The best game of Donovan Cone’s career came at just the right time for the Edgerton Crimson Tide.
Cone scored 13 of his game-high 18 points in the second half and grabbed a critical offensive rebound in the final seconds as Edgerton defeated Evansville 50-46 in a battle of Rock Valley Conference rivals at Edgerton High on Tuesday night.
The Crimson Tide (4-6 overall) improved to 3-2 in league play. The Blue Devils (3-5, 2-3 RVC) have lost four straight.
“This is definitely my favorite game and best game of all time,” said Cone, a senior. “Beating Evansville at home has always been one of my goals.”
Cone completed a three-point play to pull Edgerton within one, and then banked in a runner with 50 seconds left to give Edgerton its second lead of the night, 47-46.
Seth Maag’s potential go-ahead shot for Evansville hit the rim, and Edgerton regained possession with 12.6 seconds left.
Clayton Jenny was fouled and made the first of two free throws. Cone got his hands on the long rebound from the second, and he sank two free throws to deny the Blue Devils a final chance at victory.
“This was his best night,” Edgerton coach Daryl Fox said of Cone. “He was the one—when we were down—he got us back into the game with his aggressiveness, going to the hoop and then getting to the free-throw line.”
Evansville committed eight turnovers in the second half. Edgerton turned four into easy transition layups.
“It was a great high school basketball game,” Evansville co-head coach Ron Grovensteen said. “We had some chances and they had some chances.”
Peyton Townsend had nine points to lead Evansville, which shot 32.7 percent from the field. The Blue Devils’ top two scorers, Zach Mielke (8 points) and Sulley Geske (7 points), were held in check. The pair had been averaging just over 31 points per game entering play Tuesday.
“We switched guys on them all day long and our 1-3-1 zone caused them some trouble,” Fox said.
Jenny, a freshman, finished with 13 points, including a personal five-point run late in the second half as Edgerton whittled the deficit. The Crimson Tide shot 37.5 percent overall.
Geske wasted no time announcing his return to Evansville’s lineup. After missing the last two games with an ankle injury, the sophomore hit a pull-up two on the game’s first possession and added a deep 3-pointer soon after.
The Blue Devils raced to a 12-2 lead and held Edgerton to a pair of Jacob Fox put-backs in the opening seven minutes. But Fox and Jenny hit 3s to power a 12-2 run, and the Crimson Tide finally tied the game when Cone made a pair of free throws with 2:06 until halftime.
“We’ve been having rough starts, but we always seem to come back and put it together,” Cone said. “We kind of like being down. It gives us that nervous energy.”
Nervous energy is better than no energy, and the Tide will be moving on after a morale-boosting win over a conference rival.
Edgerton has two games left in December: at Brodhead on Friday and at Delavan-Darien on Dec. 28. Evansville returns home to face Whitewater on Friday in its final game of 2017.
EDGERTON 50, EVANSVILLE 46
Evansville (46)—Maag 3-0-7, Deming 0-1-1, Updike 2-0-4, Townsend 4-0-9, Geske 3-0-7, Mielke 2-4-8, Wardwell 2-2-6, Bergum 2-0-4. Totals: 18-7-46.
Edgerton (50)—Cone 6-6-18, Jenny 5-1-13, Fox 3-2-9, Zeimet 1-0-3, J. Johnson 1-0-2, A. Johnson 1-0-2, Long 1-1-3. Totals: 18-10-50.
Evansville 26 20—46
Edgerton 24 26—50
3-point goals—Edgerton 4 (Jenny 2, Zeimet 1, Fox 1), Evansville 3 (Maag, Townsend, Geske). Free throws missed—Edgerton 9, Evansville 3. Total fouls—Edgerton 15, Evansville 14.