Undefeated Edwardsburg advances to finals; Niles eliminated by Bulldogs

Published 7:20 am Thursday, March 3, 2022

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EDWARDSBURG — It was a tale of two outcomes for the Edwardsburg and Niles girls basketball teams.

In Division 2 girls basketball district semifinal play Wednesday at Edwardsburg, the host Eddies rolled to a 64-14 victory over Three Rivers, while the Vikings’ season ended following a 48-31 loss Vicksburg.

The Eddies (21-0) advance to face Vicksburg at 7 p.m. Friday in the championship at Edwardsburg High School.

Ella Castelucci had 19 points and four steals, while Katie Schaible stuffed the stat sheet with 16 points, seven rebounds, seven steals and four assists. Macey Laubach added eight points, six steals and four assists.

Gabby Charvat led Three Rivers with six.

Like it has all season, the Edwardsburg press defense was too much for Three Rivers to handle. The Eddies jumped out to a 27-1 lead to start the game and never looked back.

“I think we were up about 5-0 when [the run] started and they were trying to sit out and hold the ball,” said Edwardsburg Coach Jon Pobuda. “We were fortunate enough to be able to knock down shots right away, and kind of took them out of that a little bit. They still held a little bit, but we were able to generate some steals on the full court and just kind of kept it going.”

The Eddies look forward to their matchup with the Bulldogs, whom they defeated twice this season.

“We just gotta be focused on doing what we do and just doing it well,” Pobuda said. “We just have to do things the right way and do things our way, the way we’ve been doing all year.”

In the second game, Niles (9-13) allowed a 16-0 run in the first quarter to put itself in a 16-2 hole it could not dig out of.

The Vikings were led by their trio of seniors in Kamryn Patterson, Amara Palmer and Natalie Lucero.

Patterson and Palmer led the team with nine points each, with Palmer notching a near triple-double in her final game by adding 10 rebounds, 10 steals and two assists. Lucero finished with five points and two assists before fouling out in the fourth.

Maddison Diekman tallied 15 points for Vicksburg to lead all scorers.

“We had a very tough time scoring offensively,” said Niles Coach Jessica Johnson. “Initially, I thought that we had a good start. We just couldn’t get them in the basket. We had some easy looks at layups that just didn’t go down for us, and then once we slowed down, it was even harder for us. Vicksburg is a young team. They’re good, very talented and they play well together.”

Vicksburg’s lead fluctuated between 10 and 16 points for most of the game.

A Patterson 3-pointer and pair of free throws made it a 38-31 game early in the fourth before the Bulldogs ended the game on a 10-0 run. The score was 29-19 at halftime.

The Vikings will return the bulk of their roster next year, but will have to replace the production Patterson, Palmer and Lucero bring to the table. While the loss stings, Johnson is proud of her team and appreciates her players’ effort this season.

“We had our high and our lows, but they’re just a great team,” she said. “They get along, they’re fun and I enjoy being around them. I have either coached or watched the three seniors play since they were third graders, so I think this one hurts a little more than usual. I’m really gonna miss them. They’ve been playing for me for a long time.”