You would have thought that Bill Laimbeer and the Detroit Pistons came to Evergreen Saturday night.
Remember the ole’ “BadBoys” with their hard fouling and thug techniques?
Instead it was really the Edon Bombers with the more than physical play that actually worked for a while.
But the Vikings recovered from a six point deficit with a 65 second 12-point burst in the third quarter, then hit 13 of 16 fourth quarter free throws to shoot down the Bombers 50-43 to reach the .500 mark on the season at 6-6.
“The one positive I can take out of this is we did get tougher,” said veteran Viking coach Jerry Keifer. “We were in the same situation with Bryan Thursday night (a game the Vikings dropped in the final minute 40-37) and didn’t make plays. Tonight we made the plays at both at the offensive end by making free throws and at the defensive end by getting stops.”
It only took 56 seconds into the game when Viking freshman Mason Loeffler was sent to the floor when he sliced through the lane for a layup in which he converted a pair of free throws. That foul started a trend of hockey-like slashes on drives and cross checks on cutters.
Nate Brighton’s three-point play on a drive, Bryce Hudik’s fastbreak bucket and baskets from Teagen Pinkelman and Chandler Lumbrezer helped build an 11-4 lead, but Austin Kiess’ three-point play got the Bombers within 11-7 at the quarter.
Back-to-back hoops from Braden Miller and Kiess knotted the score at 11 before Loeffler’s floater gave Evergreen a two point lead with 5:35 left in the half.
However, that was the last Viking field goal for 5:34 and in spite of repeated trips to the foul line, the Vikings only converted 9 of 19 in the first half.
Edon took advantage of those misses as Miller socred on a stop-and-go drive, then a power move inside to help the Bombers get a four point lead at 22-18. But Josh Dowling brought the Vikes within a point when he scored on a steal and after he was slammed to the floor…he hit the ensuing free throws making it 22-21 at the half.
Edon extended their slim lead to six with Kiess hitting a foul line jumper and a pair from the stipe to go up 27-21 with 4:38 left in the third before the Vikes exploded.
Austin Blanton scored inside on a feed from Hudik at the 4:10 mark, Lumbrezer scored in transition off a turnover, Loeffler hit a triple after another Edon miscue, then added a pair of free throws when the Edon bench earned a technical foul.
Hudik then capped the 12-0 blast when he splashed a three-ball at the 3:05 mark, giving Evergreen a 33-27 lead.
Miller scored six straight points, then his own triple at the 6:13 mark of the fourth regained a 38-35 lead for the Bombers. However, Pinkelman hit four straight from the foul line to regain a 39-38 lead for Evergreen that the Vikings continued to pad from the charity stripe as Phoenix VanOstrand hit a pair and Loeffler and Lumbrezer each knocked down 3 of 4 in the final minutes.
For the game, after the atrocious start at the line, Evergreen went 24 for 38 while Edon was 11 for 18.
Loeffler had 17 points, including 12 in the second half to lead Evergreen.
Miller had 19 for Edon to take game honors.
The Vikings now play tonight at home against Anthony Wayne as well as Friday in an NWOAL contest against Liberty Center before going on the road Saturday to Pettisville.
Reach Joe Blystone at email@example.com