Edgerton needs OT to stay unbeaten at Milton

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Eric Schmoldt
Friday, January 3, 2014

Edgerton hadn’t led in its nonconference rivalry game at Milton since the early minutes of the second quarter on Friday night.

And with the clock ticking down toward the final minute, the Crimson Tide had yet to make a shot from beyond the 3-point arc.

Senior Brooks Johnson ended all of that with one shot.

Johnson buried a wide-open 3 with just over one minute left to help send the Tide and Red Hawks into overtime, where Edgerton capped off a clutch night at the free-throw line with a 65-58 victory. It helped Edgerton, ranked No. 4 in Division 3, remain undefeated at 9-0.

“Late in the fourth we just said to stick together,” Johnson said. “(Assistant coach Michael McCabe) was just saying, ‘Trust yourself and trust your team.’ We did that and a couple of plays were made, and before you know it we had a lead.”

Milton had led every step of the way since the two teams shook off some holiday rust over the opening eight minutes.

Drew and Noah Johnson scored 17 of their combined 29 points in the first half to help build the Red Hawks’ lead, and Milton didn’t back down defensively. Edgerton missed its first 11 3-point attempts and made just 17 field goals in the game.

“I’m really proud of how the guys responded (after the opening minutes),” said Milton coach Zach Groelle, who was without leading scorer Tyler Westrick. “It’s a nonconference rivalry game that comes down to the wire every single year.

“Down the stretch, toward the end there, (we had) a couple mental lapses and a couple turnovers.”

The Tide worked their way to the line down the stretch. A four-point possession thanks to an intentional foul brought them within two points with less than six minutes remaining, and four straight free throws made it 47-47 a minute later.

But they weren’t able to pull back in front until the final 75 seconds.

“Milton-Edgerton, that rivalry, I don’t care who is playing and who is not playing, it’s going to come down to the final minutes,” said Edgerton coach Jason Knott, who was without injured senior Lucas Gregory. “They’re well-coached, and I thought both teams left it out on the floor.

“But we needed a win like this, when our shots weren’t falling.”

Johnson’s 3-pointer gave Edgerton the lead with 1:14 left.

“He got left open on a rotation,” Groelle said. “That was kind of a backbreaker a little bit. It kind of shifted that momentum that final time. I don’t think we ever caught back up after that.”

Milton did snare the lead back on the scoreboard, however, thanks to a pair of freebies by Noah Johnson that made it 51-50.

The Tide called timeout with 11 seconds left and set up a play to feed Breenan Deegan down low. The forward, who scored 11 points, drew a foul and made one free throw to tie the game and send it to overtime.

“Our kids just have that never-say-die mentality, where they just kind of know to remain calm, execute and do our thing,” Knott said.

Edgerton shot just 36 percent from the floor in regulation, but it made 41 trips to the line over the course of the game and cashed in 30 times. The Tide went 10-of-12 from the stripe in overtime.

James Fox and Adam Converse, who combined for six points in the first half, finished with 17 and 16, respectively. Drew Johnson led three Milton players in double figures with 15.

And Brooks Johnson had nine points on just one made field goal—but it was the biggest one of the night.

Last updated: 11:43 pm Friday, January 3, 2014

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