In a game of peaks and valleys, Swanton overcame 13 first half turnovers by shooting 13-17 to take a 12-point lead, then after Evergreen rallied to forge a fourth quarter tie, the Bulldogs got a hero-like effort from an unlikely source to hang on for a 52-44 win Friday in a non-league boys basketball contest.
The Bulldogs are now 2-0 while the Vikings suffered their first loss after two wins.
Swanton took an early 8-5 lead aided by Cole Mitchey’s triple and buckets from Hayden Callicotte and Luc Borojevich, but Walker Lumbrezer got inside twice for scores to give Evergreen a 9-8 advantage before Mitchey scored on a dunk to regain a 10-9 Bulldog margin.
“Cole played fantastic all night,” Bulldog coach Bruce Smith said. “He is very athletic, he’s been playing for three years now and I told him this is what we expect out of a senior.”
Eli Keifer knocked in 3-3 from the foul line after being fouled shooting a triple with 6:11 left in the half to put the Vikes back up 14-12, but the Bulldogs responded hitting three straight buckets, a three-point play from Kayden Davis, a Borojevich triple, and another Borojevich bucket to grab a 20-14 margin.
Keifer’s foul line jumper and Drew Gillen’s putback drew Evergreen back to 22-19, as the Vikings capitalized on a pair of the multitude of aforementioned miscues they forced in the first half.
However at that time, Evergreen began to play giveaway and Swanton scored on their next four shots that included a Callicotte steal and score, another Borojevich triple, Mitchey getting an easy one off a turnover, and Charlie Wood’s tip to balloon a three-point lead to 31-19 and it looked like school was out heading into halftime.
“We thought all the shots we took in the first half were good shots,” Smith said of the Bulldogs white-hot shooting. “If you take good shots your percentage of making them is going to be high. But we did a terrible job of handling the ball and they get after it pretty well. To hold them to 19 in the first half I was pleased.”
However, after shooting 76 percent in the first half, Swanton threw up a goose-egg in the third quarter and Evergreen began to chip away.
Blade Walker stuck a right-wing triple and Keifer followed with six straight, the last three coming off a bomb from the left side to close the gap to 31-28 heading into the last quarter.
Gillen’s steal and score 12 seconds into the fourth brought the Vikings to 31-30, and then scored on yet another putback to bring Evergreen even at 35-35 with 5:40 to go.
That’s when Superman showed up, not in the form of Mitchey or Borojevich, but in senior Drew Smigelski.
Smigelski’s stickback with 5:17 left regained a Bulldog lead, then he and Callicotte hit back-to-back triples from the right corner to give Swanton a 46-37 lead.
“That was big,” Smith said of Smigelski’s shots. “I was thinking about taking him out but he’s a steadying influence. He is always where he is supposed to be. He is capable of hitting those and I’ll tell you we needed every one of those shots.”
Keifer hit the last nine Viking points, including another 3-3 from the line with 55 ticks left to chop the lead to six, and after a Bulldog miss, Evergreen had another shot to get closer.
“He’s a load and a half to guard and hit a lot of tough shots,” Smith said of Keifer’s performance. “He played a great game.”
However, a miss and two Callicotte free throws closed it out.
Mitchey had 16 points and Borojevich 13 to pace Swanton, while Keifer had 26 for Evergreen.
Swanton ended up with 21 turnovers while Evergreen had 17.