Edwardsburg rolls into semifinals

BUCHANAN — First-year Dowagiac coach Jason Turner was hoping his team would end the season on a high note.

Unfortunately, Turner’s team looked like it had nothing left in the tank following a long 2-18 regular season. The result was a 71-15 loss to defending Division 2 district champion Edwardsburg in the opening round of the state tournament at Buchanan High School Monday night.

Dowagiac did not play with the same type of energy that it usually brings despite its overall record, nor did it look like a team that had turned a 40-15 loss to South Haven in mid-January into a 42-27 victory in its regular-season finale.

“We came out flat,” Turner said. “We tried multiple times to find the five who were going to mesh and fight for us. It just wasn’t there. We tried everything to get those girls motivated.”

Edwardsburg showed it was not looking past the Chieftains as the co-Wolverine Conference South Division champions raced out to a 25-2 first-quarter lead.

The Eddies (20-1) shot the ball extremely well from the field against the Chieftains. Edwardsburg was 31-of-60. Even the reserves, who saw plenty of action in the second, third and fourth quarters, were hot from the field.

Edwardsburg senior Claire Bartz, who finished with 12 points, said it is important for the team to be prepared for every opponent despite their record.

“You just come and work hard every day,” she said. “We know where we want to get to.”

Bartz said she did not care which team the Eddies face next. The goal is to win and advance.

“I just want to get there and win,” she said.

While Turner was disappointed with the effort his team gave, he is ready to take the next step in reviving the Chieftain program.

“We had some positive things happen this year,” he said. “We talked about building our program. We are trying to switch things up and get to that next level. You have to buy in this summer. We are going to find out who comes this summer, and who wants to get better.”

Abbey Krugh led Edwardsburg and all scorers with 15 points. Kaitlynne Allen added 11 points, and Macy Laubach with nine.

Dowagiac was led by Haydyn First and Caleigh Wimberly, both of whom scored four points.

Edwardsburg will face Berrien Springs (8-12) in the second semifinal tonight. Tipoff is scheduled for approximately 7 p.m.