FOSTORIA — A wise old man once said, “Some days you have to eat some bologna so you can appreciate the steak.”
After a Grade D bologna effort the prior Thursday in a loss to Delta, Evergreen amped up the selection to Grade A steak defensively, forcing 20 turnovers in a 50-48 win at Fostoria Tuesday to raise their record to 4-3.
“We were much better defensively tonight,” Viking coach Jerry Keifer explained. “We were very active and had great communication and created some easy baskets at the other end.”
The Vikings misfired in close six times in the opening quarter but turned a three-point deficit into a one-point lead when Drew Gillen scored on a second-chance hoop, then after being fouled on the play, the lengthy junior rebounded his own miss for another second chance hoop and a 6-5 Viking lead.
That margin expanded to 12-7 when Eli Keifer found Walker Lumbrezer on a back cut and Tyson Woodring buried a corner triple with 46 seconds left.
Machi Johnson’s three-point play before the end of the quarter got the Redmen back to 12-10 but the Vikes clamped down in the second, not allowing a Fostoria point for the first seven minutes.
During that time, the Vikings created total chaos with the Redmen offense, forcing nine turnovers and going on a 10-0 run.
Gillen and Blade Walker each scored on baseline drives, then Woodring, Ben Ruetz and Riley Dunbar each tallied off a trio of Evergreen steals to push the Vikings up 22-10 before settling for a 24-14 advantage at the break.
Fostoria used their superior size inside as Jayceon Tucker got two hoops to help them get back to a four-point deficit at 24-20 with 4:55 left in the third.
Keifer’s middle-of-the-key jumper, Gillen’s drive, Walker’s third-chance hoop and Woodring’s layup boosted the advantage back to 12. But Johnson and Tucker each got to the rim to chop the lead to 32-24 at the horn.
Lumbrezer’s three-point play put Evergreen ahead 35-26 with 4:29 to go but a pair of Johnson buckets — one a triple — got the Redmen closer at 37-31 with 3:33 left.
Ryder Hudik’s steal and dish to Woodring for a three-point play was countered by a technical foul and two more Johnson triples that shaved the margin to 44-41.
However, Hudik hit Woodring with an Aaron Rodgers like strike for a score on an out-of-bounds play, and Keifer knocked down four straight at the line to hold off the Redmen.
Woodring had 14 points and five steals to lead Evergreen. Keifer canned all 12 of his points in the second half, including 10 in the fourth quarter to go with five assists. Gillen added 10 and a game high 16 rebounds.
Johnson’s 20 points led all scorers.
Evergreen had just eight turnovers compared to the large number of aforementioned Fostoria miscues.
The Vikings travel to Northwood Thursday for a game against the Rangers.