Eddies get regional rout, face Hamilton Thursday

Published 8:28 am Thursday, March 8, 2018

HOPKINS — Edwardsburg staged yet another defensive clinic Tuesday night en route to a lopsided 44-22 Class C girls regional basketball victory over Allegan.

The Eddies did not surrender a single point during the opening eight minutes of play and took a 23-2 lead into the locker room at halftime.

Junior guard Kaitlyn Zarycki once again shouldered the load on offense with a game-high 21 points to lead the Eddies (22-1) into Thursday’s regional championship showdown with Hamilton, a 52-37 winner over Niles in the other semifinal.

“It begins and ends with our defense, and no doubt to give up two points in a half is pretty good defense,” Edwardsburg coach Jon Pobuda said. “We’re just going to continue to do what we do. We got a little sloppy tonight with our zone in our rotations. We’ll watch some film and take care of those little things that weren’t so good tonight and then clean them up and be ready to go on Thursday.”

Zarycki scored eight of her team’s 12 first-quarter points, and once again teamed with senior Alexa Markel at the top of the Eddies’ stifling 2-3 zone defense.

Through the first 3 minutes, 33 seconds of the game, Allegan managed just two floor shots, committed five turnovers and was outrebounded, 7-0, setting the tone for the balance of the contest.

“We knew what to expect, but by the same token, the pressure that they bring is pretty hard to scout,” Allegan coach Josh Hollman said. “It’s one thing to game-plan against it, but when you see the real thing, in person, you have to adapt and overcome. That defense is a monster.”

Allegan scored its lone points of the first half at the 6:34 mark of the second quarter, while Zarycki netted seven additional points of her own.

Senior Delanie Nahikian provided a much-needed offensive spark for Allegan in the third quarter with seven of her team-high 12 points, but sophomore Abbey Krugh and Zarycki combined for nine points to stake Edwardsburg to a 34-9 lead heading into the final eight minutes of the game.

Zarycki converted 10 of her 18 floor shots and drew the praise of both coaches.

“Kaitlyn Zarycki is a special player,” Pobuda said. “You look at other players in our area and she is definitely one of the top players. She does a lot of things for our team and one of those things is getting her teammates involved and freeing them up, just because she commands so much attention.”

“She’s an incredible talent,” Holman said. “She plays hard on both ends, really thinks the game well, and she’s got a shot that she doesn’t always get to show off. She does a little bit of everything and is an extremely tough player.”

Sophomore Claire Bartz chipped in with eight points and a game-high seven rebounds for Edwardsburg.

The Eddies shot 43.5 percent from the field (20 of 46) and outrebounded Allegan by a 33-21 margin. Edwardsburg committed 20 turnovers.

Allegan shot a chilly 30 percent from the field (10 of 30). The Tigers committed 27 turnovers, and Edwardsburg scored a total of 19 points following those miscues.

Thursday’s 7 p.m. showdown with Hamilton (23-1) will mark the first time in school history that the Edwardsburg girls will contend for a regional basketball championship.

The winner advances to the Class B state quarterfinals at 7 p.m. at Marshall March 13.