Schimpa nets 34 as Eddies top Sturgis

Published 11:33 am Friday, December 22, 2023

STURGIS — Steve Wright isn’t worried about his Edwardsburg boys’ basketball team being able to score enough points.

The Eddies proved that to be true Thursday in a 68-51 Wolverine Conference win at Sturgis.

However, it’s on the defensive end of the court and on the boards where Wright says the Eddies need to assert themselves to become a dominant team.

Edwardsburg, 4-3 overall and 4-1 in the conference, will devote practice time over the Holiday Break to shoring up some of those areas.

“We’re getting better offensively. Tonight, we struggled early with some of our rotations, but the guys are getting better at looking for another. We have to find some balance there, but it all starts on the defensive end. The effort is there and we are making progress as we move forward,” Wright said.

Edwardsburg was led in scoring by Brody Schimpa who continues to flourish in scoring and rebounding, along with his overall leadership.

Schimpa, the Eddies’ 6-foot-4 junior, finished the night with a double-double, including a game-high 34 points to go with 10 rebounds. He also added three four steals and dished out five assists.

“With only three seniors on the team this season I knew I had to step up and be a leader too,” said Schimpa, who spent the offseason shooting over 500 jump shots per day and working on his agility.

“I feel good about this team. We’ve all been playing together for a while. We just need to translate that over to the court. We have to continue improving our ball movement and communication.”

Senior Annon Billingsley chipped in with 12 points, while junior Zeke Pegura added 11 points and five rebounds for Edwardsburg.

Senior Reed Rosenkranz also had five rebounds for the Eddies.

The Eddies were without the services of 6-6 junior center Matt Anders, who sat out the contest with minor ankle sprain.

Edwardsburg connected on 27 field-goal attempts from the floor, including a total of seven three-point field goals, and made 9-of-10 free-throw tries.

Sturgis, now 0-6 overall and 0-5 in the league, was led in the scoring column by senior postplayer Grady Miller with 19 points and junior Carson Eicher ended added 16.

The Trojans were paced in rebounding by Miller with seven. Sophomore Gaven Lewis pulled down six boards.

“From an offensive standpoint, we’re working on our spacing and ball movement from side to side, getting ball reversals, driving the ball, taking the ball off the dribble and getting it into the paint for easy shots,” said Sturgis head coach Keith Kurowski.

The 51 points scored by Sturgis is a season high.

“Our defense must improve and we just give up way too many rebounds. We didn’t do a very good job on their guy (Schimpa). He’s a super shooter and we talked about picking him up once he got off the bus. We just lost track of him on the floor and were too late on rotations and didn’t switch up or communicate enough. Good players make you pay and he had a terrific night against us tonight,” Kurowski said.”There just aren’t many weaknesses with Edwardsburg at both ends of the floor.”

Schimpa scored 19 of his points in the first half for Edwardsburg.

The Eddies jumped out to a quick early 9-2 advantage in the first quarter. Edwardsburg got several easy layups, including a pair off Sturgis turnovers in building themselves a 15-8 lead entering the second quarter.

Schimpa poured in 13 second-quarter points for the Eddies, who also drained a trio of three pointers in the period to build a comfortable 39-20 halftime lead.

Sturgis found more success during the second half by scoring 31 points. The Trojans were able to whittle its deficit down to 15 points on two occasions during the third stanza. Edwardsburg, however, responded to outscore the Trojans 20-16 and increase its lead to 59-36 entering the final eight minutes.

Sturgis was able to connect on a trio of triples in the fourth quarter, but could never get the deficit below 15 points the rest of the way.