Just before Christmas Ryan Ripke’s Delta Panthers lit up Evergreen by 45 points in a non-league game.
What Brittaney Cymbolin and her Vikings concocted for the league contest Thursday at Delta was a very deliberate style against the get-up-and-go Panthers and Evergreen came close to pulling off a major upset before the Panthers pulled away at the end for a 47-42 win.
The victory kept Delta in a first place tie with Archbold in the NWOAL.
It took nearly three minutes into the first quarter before Savannah VanOstrand’s basket against the press put points on the scoreboard for either team.
That would be it for the Vikings for the next eight minutes, as Evergreen missed five layups during that time, and the Panthers scored the next 12 points.
Brooklyn Green’s fast break hoop, a triple from Braelyn Wymer, a three-point play by Green, a bucket from Abby Freeman off a turnover, and finally another hoop from Green inside capped the burst that carried into the second quarter before VanOstrand’s triple stopped the rally and began a 10-2 Viking run.
Abi Borojevich’s stop-and-go move, a VanOstrand bucket inside and Kelsie Komisarek’s three-ball got Evergreen within 14-12 with 2:16 left in the half before the teams traded baskets the rest of the way, the last by Green with 1.8 seconds left that gave Delta a 20-16 halftime lead.
“I don’t think we really handled what Evergreen was doing that poorly in the first half,” said Panther coach Ryan Ripke of the Vikings’ spread offense. “I think we just said ‘this is what they are doing so now we have to execute better offensively’.
“Obviously we wanted to play fast, and what happened tonight was when they got it into the half court and we got it into the half court, Evergreen dictated the tempo.”
That four point lead held through the third as Maddie Mattimore, who was held scoreless in the first half, knocked in eight third quarter points to help counter two baskets each from Bailie Sutter, Hannah Herr and VanOstrand to keep a 33-29 margin heading into the fourth.
Again the teams traded punches as Mattimore hit a tough left-side bank shot, Sutter scored off a loose ball, Brooklyn Wymer converted a three-point play and Borojevich’s crossover left a Delta defender reaching for air, leaving the Panthers up 38-33.
However, the Panthers had one last run, getting three stops defensively while scoring on three straight possessions that opened up an 11-point lead.
Brooklyn Wymer’s putback, a pair of Freeman free throws and Mattimore’s drive boosted the score to 44-33 with 1:04 left.
Evergreen made a run as Komisarek tripled, and after Freeman hit two more from the line, Herr drilled one from long range to make it 46-39.
Freeman’s split at the line was followed by yet a third Viking three-ball in the last minute from Borojevich for the final tally.
“It was kind of a battle of wills,” explained Ripke. “Obviously by the score they did a good job of dictating the tempo. I thought our girls did a great job late in keeping their composure, knocking down some jumpers when they had to, and then making enough free throws at the end.”
For the game, Freeman’s 14 points led all scorers. Mattimore got all 12 of her points after halftime, while Green got 11 in the first half before going scoreless in the second.
VanOstrand and Borojevich each had 11 for the Vikings.
For the game Evergreen shot 17 for 40, including six from long range.
The Panthers were 16 for 46 from the floor.
Thursday night the Panthers travel to Bryan for a huge NWOAL contest. Evergreen hosts Ottawa Hills Tuesday, Patrick Henry Thursday, and Toledo Woodward Saturday.
Reach Joe Blystone at firstname.lastname@example.org