Edwardsburg boys’ pound it inside late to trip up Three Rivers; girls fall to Wildcats
Published 11:33 am Saturday, February 4, 2023
THREE RIVERS — Edwardsburg came into Friday’s basketball games at Three Rivers hoping to maintain their second-place position in the Wolverine Conference standings.
Edwardsburg accomplished that task with a 57-48 win over Three Rivers in the boys’ game, while the Lady Eddies weren’t as fortunate in dropping a 48-39 decision to the Lady Cats.
Edwardsburg’s boys improve to 6-1 in the league and 8-3 overall. Steve Wright’s Eddies are in sole possession of second place behind league-leading Otsego.
Meanwhile, the Lady Eddies fall into a tie for second place with Paw Paw at 6-3 in the conference and are 10-5 overall.
Edwardsburg trailed Three Rivers by four, 43-39, with 5:40 left in the fourth quarter after Wildcats’ sophomore forward Jordan Pisco scored inside.
But the Eddies responded with a 15-0 run that put them in front 52-43 with three minutes left.
Owen Eberlein scored 11 of his 13 points during that crucial surge for the Eddies, including one of his team’s five 3-pointers.
Edwardsburg was led in the scoring column by 6-foot-3 senior Brody Schimpa with 21 points, including three triples. Caleb Layman finished with seven points and sophomore big man Matt Anders ended the night with six points and eight rebounds. Eberlein collected seven boards.
The closest Three Rivers would come in the final three minutes was eight points, 56-48, following a triple by Wildcats’ leading scorer Andrew Brown.
Brown finished as the game’s top scorer with 26 points to go with three assists and six steals. Pisco and Caden Cottingham contributed six points apiece for the Wildcats and Alijah Ballentine and Luis Warmack had three each.
Cottingham added nine boards and Pisco totaled six for Three Rivers, now 2-6 in conference games and 4-9 overall.
“I thought we did a much better job in the second half on the offensive glass and took better care of the basketball,” said Edwardsburg Coach Stephen Wright. “Defensively we had to rotate a lot of guys to guard him (Brown). We felt if we could keep him in the mid 20s in scoring that we’d be ok. Three Rivers’ pressure up top is so tough, but we ran a couple sets in the fourth quarter that got us some looks inside. Finally, we were able to get some easier shots in the paint rather than off the dribble or trying to shoot a three. We made some adjustments in the last five minutes defensively and were able to get some key stops.”
Edwardsburg outrebounded Three Rivers 33-30.
The Eddies finished the game shooting 23-of-48 (48 percent) from the floor and made 6-of-12 free-throw attempts (50 percent).
Edwardsburg had 13 turnovers to 16 for Three Rivers.
Schimpa scored 10 points, including a pair of triples, in the opening stanza to help Edwardsburg build a 19-11 advantage.
The offensive production slowed down a bit in the second period with just 15 total points between the two teams.
Back-to-back buckets in the paint by Anders gave Edwardsburg a 12-point advantage, 26-14, late in the half.
Brown scored the final five points of the half for Three Rivers though to trim his team’s deficit to seven, 26-19, entering halftime.
Cottingham, Luis Warmack, Ballentine and Brown all drained triples in the third quarter helping the Wildcats outscore the Eddies 17-11 in the stanza. Will Moore’s putback for Edwardsburg, however, with 10 seconds left in the period gave the Eddies a 37-36 lead entering the final stanza.
Three Rivers finished 19-of-55 (35 percent) shooting from the floor and a chilly 3-of-10 (30 percent) at the foul stripe.
“Edwardsburg is a very disciplined team that does good things when they need to,” said Three Rivers Coach Brian Burg. “But we had some opportunities and made key mistakes that we shouldn’t be making at this point of the season.”
Three Rivers’ win over Edwardsburg avenged an earlier-season 68-43 loss to Edwardsburg.
Jon Pobuda’s Eddies entered the fourth quarter tied with its hosts 29-29.
Val Johnson’s bucket in the lane off a nice pass from Eddies’ sophomore Maddy Pobuda put Edwardsburg up 37-36 with 2:32 left.
But Three Rivers scored the next eight points to build itself a 44-37 cushion with 53 seconds left.
Averie Markel netted two free throws lessening Edwardsburg’s deficit to five, 44-39. Three Rivers sealed the win, however, with four straight points in the closing seconds from junior Annabelle Gill.
“There were several times during the game where we had numberous turnovers, didn’t always play smart and gave them extra opportunities.” Pobuda said. “Three Rivers capitalized on our mistakes and were the better team tonight. I thought Three Rivers’ pressure really bothered us tonight. We need to take better care of the basketball and execute when we have our chances. Every time we had the momentum tonight we gave it right back to them.”
Three Rivers grabbed an early 6-2 lead to start the contest. But Johnson’s layup late in the first quarter gave Edwardsburg a 9-8 lead.
Allie McGlothlen’s short jumper put Three Rivers up 10-9 entering the second quarter.
Points were difficult to come by for both teams during the next stanza. Three Rivers outscored Edwardsburg 9-8 to take a slight 19-17 advantage into intermission.
An 8-0 run to start the third, including an old-fashioned three-point play from Markel and triple from Mackenzie Schaible put Edwardsburg up 25-19.
Three Rivers scored the next six points to even the contest at 25.
The Lady Cats would take a brief two-point lead on Gabby Carvat’s put back. But Edwardsburg sophomore Kourtney Zarycki scored the last four points of the quarter to even the contest at 29-29 entering the final eight minutes.
Baker led Edwardsburg with 10 points. Caitlin Tighe tossed in eight, Zarycki seven and Markel scored five.
Baker added six rebounds for Edwardsburg.
Charvat topped Three Rivers in scoring with 18 points. McGlothlen finished with 11, Gill eight and Lanie Glass had five points for the Lady Cats, now 5-4 in the league and 9-5 overall.
Three Rivers’ girls head coach Josh Holman was pleased with the win after falling to Edwardsburg earlier in the year.
“We’ve been talking about locking in, being focused for 32 minutes and doing what we need to do to be successful,” said Three Rivers Coach Josh Holman. “I believe this was our closest full game tonight and now we just need to keep moving forward.”
Scott Hassinger is a Leader Publications Contributor.