Edgerton survives stiff test from Beloit Turner
EDGERTON—The closer-by-committee approach rarely works on the baseball diamond.
On the basketball court, however, Edgerton is playing it to perfection.
Senior forward Adam Converse made two critical fourth-quarter plays and senior guard Brooks Johnson hit three 3-pointers down the stretch as the No. 3 Crimson Tide won their 15th straight game to start the season on Friday night. Their clutch plays down the stretch led to a 62-54 victory over Beloit Turner in a crossover battle between top title contenders in their respective Rock Valley Conference divisions.
“Right now, our guys just know how to close games out,” Edgerton coach Jason Knott said. “We're a second-half team this year and a veteran team, and it shows up at the end of games.”
The Crimson Tide improved to 15-0 overall and 11-0 atop the Rock Valley North. The Trojans lost yet another close crossover tilt and fell to 4-7 in the South.
They certainly gave host Edgerton all it could handle, particularly in a first half where the Trojans outscored the Tide 25-21.
“I can't fault anything our kids did,” Turner coach Ken Watkins said. “They did absolutely everything we had up on the board in pregame and executed our gameplan.
“I was really pleased with the effort.”
After the Trojans dictated the pace in the first half, the Crimson Tide took over in the third.
Johnson opened the half with a 3-pointer before junior post Jake Zeimet went to work on the block. Zeimet took a rough second quarter, in which Turner forward Aaron Bartz scored nine of his 14 points, personally, and he rebounded with 12 of his game-high 18 points in the third.
“He had a huge third quarter,” Knott said. “We challenged him at halftime, and guys know that they don't take it personally when we challenge them.”
Zeimet's big third quarter led to a 42-41 lead for Edgerton heading to the fourth quarter. Once again, Johnson—who scored 17—opened up the stanza with a 3-pointer that sparked an 8-0 run.
Turner would not go away. The Trojans cut their deficit to two at 50-48 and had a chance to tie the game on a fast break, but Anthony Payton's driving layup attempt was swatted away by Converse. Edgerton found Johnson going the other way and he buried another 3.
“I can't say enough about Brooks,” Knott said. “He had a hairline fracture in his finger and he was out for a week until (Thursday night's practice).”
Still, the Trojans clawed back to within 56-53 on a 3-pointer by freshman guard Alec Fruin (team-high 17 points) with one minute left.
When Edgerton missed the front end of a bonus trip to the free-throw line on the next possession, Turner would have been in position to tie the game. Instead, Converse came up big again, grabbing the offensive rebound and scoring on a layup that essentially put the game away with 43 seconds left.
“It just ended up in my lap, and I just picked it up and put it in,” Converse said. “We're still learning how to win, but we're a veteran team that has been there before.”
The Tide's streak will be put to the test again next week. They host Kettle Moraine, the No. 9 team in Division 1, on Tuesday night and East Troy, which is in second place in the RVC North, on Thursday.
Last updated: 11:25 pm Friday, January 31, 2014