Hilltop and Edgerton battled for 32 minutes, but the Cadets ended up on top Feb. 4 to spoil Homecoming for the Bulldogs.
Hilltop’s 46-44 win moved them to 15-1 and extended its winning streak to 11. Cadet Quinn Smith led all scorers with 18 points, while Dustin Miller led the Bulldogs (9-8) with 17 points.
The Cadets built up an 11-point lead in the first half, but Edgerton battled back to take the lead in the fourth quarter. The Cadets retook the lead, but Edgerton tied it on a 3-point bomb from Logan Sack with 2:09 left in the game.
“Our kids don’t quit,” coach Matt Ripke said. “That’s a tribute to them and that’s who we are.”
The hot start was nice for Hilltop coach Same Boehnline, but he knew the Bulldogs were not going to lie down.
“We started out great,” Boehnline said. “I knew Edgerton would bounce right back and get the ball inside to (Carter) Knecht.
“We did a tremendous job of defense on them.”
Ripke was proud of the way his team battled and scrapped throughout the night.
“They played their guts out for 32 minutes,” Ripke said. “We didn’t quit.”
It was a battle all the way through. Hilltop jumped out to an 11-2 lead early in the first and extended it to a 22-11 advantage before Edgerton began to whittle the lead with a 5-1 run to close the half.
The Bulldogs got to within two, 25-23, with 5:12 left in the third before Hilltop’s Tim Maneval hit a 3 to stop the run.
“We came out aggressive,” Ripke said.
Edgerton tied the game at 32 with 6:00 left in the game and took the lead on a basket by Carter Knecht with 3:58 remaining. He was hurt on the pay and Logan Sack come on to hit the free throw for a 35-33 Bulldog lead.
“They made adjustments in that press and got some good passes,” Boehnline said. “They took our press and traps away.”
The Cadets found a way to overcome the Bulldog pressure
“(They responded) when their backs were against the wall,” Boehnline said. “We had no turnovers in the fourth quarter, which is unheard of.
The Cadets came back by by connecting on seven free throws and were able to hold on. The Bulldogs last basket was uncontested as time expired.
“Hilltop is a quality team, they are well coached,” Ripke said.
Some defensive lapses hurt Edgerton as did giving the Cadets so many free throw attempts. Hilltop was 12-of-19 from the line, while Edgerton only made 5 of 8 attempts.
“We made some big shots too,” Ripke said. “It’s tough when we were putting them on the line and they didn’t have to run their offense.
“Transition defense hurt us tonight. They had a lot of second chance opportunities.”
The Cadets played determined basketball and had to overcome some physical ailments as well.
“Ryan (Booker) and Steve (Riley) were sick all week and they are still not 100 percent,” Boehnline said. “You know they played with all their heart and soul tonight.”
The Cadets multiple free throw attempts have been a common theme for them this year as they average in 20s in free throw attempts.
“Playing at Edgerton you know it’s going to be physical. Our guys didn’t back down, they took it to them and that’ why they had so many free throw attempts.
“We had some mental mistakes, but we got the steals and the rebounds we needed.”
Edgerton won the JV game, 36-33, winning with a 7-1 run in the final two minutes.
Sarah Roth was crowned Homecoming Queen. The King was Connor Landis. They were crowned by last year’s king and queen, Alex Michael and Natalie Landel, respectively.
Hilltop (15-1) 46 – Tyler Suboski 2 1-2 5, Andrew Denton 1 0-0 2, Steven Riley 3 1 1-2 10, Quinn Smith 6 6-9 18, Ryan Brooker 2 1-2 5, Tim Maneval 0 1 3-4 6, Austin Schaffner 0 0-0 0. Totals 14 2 12-19 46.
Edgerton (9-8) 44 – Jake Sibenaler 3 0-0 6, Drew Hug 0, Logan Sack 0 1 1-1 4, Braydon Cape 1 0-0 2, Carter Knecht 6 3-5 15, Dustin Miller 5 2 1-2 17. Totals 15 3 5-8 44.
James Pruitt may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org