EVART — Evart’s putbacks broke Farwell’s backs Monday night.

The Wildcats had numerous putbacks from offensive rebounds and that factor alone proved critical in the Wildcats’ 66-36 non-league victory over Farwell in the season opener for both teams.

Preston Boyd scored 18 points while Jarek VanOrder netted 13 and Jesse Lang added 12 for the Wildcats, who also brought down 43 rebounds including 13 from Lang and 10 from VanOrder.

It was a successful coaching debut for new Evart skipper Kris Morgan.

“I thought the second half went much better than the first half,” Morgan said. “The first half, we were kind of scraping it out and going back to our old ways, taking the ball to the hole and trying to create things by ourselves.”

VanOrder drove for a basket to give his team an early 10-3 lead. Evart led 15-10 after the first quarter. Lang had six points in the second quarter including two with 11 seconds left to give his team a 34-22 halftime lead.

“We definitely have to defensive rebound,” said Farwell coach Erik Schunk. “They had a lot of putbacks. We stopped their offense for the most part. We forced them into shots they didn’t want to take. They’d miss but would get the ball back in layup position because we didn’t box out.”

Greg Saupe put in a triple for Farwell early in the third to make it 36-26. Boyd scored inside moments later for a 40-25 lead. Midway in the quarter, Boyd and VanOrder had back-to-back putbacks for a 44-27 lead. Boyd scored off his own steal with seven seconds left in the quarter for a 49-29 advantage.

Boyd scored seven more points in the fourth to give Evart a 17-7 scoring advantage in the final eight minutes.

“The second half, we talked about being patient and creating shots for others instead of trying to create our own shots,” Morgan said. “It was a total team effort. Everybody on the team played and contributed.”

“Overall, rebounds was huge for us,” said Lang. “We definitely controlled the boards at both ends.”

Lang, who played varsity quarterback on Evart’s football team, said his role has changed for this year’s Wildcat squad.

“I’m a senior, I will do anything to win. I want to win each game, stay on top of our conference and I want a district win,” Lang said.

He’s confident that he’s improved in all phases of his game and Lang said he’s interested in helping out the Wildcats wherever possible to get the job done.

“We struggled a little bit (against Farwell) because we’re just putting in a new offense,” Lang said.

Kris Morgan, who had been the freshman coach, took over the coaching post four weeks before the first practice after Matt Alexander left to take a teaching job in Clare. Lang said the team has been able to adjust to the coaching transition.

“Coach Morgan has been in the program and has always been close to us,” Lang said. “He knows us pretty well. It was a good transition to get used to.”

The season continues at home with Coleman next Monday.

“We need to look at our offense and if we perfect it, we can put in a lot of points this year,” Lang said, adding that the keys to victory in each game would be “rebounds, defense and perfecting our offense and being patient.”