After forcing 14 second half turnovers in an opening night win over Clay Evergreen went one better, harassing North Central into 15 first half turnovers to race out to a 22-point lead and a 61-41 triumph Tuesday in boys basketball.
The Vikes are now 2-0 on the season.
“15 turnovers is a good thing,” said Todd Woodring, who again coached the Vikings before Jerry Keifer returns for the next Evergreen contest. “That helped us build a big lead, a 20-point lead.”
Tyson Woodring got the Vikings off on a fast start, scoring nine of his 15 points in the opening quarter, five of those the result of steals.
Woodring dished to Ryder Hudik for another score and Drew Gillen scored on a putback to help the Vikings to a 16-9 lead before Mason Emmitt nailed an angle jumper just before the horn for a nine-point spread.
That margin grew to 16 in 70 seconds as Eli Keifer scored twice on Hudik feeds after turnovers and buried a tough left-corner triple to make it 25-9.
Joey Burt was the only offense in the period for North Central, hitting two field goals but the Viking bench more than matched him. Walker Lumbrezer scored off a Woodring feed, Ben Ruetz hit Emmitt cutting to the rim, Jesse Spradlin hit a layup off a Colton Robertson assist before Keifer ended the half meshing a long triple from the top of the key and a 35-13 lead.
“We had a few guys come off the bench and give us quality minutes,” the interim mentor said of the bench play. “They scored some big points for us, made some big plays which was nice to see heading forward.”
That bulge grew even more when Emmitt hit a triple between buckets by Keifer and Lumbrezer for a 44-19 advantage with 2:50 left in the third.
Cohen Meyers hit back-to-back hoops for the Eagles to get the lead under 20 heading into the fourth and North Central rallied on two Ben Pettit baskets and a Johnny Hicks triple to cut the margin to 48-36. The Vikings restored order on a bucket from Gillen and a pair of Blade Walker free throws.
“North Central dug themselves back, they played hard and made adjustments,” expressed Coach Woodring. “I think our guys came out and thought this was a game they already had in the bag and we found it wasn’t. But we responded in the fourth quarter after they cut into it, got a couple more steals and hit some baskets.”
Keifer had 18 points and Woodring 15 in a balanced attack as the Vikings shots 48 percent from the floor to overshadow 14 turnovers.
North Central was 16-47 from the field and committed 20 miscues.
The Vikings host league favorite Swanton Friday night before bringing in Otsego next Tuesday.