HAMLER — WANTED! Evergreen point guard Evan Lumbrezer and his band of thieves. Charged with pilfering passes and pick-pocketing opponents off the dribble.
On a night when a pre-game Hall of Fame ceremony at PH shortened the warm-up time to 15 minutes rather than 20, it was Lumbrezer who gave a Hall of Fame performance, stealing the show with 27 points, six rebounds and six of his team’s 13 steals in a 44-34 Viking win.
“Any time you come to Henry County and get a win, it’s usually not pretty but it’s a good win,” expressed Viking coach Jerry Keifer. “That’s exactly what it was tonight. It was a gritty hard-fought game on both sides.
“Evan Lumbrezer was fantastic, brilliant, whatever adjective you want to use, he was.”
After Nash Meyer’s foul line jumper gave PH an early 4-2 lead, RJ Shunck put the Vikes up 5-4 with a fade away and Lumbrezer took over for the rest of the first.
The lanky senior went coast-to-coast off a rebound for a score, went to the rim on a steal then scored on a drive with 6.7 seconds left to give the Vikings an 11-4 lead.
However, the Patriots retaliated with a 9-0 run of their own, capped by Meyer’s triple with 3:55 left in the half for a 13-12 advantage.
Shunck put the Vikes back on top with a bucket off a lob, then Eli Keifer fed Lumbrezer off a Lumbrezer theft to triple the Evergreen lead.
Landon Johnson’s long triple from the head of the key at the first half horn knotted things at 16-all, and Meyer’s split at the line put Patrick Henry up 17-16 six seconds into the third.
Ethan Loeffler’s basket regained an Evergreen lead, and again Lumbrezer went the distance off the glass, then went on a stop and go, ankle-breaking move for a bucket to make it 22-17.
Johnson again hit from long range to bring the Patriots even at 24-24 with 2:07 to go but Drew Gillen hit 1-2 at the stripe to put Evergreen ahead for good.
Lumbrezer canned a triple in the mug of a Patriot defender at the third quarter horn and after Johnson again tripled to bring the Patriots within a point, the Vikings went on a 14-2 run thanks to a rash of thievery.
Tyson Woodring’s steal led to a Lumbrrezer layup.
Loeffler’s block of a long jumper resulted in a Keifer left-handed floater.
Two more picks by Lumbrezer went for scores off Keifer assists and Shunck scored off another Woodring heist.
Brock Hudik’s last of his four steals led to yet another Viking hoop by Lumbrezer, giving Evergreen a 42-29 lead with three minutes left.
“We got on a turnover converted to a layup run of 10 or 12 and that was basically the difference in the night,” coach Keifer said.
“The other four kids on the floor fed off of what Evan was doing and got their own steals that we converted into layups and turned what was a close game into a double figures game.”
Johnson hit two buckets back-to-back but Keifer’s 2-2 from the line drove in the final nail.
For the game, Evergreen used those easy baskets off 19 Patriot turnovers to shoot 59 percent from the field compared to 13-40 for Patrick Henry.
Lumbrezer’s 27 came on 13-18 from the floor and he added three assists to go with his aforementioned steal and rebound total.
Johnson had 16 for Patrick Henry, now 9-5.
The Vikings (6-7) travel to Wauseon Friday.