evergreen got a daily double, clamping down defensively beating Delta 63-28 Friday, then Pettisville 45-31 on Saturday. Both games were at Evergreen.
The Vikes roared out to an 18-7 first quarter lead against the Panthers.
Evan Lumbrezer hit a pair of pull-up jumpers and scored on a steal, Eli Keifer hit two from long range, then RJ Shunck and Ethan Loeffler scored three times from inside.
Bryce Gillen kept the Panthers somewhat in contact with six of the seven Delta points.
That lead was still 11 at 24-13 after Gillen’s radar-range triple at the 4:33 mark of the second when the Vikings got a big shot of energy from sophomore Drew Gillen.
Gillen blocked a Panther shot, split two Panthers chasing in down and scored on a breakaway then stuck back two Viking misses to boost the Vikes to a 32-16 halftime advantage.
“We decided we were going to rotate a little more.” explained Viking coach Jerry Keifer. “We felt we (were) a little slow late in games and the rotation gave us more energy espcially in our bigs in RJ, Ethan and Drew. They all rebounded well and defended well. They had nine blocks between the three of them.”
Keifer, Lumbrezer and Shunck all tripled in an 18-4 third period that expanded the Vikings lead to 50-20.
Landon Vance’s turnaround jumper gave Evergreen their biggest margin at 60-25 with 3:12 left.
Lumbrezer had 17 points, six steals and five assists to lead Evergreen.
Shunck had 16 along with six blocked shots and Keifer chipped in with 11 and five assists.
The Vikings shot 27-43 from the field (63%) and used a trapping defense to create 15 Delta turnovers.
“I think we got a couple steals off of it,” said Keifer. “But in all it made us move a little faster than we have moved defensively in a bit. It was something different that worked out pretty well. The kids caught on pretty well. We tried to pressure them and make them move a little quicker and I think we accomplished that.”
Vikings thwart Birds
The next night, the Blackbirds 6’9” aircraft carrier Cayden Jacoby scored three times inside to give the Blackbirds an 8-5 first quarter lead.
Joe Ripke hit a pair from outside the arc and another from just inside the three-point line to bump the Blackbird lead to 16-11 and Jacoby’s putback gave Pettisville their biggest lead (18-11) with 3:53 left in the half.
From that point, with the Vikings racing all over the court, Pettisville scored just 13 points and had only three more field goals in the next 20 minutes.
Again it was Gillen providing a spark with a foul line jumper then Tyson Woodring with a steal and score.
Lumbrezer’s steal and score on a feed from Keifer at the first half buzzer brought the Vikes within just 22-19.
Loeffler’s steal and feed to Lumbrezer opened the second half and two Keifer free throws gave Evergreen a 23-22 lead.
Zakkai Kaufmann hit a triple to regain a 25-24 Blackbird margin but little did anyone know, that would be the last Pettisville field goal until the last second of the game.
Loeffler answered Kaufmann’s triple with one of his own from the top of the key to put the Vikes up and after Ripke hit a pair from the line, Shunck buried a bomb from the left side to put the Vikings ahead for good and start an 11-0 run.
Shunck scored again in tight to start the fourth, Keifer nailed another from the deep corner, Woodring scored again off yet another steal and Lumbrezer split the defense out of the spread to make it 39-27.
Jacoby had 12 to lead Pettisville and Ripke had 11, but the Vikings held the pair to just four free throws in the second half.
Shunck led a very balanced Evergreen attack with 12 and three blocks. Lumbrezer had nine along with six steals and seven assists.
Evergreen harassed the Blackbirds into 10 second half turnovers and held Pettisville to nine points in the half.
The Vikings (5-7, 1-1 NWOAL) travel to much-improved Patrick Henry (9-4, 1-1) Friday night.
Pettisville (7-6) plays at Fayette in an important Buckeye Border Conference matchup Friday.