SWANTON – On Tuesday, February 28th, the #8 seeded Edgerton Bulldogs, who finished the regular season at 12-10, faced the #6 seeded and 14-8, Maumee Valley Country Day (MVCD) Hawks. After a sluggish first half, in which the Bulldogs committed 11 turnovers, they were able to settle down at halftime and take control of the 2nd half to pull away from the Hawks by a final of 63-47.
The Bulldogs had a formidable task at hand as the Hawks feature several young, talented players, including freshman Zeb Jackson who has reportedly already had offers from The University of Toledo and Akron.
MVCD got on the board first, but Edgerton answered at the 7:00 mark when Braydon Cape dropped in a basket. The Hawks capitalized on three Bulldog turnovers to push the lead to 7-2.
Carter Knecht did just that for Edgerton when he converted an offensive rebound to a bucket with 4:20 left in the first quarter. Another turnover by the Bulldogs led to a MVCD score, and prompted a timeout from Bulldog mentor, Matt Ripke. The words of wisdom were useful as they led to a sweet feed from Dustin Miller to Knecht to make the score 9-6, with 3:10 remaining.
The teams traded two baskets each, and after one period MVCD led 13-8. In the quarter the Bulldogs committed 6 turnovers and also suffered an inability to consistently put the ball in the basket.
The Hawks drew first blood once again, but Knecht picked up where he left off dropping in a pair of scores to make the score 15-12, with 6:42 left before intermission. Two MVCD turnovers, and other by Edgerton highlighted the next minute of play. Knecht picked up his 10 point of the half, again off an offensive rebound, to bring the Bulldogs within a single point. MVCD got a basket and a free throw, before Knecht dropped in a baseline jumper to make the score 18-16. Unfortunately for Edgerton, they committed turnover number eight. Matters only got worse when their offensive force headed to the bench as Knecht was whistled for his second foul with 4:30 left before halftime.
The Bulldogs quickly committed turnovers number 9 and 10 on successive possessions, leading to three more points for the Hawks. With 3:40 remaining MVCD lead 21-16.
Cade McClellan, Knecht’s replacement, broke the scoring draught with a score after a nice pass from Miller. He was fouled on the shot, but was unable to convert the free throw. Devin Herman added an offensive board, was fouled, and cashed in both free tosses to cut the MVCD lead to just one point, 21-20, with 3:02 left in the period.
MVCD added another basket in the paint, but that would prove to be their final points of the half. Jake Siebenaler tossed up a circus shot that somehow found its way through the rim. Edgerton took the lead for the first time on the night as Miller drove to the basket giving the Bulldogs a 24-23 advantage as the teams headed to the locker room.
Despite Edgerton’s struggles with turnovers as they suffered 11 miscues on the half, their hot shooting in the second period moved them into the lead. On the other hand, the Hawks began to become impatient on offense taking several ill-advised shots.
The second half started with the Hawks scoring twice to take a 27-24 lead. Siebenaler answered for Edgerton, and Devin Herman added a 3 pointer off an assist from Miller. Herman scored again, then Siebenaler snatched a steal that led to a fast break layup to give the Bulldogs a 31-27 lead prompting MVCD to call for a timeout with 4:10 left in the period.
The Hawks got a quick basket out of the break, but Miller quickly responded for Edgerton. Siebenaler added another basket, then finished another layup and was fouled on the shot. He completed the “and one” to give Edgerton a 40-33 advantage at the 1:20 mark. Miller closed out the quarter by splitting the defense with 7 seconds left and dropped the right hand flip off the glass to put Edgerton up nine, 42-33.
Cape began the final quarter by making a back door cut, and Miller dropped the dime to him on stride for a layup. The Hawks continued to struggle with shooting, and handing the ball over to Edgerton. Trailing by double digits, MVCD was forced to foul. Although Edgerton made only 3 field goals for the quarter, they made the most of their opportunities at the charity stripe going 15-19 in the final quarter to put the game out of reach and pulled away for a 63-47 win.
Following the contest Coach Ripke was very pleased with the shooting of the by his team. “We got high percentage shots within the flow of our offense. We also have struggled making free throws. It was nice to shoot them so well tonight.”
Despite the Bulldogs first half turnover woes, they took better care of the ball in the second half committing just six miscues. Their hot shooting also countered some of the errors in ball handling. Edgerton made 22 of 38 shot attempts for an impressive 58%. The Bulldogs were even more accurate from the foul line knocking down 18 of 26 tries for 70%. They also controlled the boards outrebounding the Hawks 35-21.
The Bulldogs placed four players in double figures with Knecht leading the way scoring 16 points, with 12 of those coming in the first half to keep Edgerton in the game. Siebenaler posted 13 points for the Bulldogs, including nine in the 3rd quarter that played a large part in allowing Edgerton to pull away. Herman and Miller added 11 points each, while Cape added 7. Clayton Flegal and Cade McClellan contributed 3 and 2 points respectively.
With the win Edgerton moves to 13-10 on the season and plays Toledo Christian in the Sectional Final on Friday, March 3, with a trip to Districts at stake.
SCORING BY QUARTER:
Edgerton – 8 16 18 21 – 63
MVCD – l3 10 10 14 – 47
Kent Hutchison may be reached at email@example.com