Edgerton falls short of McFarland
“We always fight back,” Schmidt said. “We’ve fought back all year. We’ve been down before, and we’ve come back.”
And the Crimson Tide did just that, making for an exciting finish in front of a raucous crowd in its own gym.
But after the Spartans turned back Edgerton’s late rally and pulled out a 56-49 victory to clinch at least a share of the Rock Valley North championship—their first championship since winning the Capitol in 1999—the Crimson Tide will need a pretty big comeback to grab a share of its first title.
Edgerton (12-8, 11-4) must beat third-place Jefferson in its conference finale next Friday night and have East Troy upset McFarland (16-5, 12-3) the same night.
“We’ll bounce back,” said Schmidt, whose team had its eight-game conference winning streak snapped. “But every team, at the start of the year, if you’d say, ‘Hey, you’re going to play for the championship in the second-to-last game,’ I’d take it.
“But they earned it tonight. It was a heck of a game.”
The Spartans seemingly broke open the tight game with a 10-2 run to start the fourth quarter to open up a 49-39 lead. Neither team had led by more than four until then.
McFarland switched into a 1-3-1 matchup zone defense that frustrated the Crimson Tide, which went more than four minutes without a basket before Whitney Oren nailed a three-pointer from the right side with 2:17 remaining to trigger Edgerton’s late surge.
An old-fashioned, three-point play by junior Jennifer Gimmer sliced the Spartans’ advantage to 51-49 with 1:01 to go, but junior point guard Kaitlynn Eversoll made sure McFarland avenged a 52-44 loss to the Crimson Tide earlier this month.
Eversoll, held to 11 points in the teams’ first meeting, hit five of six free throws in the final 37 seconds to finish 12-for-13 on the night and had a game-high 27 points. It was the fifth time this season she has scored more than 25.
“She loves being there. I can’t tell you how many free throws she’s shot over the last seven, eight years,” Spartans coach Mike Eversoll said of his daughter’s foul shooting. “We never leave the gym until she’s 90 percent ... So I know that she can put the ball in the hole when it comes down to crunch time.”
This is a young Edgerton team, with just one senior among its top seven players, one that hadn’t really experienced crunch time like this before. McFarland, meanwhile, had been on the losing end of a similar game last season, falling to Jefferson in double overtime in a winner-take-all conference finale.
“Next year when we’re in this position, it will be a lot better because we’ll have the experience,” said junior Meggie Schmidt, the coach’s daughter, who scored 12 points to lead a balanced attack for the Crimson Tide.
McFARLAND 56, EDGERTON 49
McFarland (56)—Eversoll, 7-12-27; Blaser, 3-0-9; Alsmo, 2-4-8; Ujke, 1-0-2; Walker, 2-0-4; Jermier, 1-0-2; Culver, 1-1-3; Kranz, 0-1-1. Totals: 17-18-56.
Edgerton (49)—Oren, 3-1-7; Schmidt, 5-2-12; Fritz, 3-0-9; Gimmer, 2-5-9; Stettler, 1-0-2; Ferrell, 2-1-7; Walters, 1-1-3. Totals: 17-10-49.
McFarland 11 12 14 19—56
Edgerton 13 11 12 13—49
Three-point goals—McFarland 4 (Blaser 3, Eversoll), Edgerton 5 (Fritz 3, Ferrell 2). Free throws missed—McFarland 4, Edgerton 7. Total fouls—McFarland 15, Edgerton 16. Fouled out—Blaser. JV—Edgerton 45, McFarland 31. Edgerton leading scorers: Kruckenberg 13, Gander 10.
Last updated: 12:47 pm Thursday, December 13, 2012