NOVAK: A great week of high school hoops

What a great week last week was of high school basketball to kick off the 2019-20 postseason.

I had the pleasure of covering the Division 2 district tournament at Buchanan that featured four of the six schools we cover.

It was also one of the best districts in the entire state with No. 4-ranked Edwardsburg, the two-time defending champion, Three Rivers, Niles and the host Bucks in the field. The Wildcats, Vikings and Buchanan were all ranked at one point this season.

The hype surrounding the tournament field lived up to its promise. The games, although not always the prettiest contests to watch, were close and thrilling for the most part. It had all the drama one would want and expect when the games were on the line.

What a performance the Wildcats of Three Rivers put on during the tournament. They, by far, had the toughest road to winning their second district title in four years. They had to go through Buchanan and Niles to get a shot at Wolverine Conference rival Edwardsburg in the finals.

The Wildcats struggled to shoot the basketball in all three games. But that did not stop Three Rivers from gutting out wins over the Bucks, Vikings and Eddies. Just because the outside shot were not falling, that did not mean the Three Rivers offense was without teeth.

It just turned to junior Kali Heivilin, who dominated the paint in all three games. Heivilin, who has already committed to playing softball at the University of Alabama, is as tough as they come. No one was able to stop her.

In fact, Heivilin averaged a double-double with 19 points and 13 rebounds in the three games. That, my friends, is as good as you are going to see in this area when it comes to basketball. Not just girls basketball, but basketball as a whole.

I want to wish the Wildcats good luck moving forward in the state tournament. Keep playing like you did in Buchanan, and hopefully, we will see you in the state finals.

I also want to congratulate the Edwardsburg seniors on a great four years. They have won division and conference titles in the Wolverine Conference, to go along with a pair of Division 2 district championships.

They never could get past perennial state powerhouse Hamilton in the regionals, but they did their school and their community proud.

It was treat watching the Eddies play, not only this week, but for the past four years.

Scott Novak is sports editor for Leader Publications. He can be reached at scott.novak@leaderpub.com.

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