Evergreen was able to come back from one big first half deficit to capture a 61-55 NWOAL win on the road against Liberty Center, but couldn’t repeat the process on Saturday as the Vikes dropped a 45-42 decision to state-ranked Pettisville.
Friday night Liberty Center came out chucking from long distance and Cj Spradlin and Jarrett Krugh had a couple to go in early to counter Nate Brighton’s five points, helping the Tigers go up 8-5.
Spradlin threw one in from 27 feet out at the first quarter horn to extend the Tigers’ lead to 16-12.
That lead continued to grow as Krugh hit another triple and Austin Like’s putback gave Liberty a 30-17 lead with just over two minutes left in the first half.
That’s when the Vikings’ comeback began.
Viking coach Jerry Keifer rolled the dice and brought point guard Josh Dowling, who was saddled fouls 55 seconds into the contest, back into the game. He provided an instant spark with a long triple to cut the lead to 10.
That deficit stayed at 32-22 at the half after Like and Bryce Hudik traded hoops in the final minute, before the Vikings made a big run starting the second half.
Brighton on a post move and Dowling on a drive ignited a 10-2 run.
Brighton added a triple and Mason Loeffler capped the burst with a slam after Hudik’s block, board and upcourt dish to get Evergreen within 34-32.
Chandler Lumbrezer’s three-ball with 40 seconds left in the third kept the Vikes within a deuce heading into the fourth.
Brighton’s score inside from Lumbrezer tied the game early in the fourth and Loeffler’s spin move-and-one put Evergreen ahead 45-44 with 5:25 to go.
Liberty Center took the lead back as Carter Burdue scored on an offensive rebound that turned into a three-point play to go up 48-45 with 4:06 left but Lumbrezer and Hudik teamed up to get Evergreen back on top.
A Viking miss gave LC possession, but Lumbrezer picked the pass upcourt and fed Hudik for a layup and then Hudik nailed a turnaround jumper to give the Vikes a 49-48 lead.
Burdue put LC up once more on a pass inside with 2:48 to go but Hudik gave Evergreen the lead for good from long range 13 seconds later.
Spradlin’s 10 points led the Tigers but after his early success from behind the arc, he did not score in the second half.
Loeffler led the Vikings with 20, 14 of which came in the second half. Hudik had 17, nine of them in the fourth quarter, while Brighton added 13.
The Vikings had a 40-23 advantage on the boards against the physical Tigers.
The win kept Evergreen in a first place tie in the NWOAL with Wauseon and Archbold at 2-0.
Against state ranked Pettisville, however, the Vikings started 0 for 10 from the floor, including five missed looks inside early and went down 10-0 after one as Evergreen had no answer inside for Graeme Jacoby who score six first quarter points.
Brighton finally got Evergreen on the board 45 seconds into the second quarter but Sam Rychner’s putback blew the Blackbird lead to 16-2 and Jacoby kept it at 14 at 20-6 with 3:30 left in the half when he scored inside.
However, Evergreen got a spark when Jack Etue hit back-to-back triples to cap a 9-0 Viking run to get them within 20-15 before Jacoby scored in the last minute to end the first half.
It was Loeffler getting hot in the third with four field goals to get the Vikes within 28-27 with 2:52 left and when Hudik drained a triple from the right wing, Evergreen had come all the way back to take a 30-28 lead.
Canidate Vickery’s basket tied the game heading into the fourth but Hudik, Loeffller and Loeffler again hit to give Evergreen a 36-31 lead.
But then Justin Rupp, who hadn’t scored all night, hit a three-ball, then 3 of 3 from the line when he was fouled shooting a triple to give Pettisville the lead back at 37-36.
Dowling’s stop and go move and a long range shot from Loeffler regained a Viking lead but Vickery hit inside, then Rupp scored on a floater, and finally Vickery on an off-balance shot from the side of the key to give Pettisville the lead for good with 1:49 left at 43-42.
Loeffler hit a wing jumper with 1:25 to go, but was called for a push off before the pull up jumper to keep the Blackbirds on top.
Rupp canned a pair from the line with 40 seconds left and after a Viking miscue, had a chance to ice the game with 20 seconds to go.
He missed the front end of the one-and-one but Evergreen couldn’t get a good look from a game tying shot before the buzzer.
Jacoby’s 13 led Pettisville while Rupp hit all 10 of his in the last 5:25.
Loeffler scored all 15 of his in the second half. Hudik added 10.
Petisville is now 13-1 on the season, while Evergreen fell to 6-7.
Reach Joe Blystone at email@example.com