Edwardsburg hoopsters split conference games at Vicksburg

Published 2:49 pm Saturday, February 24, 2024

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VICKSBURG — Edwardsburg’s boys basketball team came into Thursday’s Wolverine Conference and regular-season finale at Vicksburg with two things on its mind.

To collect a win and build momentum for next week’s district tournament.

Steve Wright’s Eddies accomplished both goals by handing the host Bulldogs a 59-43 loss.

Edwardsburg finishes third in the league with a 10-4 record and improves to 12-8 overall. Vicksburg ended up fifth at 6-8 and fell to 10-12 overall.

Edwardsburg trailed Vicksburg for a majority of the first quarter. A three-pointer by 6-foot-4 junior Brody Schimpa gave the Eddies their first lead of the night, 18-16, with just under three minutes left in the period.

The Eddies finished the stanza strong by scoring six of the final nine points to build themselves a 24-19 advantage.

It was a lead Edwardsburg would never relinquish.

Schimpa, who scored a game-high 19 points, knocked down two of his trio of three pointers in the second quarter to help the Eddies outscore the Bulldogs 14-7 and extend its advantage to 33-26 entering halftime.

Edwardsburg got scoring contributions during the third quarter from five different players, including a big triple from senior Reed Rosenkranz, while building its lead to 52-37 entering the fourth quarter.

Wright was most pleased with the stingy defensive performance the Eddies put forth in the victory, including allowing the Bulldogs just six points in the final stanza.

Anders, Edwardsburg’s 6-6 junior center, provided 11 points, while fellow classmate Ezekial Pegura chipped in nine, Blaise Crist six and Will Moore five for the Eddies, who made 23 total field-goal attempts, including six triples, and 7-of-12 charity tosses.

Anders also had six rebounds and a pair of blocked shots for the Eddies.

“Matt gives a big threat inside. His positioning is much better. He’s picking his moves better inside and with Brody and other guys on the outside we have more balance and that really helps,” Wright said.

Schimpa chipped in six boards to go with four assists for Edwardsburg.

“A lot of teams key heavily on Brody. He’s done a good job of accepting that if he passes and makes a couple moves and gets it back and maybe he can do something with the ball. All our guys and learning what they need to do now to be successful,” Wright said.

Conor Solarek also had four rebounds and Moore came up with five boards for the Eddies.

Carter Brown was the lone Vicksburg player to score in double digits with 10 points. Jaxon Wilson chipped in with nine for the Bulldogs, while Andrew Gless, Mitchell Byer and Gabriel Ryder all added six points apiece for Vicksburg.

Vicksburg connected 14 field-goal attempts with half of those being from behind the three-point arc. The Bulldogs made 8-of-16 free-throw tries (50 percent).

“Vicksburg has a couple guards who can really light it up. Brown is a very good scorer and we just never felt comfortable. They hit some big shots early and our defense tightened up later on. We were able to stretch the lead out in the second half. I felt our guys played together very well tonight,” Wright said. “At halftime, we just talked with the kids about being more patient offensively and tightening up our defense.”

Edwardsburg now hosts Stevensville-Lakeshore (11-9) at 5:30 p.m. Monday in a district quarterfinals matchup.

“We’re in a very difficult district and we’re going to neede a balanced effort to have a shot on Monday,” Wright added.

Vicksburg head coach Zach Wierenga credited Edwardsburg for playing a solid game.

“Edwardsburg plays exceptional team defense and was able to get us out of what we wanted to do. They were able to speed up the game in the second half,” Wierenga said.


Girls Basketball

A much more experienced Vicksburg squad sailed out to a 19-point lead after the opening eight minutes and never looked back in an eventual 41-28 victory.

Vicksburg, which remained on top of of the league standings at 12-1 and 16-2 overall with one week left in the regular season, led 22-3 after one quarter and took a 28-11 advantage with them into the halftime break.

The closest Edwardsburg could get to Vicksburg during the third quarter was 15 points, 30-15, following a pair of charity tosses by Eddies’ freshman guard Maddie Pobuda.

Vicksburg carried a comfortable 35-19 advantage into the fourth quarter.

The Bulldogs’ full-court pressure and zone defense was a big difference in the outcome in forcing the Eddies into numerous turnovers.

First-year Edwardsburg coach Tracey Bloodworth continues to be proud of the improvement her young Eddies squad is showing as the regular-season moves into its final week.

Edwardsburg’s roster features just two seniors and includes four freshmen, one sophomore and two juniors. Senior Chloe Baker led the Lady Eddies in scoring with seven points, while Mya Eberlein finished with six and Shelby Laubach added five.

Kourtney Zarycki and Pobuda came up with five rebounds each for Edwardsburg, now 12-7 overall and 9-4 in the conference.

“We dug ourselves a huge hole in the first quarter. They made plays, the extra pass and knocked down shots. Vicksburg had exception ball movement and got a lot of wide open looks,” Bloodworth said.

“Once our kids settled in I thought we played hard up until the final buzzer. Give Vicksburg credit for their defense adjusting to what they needed to do in order to stop our offense. I love that our kids don’t quit. A lot of kids would hang their heads, but we play until the very end. The biggest thing we are lacking right now is our communication. Valentina Johnson does a nice job of getting us going and getting people to talk out on the court.”

Vicksburg got 17 points out of Maddison Diekman followed by nine from Makayla Allen, seven by Emma Steele and six out of Kendra Cooley.

“We hang out hats on defense. We’re long and athletic in the zone defense that we play. If teams aren’t hitting three pointers on us we have a pretty good chance to win. I thought we came out strong and we were up 22-3 after the first quarter,” said Vicksburg coach Tim Kirby.

“We expended a lot of energy the last couple games so I think we had tired legs tonight. But when we play defense like we did tonight we are tough to beat. Give Edwardsburg credit. They run their 1-2-1 zone well and it gave us some trouble at times.”