Eddies come up short, Niles rolls into semifinals

Published 11:32 am Tuesday, February 27, 2024

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EDWARDSBURG —  Defending champion Niles and Lakeshore both advanced to the Division 2 Boys District Basketball Tournament semifinals Monday night.

The Eddies (12-9) fell to Lakeshore (13-9) when a fourth-quarter comeback fell short. The Lancers were up 11 points in the fourth quarter, but had to settle for a 49-46 win in overtime against Edwardsburg to move on to Wednesday’s semifinal matchup against No. 1 seed Benton Harbor at 5:30 p.m.

The Vikings’ scored the game’s first 14 points, including Mike Phillips Jr. scoring the first eight, on its way to a 64-40 victory over Dowagiac. Niles (18-5) advances to Wednesday’s second semifinal against No. 2 seed Berrien Springs. Tipoff is set for 7 p.m.


Lakeshore vs. Edwardsburg

Trailing 33-22 through three quarters, the Eddies scored the first nine points of the fourth quarter to get themselves back into the contest.

Matt Anders, who scored the first four points for Edwardsburg before having to sit down with foul trouble, scored back-to-back baskets in the fourth quarter as Edwardsburg tied the game at 40-40 with 1:30 left in regulation.

Anders would foul out just seven seconds into overtime on an offensive foul.

Lakeshore scored the first five points of the extra session to get the Lancers off to a fast start. Jack Carlisle scores Lakeshore’s first seven points as the Lancers took a 47-42 lead.

Edwardsburg would not go away as Zeke Pegura scored off an offensive rebound and Brody Schimpa scores off a steal to cut the lead to 47-46 with 5.3 seconds remaining.

Following a time out, Alex Toothman got behind the Eddies’ defense and was fouled with three seconds remaining. He made both shots to seal the victory for the Lancers.

“It was a typical Lakeshore-Edwardsburg game,” said Edwardsburg Coach Steve Wright. “Hard fought, low scoring. I thought both teams played really hard. We had a great run in the fourth quarter to tie up the game, and had a shot to win at the end.”

Carlisle led Lakeshore with 17 points, while Cohen Hurdle added 13.

Anders and Will Moore both had 12 points to pace Edwardsburg. Schimpa and Pegura added seven points.

“I am proud of this group for a great season,” Wright said. “They competed hard every day, playing a very difficult schedule. Our program continues to improve and I believe the future is bright for Edwardsburg basketball.”


Niles vs. Dowagiac

Phillips opened the second game of the doubleheader with a pair of 3-points, which sandwiched a 2-point basket as the Vikings raced out to a 21-2 lead on the Chieftains.

Dowagiac (9-14) would make one run at Niles as it scored the next 10 points, but could not maintain that momentum as Niles opened up a 37-14 halftime advantage.

After a 12-0 run by the Vikings, the game was never closer than 18 points.

“Niles started the game on fire,” said Dowagiac Coach Danum Hunt. “When a team is hitting shots and you’re right there defending, it’s going to be a long night. We were prepared to attempt to slow Phillips down. [Brayden] Favors and [Acie] Kirtdoll with the early threes made it difficult for us to stick to that plan. We attempted to adjust but the Vikings were off and running by that time.”

Hunt also said mistakes early in the game helped Niles take control.

“We also shot ourselves in the foot by missing several lay ups early on,” he said. “We came prepared but not enough to stop the onslaught of long shots attempted and made by the Vikings. They’re a good team. [Myles] Busby has done a great job with rebuilding the program. I liked him as a player and now even more as a coach.”

Phillips finished with 21 points to lead all scorers. Niles also got 15 points from Favors and 11 points from Ethan Chambliss. Chambliss also had seven rebounds, while Kirtdoll dished out five assists.

Gianni Villalobos has a double-double to lead the Chieftains as he scored 11 points and grabbed 12 rebounds. He was the lone Dowagiac player to reach double figures. Joshua Winchester-Jones and Isaiah Fitchett both finished with eight points.

“I’ll miss my seniors Villalobos, Winchester-Jones and Wheaton,” Hunt said. “We’re still a young team. I have seven guys returning next season. We’re going to put in the work and we’ll be better next season. The guys are looking forward to spending the time in the gym during the off season.”