Quick start leads Edwardsburg to sweep at Three Rivers
Published 10:31 am Saturday, December 9, 2023
THREE RIVERS — Steve Wright knew a quick start was an imperative for his Edwardsburg boys’ basketball team in Friday’s Wolverine Conference game at Three Rivers.
Edwardsburg did not disappoint their head coach as the Eddies built a big early lead and coasted to an eventual 71-37 victory.
Behind a balanced scoring effort and tough defensive pressure, Edwardsburg was able to pick up a second consecutive victory and improved to 2-0 in the league and 2-1 overall.
The loss drops Three Rivers to 1-3 overall and 0-2 in the conference.
Brody Schimpa, the Eddies’ 6-foot-4 junior, poured in a game-high 27 points, including five three-pointers, to go with eight rebounds.
“Brody is one of our taller players. I told him last season that he needed to get more rebounds for us and he agreed. He does a lot of other things for us besides scoring though like rebounding and playing good defense. He’s a gym rat and loves to play,” Wright said.
Meanwhile, junior Ezekial Pegura tossed in 14 points and Matt Anders, Edwardsburg’s 6-6 junior center, finished with 12 points and nine boards.
“Matt has worked hard in the offseason like a lot of our kids. He has a real nice jump shot, is getting better at the free-throw line and with blocking out,” Wright added.
Senior Annon Billingsley chipped in six points, while Joe Stively, Reed Rosenkranz and Will Moore contributed five apiece and Ayden Billingsley added two points for Edwardsburg.
Edwardsburg drained eight triples on the evening and made a total of 22 field-goal attempts. The Eddies finished 12-of-19 from the free-throw line.
Three Rivers was led in scoring by senior Luis Warmack with 12 points and two assists. Junior post players Zander Barth chipped in five points and five rebounds and Max Burg had two points and four boards. Heston Saunders contributed four points. Alijah Balentine added eight points and one rebound. Jace Gray produced two points, two assists and four rebounds for the Wildcats.
Edwardsburg took advantage of several early turnovers by Three Rivers while muscling its way to a commanding 28-5 advantage after the first quarter.
The Eddies maintained their dominance on the interior during the second quarter and outscored its hosts 19-14 to seize a 47-19 cushion by the end of the first half.
“We had a great start to the game. Our guys came out with a lot of energy and we had good balance early. We knew that we needed that with playing on the road on a Friday night. The kids hit some outside shots early and we were able to get the ball inside effectively as well,” Wright said.
“Three Rivers presented us with a tough matchup defensively. They have a couple thick guards. We did a great job of keeping them from getting many second-chance points.”
Three Rivers, a young team with just three seniors on its roster and one struggling to find an identity in the early season, was outscored 22-9 by its guests in the third period. The Eddies took a sizable 69-27 lead into the fourth quarter.
“We’re a young team with very little varsity experience. We prepared well for what Edwardsburg does. It just seemed like we got away from that plan. They are a good ball club that takes advantage of your mistakes,” said Three Rivers coach Brian Burg. “We have to continue to find ways to motivate our kids to go out and be successful while having fun.”
Wright is pleased with how his Eddies are progressing following a season-opening loss to Berrien Springs.
“I think our kids are working extremely hard. It’s a group of very unselfish players and there is a drive to get better each day. They will do whatever it takes to succeed.”
Filling in for head coach Tracy Bloodworth, Edwardsburg High School principal Ryan Markel made a cameo appearance in the coaching box.
The Lady Eddies made Markel’s abrupt promotion an enjoyable one as they cruised to an easy 60-25 league win at Three Rivers.
Edwardsburg improves to 1-0 in the league and 2-0 overall. Three Rivers drops to 1-1 overall and 0-1 in the conference.
A balanced effort both on the offensive and defensive end of the floor was the theme as well for the Lady Eddies.
Edwardsburg sailed out to a 22-5 first-quarter advantage.
Chloe Baker, Edwardsburg’s star senior guard scored nine of her 16 points during the period.
Baker chalked up five more points in the second quarter and teammate Kourtney Zarycki went 4-for-4 at the foul line during that stretch. The Lady Eddies entered halftime with a comfortable 35-9 halftime advantage.
Edwardsburg went on to outscore Three Rivers 25-16 in the final half to secure the victory.
Zarycki and Lainie Dorrow finished with 11 points apiece for Edwardsburg, while Mya Eberlein and Kya Shier added five apiece and Shelby Laubach, Ella Zache and Maddie Pobuda tossed in four apiece.
“I was proud that the girls came out and played hard until the very last possession. Our full-court pressure created some issues for Three Rivers. I thought we did a great job attacking the boards in the first half at both ends of the floor and being aggressive. We have four freshmen blending in with a group of seniors,” Markel said.
Sophomore Dani Glass paced Three Rivers in scoring with 11 points, including three triples. Allie McGlothlen added seven points for the Lady Cats and Jennaya Decker chipped in five.
“Tonight, we were dealing with some injuries, foul trouble and we had some girls playing positions they aren’t familiar with,” said first-year Three Rivers head coach Carley Shoesmith. “Offensively we hurt ourselves with bad passes and an inability to finish shots. Edwardsburg played well. They were aggressive and we couldn’t handle their pressure. We will grow from this game and get better.”