Eddies too much for Vikings in opener

Published 9:32 am Wednesday, March 6, 2019

THREE RIVERS — For the second time this season, Three Rivers standout Hadley Miller outscored the entire Dowagiac girls basketball team.

This time, her school record 42 points eliminated the Chieftains from the Division 2 district tournament.

Miller scored 16 of her 42 points in the opening quarter as the Wildcats defeated Dowagiac 60-33 and will now face Paw Paw (4-16) in tonight’s semifinal at Three Rivers High School.

In the first semifinal Monday night, district favorite Edwardsburg outscored Niles 22-8 in the opening quarter and never looked back in defeating the Vikings 75-33 to advance to tonight’s semifinals against Vicksburg (10-10) at 5 p.m.

Edwardsburg vs. Niles

The Eddies (21-0) came out on fire, shooting 60 percent on the night.

With everything going in that Edwardsburg was tossing up, it was important for Niles to match that offensive production.

The Vikings (11-9) were unable able to do so as the Eddies’ defense kept them from getting into any type of offensive rhythm. Niles finished the night shooting 26 percent from the field.

“They were knocking them down,” said Niles coach Jessica Johnson. “We were turning it over and they were capitalizing on them. What Edwardsburg does really well is they play the pass. Our girls were looking to pass the ball instead of looking at the rim to score. Defensively they play a great game, especially when we don’t have an aggressive enough team like us. I think we were second guessing our shots and after a couple of misses our girls were putting their heads down.”

The Eddies get a lot of credit for their strong offense, which they should, but Edwardsburg also plays outstanding defense.

The full-court pressure can be stifling and against Niles, it forced 19 turnovers.

“I thought we played better defensively in the second half,” said Edwardsburg coach Jon Pobuda. “In the first half, we were out of position a few times. They were able to break our press and get some easy baskets. In the second half, we made it more difficult for them.”

Abbey Krugh led all scorers with 20 points for the Eddies, who also got 18 points from leading scorer Kaitlyn Zarycki. Claire Bartz finished with nine points.

“Offensively, we got going and it wasn’t just one person,” Pobuda said. “It was everybody. And it really started when people were diving on the floor and getting loose balls and just making plays. The girls were feeding off each other. The girls just played and had fun tonight.”

Niles was led by Alycia Patterson’s 10 points. She was the lone Viking to reach double digits. Morgan Warren added five points and Amara Palmer four before leaving in the first half with an injury.

Three Rivers vs. Dowagiac

The Chieftains had no answers for Miller, who scored from just about everywhere on the floor.

She missed just six shots the entire night. She finished with a trio of 3-pointers to go along with four rebounds, eight steals and a pair of assists.

The Wildcats (15-5) outscored Dowagiac 22-8 in the first quarter before the Chieftains seemed to get their feet under them in the second quarter.

Dowagiac made a run at Three Rivers, cutting the lead to 16 points. The Chieftains had multiple possessions in which they could have cut into the lead ever farther, but failed to do so.

“We got off to a slow start, but kind of weathered the storm,” said Dowagiac coach Brent Nate. “We talked about battling for 32 minutes. We cut it to 16 and had three straight possessions in the paint after stops, but we couldn’t to 10, 12 or 15 before half. They came out with a 9-0 run to start the second half and that kind of iced it.”

The Wildcats finished the first half strong and led 54-27 at the intermission.

“Miller is a great player, one of the best players in the area,” Nate said. “We had a hard time stopping her off the dribble and when her jump shot is working like it was tonight, I guess you just have to pick your poison.”

Dowagiac (8-13) was led offensively by senior Amiyah Smith, who finished with 17 points. Allie Conner added six points and Kellyn Daly five.

Despite the loss, Dowagiac showed improvement this season. The eight wins is the most for the Chieftains since 2010 when they went 7-14.