Vikings, Eddies fall in district semifinals

Published 8:36 am Friday, March 1, 2019

DOWAGIAC — The two underdogs made a run at reaching the Division 2 district championship game, but ultimately came up short at Dowagiac Union High School Wednesday night.

Edwardsburg and Niles had the worst records of the six teams in the district, but both turned in a great effort in the semifinals before falling to Paw Paw and Three Rivers respectively.

Paw Paw defeated Edwardsburg 57-48 in the first semifinals Wednesday night, while the Wildcats defeated the Vikings 84-64 in a game that was much closer than the final score indicates.

The Eddies (9-12) were unable to stop Karsen Barnhart in the paint and turned out to be the difference.

Barnhart finished with 19 points and 16 rebounds.

He got plenty of help from Mitchell Mason and Finlay Tate, who combined for 30 points and seven 3-pointers.

Trailing 42-21, Edwardsburg made a huge run at Paw Paw, cutting the lead to 52-48 in the closing stages of the fourth quarter.

Paw Paw made 5-of-6 free throws in the final two minutes to seal the victory.

Zach Strycker led the Eddies with 15 points, while Mac Gaideski and Ben Kubal scored 13 and 12 points respectively.

Niles vs. Three Rivers

It has been a struggle for the Vikings this season, but you could not tell by the effort the team turned in Wednesday night.

Trailing 25-13 after one quarter, the Vikings turned up the defensive pressure and rallied to cut the Three Rivers lead to 38-3y at halftime.

Niles (2-17) grabbed a 40-38 lead early in the third quarter, but after the game was knotted at 41-41, Three Rivers scored 10 unanswered points and pull away to the 20-point victory.

“That’s the way it’s been the last five or six games for us,” said Niles coach Tyler Dendy. “We battled and we were tough. And we showed some resolve. But we just haven’t put four quarters together. I think we got gassed down the stretch. And we had some guys on the bench that this wasn’t a very good match-up tonight for them. They did a good job of leaking out. We couldn’t get back and we couldn’t get matched up. We were tired, and when you’re tired, sometimes the communication goes with that.”

Kendall Chrismon led Niles with 16 points, while Adrian Thom and Jordan Brown both finished with 13 points.

Nate Goins added 12 points.