By David Stenklyft
January 4, 2019
Weston– In a clash of early season unbeatens, the SPASH Panthers cruised past the host D.C. Everest Evergreens, 75-51 on Friday night.
Two 13-0 runs, one in each half, proved too costly for the hosts and the Panthers won going away.
A one-two punch of scoring by senior Nolan Blair, who led all scorers with 24 points, and 23 from junior Evan Vollendorf, proved to be too much for the Evergreens to handle.
The first run by the Panthers came near the midway point of the first half, with Vollendorf scoring 10 straight to make the lead 24-13 with 8:30 left.
“We just believe in ourselves every day, just practice and we have faith in the guys in the locker room. We need to keep the tradition of this program going,” said Vollendorf. “We know they were a good team, undefeated in conference, we knew we needed to bring our A game and I think we did that.”
Everest made a nice push, matching baskets with the visitors as Brian Halambeck scored four and Zion Turner scored six to pare the lead down to eight at 33-25.
Another quick burst by the Panthers helped push to halftime lead to 39-29, and the hosts probably thought they had more than a fighting chance with the second half coming up.
Vollendorf had 14 at the break and Turner 13.
As the Panthers came out of the break humming, the Evergreens suffered a scoring drought, and at the 10:19 mark the lead was 56-37.
The Panthers dominated during that stretch, playing up tempo, slashing to the hoop, finishing with both hands and grabbing nearly every contested rebound.
“No matter what team we have at SPASH, we have the same goals,” said head coach Jon Krull. “We want to compete every year for a conference title. We are getting a little better each game, but tonight I thought we put together a game that we are capable of. We had a ten point lead at half and I thought we only played well for 16 minutes, so when we started strong in the second half, I was pleased. We made a concerted effort to crowd Zion to keep him out of the lane and we did that.”
Nine consecutive points around the five minute mark sealed the deal for the Panthers.
A disappointed Everest coach Rocky Bouldin summed it up after the game, saying, “This was a real let down for us, the worst of the year. We looked forward to the game as a measuring stick to who we are, just like any conference game. They were a little quicker, shot the ball better than we did. Just a bad night all the way around. But it’s early in the season and we’ll learn from this and we will play better.”
The Panthers also shot 88% at the foul line.
SPASH Scoring: Blair 24, Johnson 10, Beyer 4, Klisch 6, Zwicker 2, Eron 2, Vollendorf 23, James 4
DCE Scoring-Kielman 3. Sivertsen 8, Turner 13, Studemann 7, Halamback 4, Kinderman 2, Ostrowski 14