With three of the Rock Valley Conference’s top boys basketball teams on their schedule to open the season, the Edgerton Crimson Tide knew they were going to find out quickly whether they belonged on the list of contenders.
If the first two games are any indication, they’ll be in mix.
After opening the season with a road victory over Beloit Turner last week, the Tide hung with McFarland on Tuesday. In the end, though, turnovers and missed free throws gave the Spartans too many extra chances, and they picked up a 57-48 victory at Edgerton High.
Both teams are now 2-1 overall and 1-1 in the RVC.
“Turnovers and offensive rebounds gave them extra opportunities, and in a nine-point game, those add up in a hurry,” Edgerton coach Daryl Fox said. “We haven’t competed with the heavyweights in the last couple years. We know today that we can compete with anyone in our conference. We clean up a couple things that are easy to clean up and we’ll be fine.”
A 15-2 run sandwiching halftime proved to be the difference for the Spartans.
It was 21-21 with just over two minutes left in the first half, and McFarland scored five points heading into the break.
Coming out of it, four different players scored during a 10-2 run to build a 13-point lead with 13:31 left. The Tide suffered from a missed layup, a missed second-chance opportunity and a pair of turnovers during that decisive stretch.
Senior guard Donovan Cone was a catalyst from that point forward for the Tide. He scored all 12 of his points in the final 13 minutes, and his constant defensive pressure of opposing ball-handlers seemed to give his Tide teammates energy.
“He was the spark for us, for sure” Fox said. “He played a great game tonight.”
Edgerton had its chances to get within striking distance. But down nine with less than nine minutes left, it twice missed the front end of a potential one-and-one free-throw situation. The Tide were just 10 of 17 from the line in the second half.
They got within six points twice, including once with three and a half minutes left where they got an open look at a 3-pointer that would have made it a one-possession game. The shot did not go in, and McFarland iced the game away despite some shaky free-throw shooting of its own in the final 90 seconds.
Four Spartans scored at least nine points, led by junior forward Trevon Chislom’s 11. Cone and Jacob Fox finished with a dozen apiece for the Tide, who finish off a gauntlet of an early RVC schedule by playing front-runner East Troy on Thursday.
“Our first three conference games were against the Rock Valley South Conference champion last year, the Rock Valley North co-champion last year and then East Troy, a perennial champion,” Daryl Fox said. “So it’s front-loaded, and we’ve got no time to rest.”
McFARLAND 57, EDGERTON 48
McFarland (57)—Ackerman 1-0-3, Herbst 0-2-2, Wanta 3-1-9, Chislom 5-1-11, Butler 3-3-10, Robinson 5-0-10, Patchin 2-3-7, Toennies 1-2-5. Totals: 20-12-57
Edgerton (48)—Cone 3-6-12, Fox 5-0-12, Zeimet 0-3-3, J. Johnson 1-0-2, A. Johnson 3-0-7, Spang 1-4-6, Long 1-0-2, Jenny 1-2-4. Totals: 15-15-48
McFarland 26 31—57
Edgerton 21 27—48
Three-point goals—M 5 (Wanta 2, Ackerman, Butler, Toennies), E 3 (Fox 2, A. Johnson). Free throws missed—M 8, E 8. Total fouls—M 19, E 19. Fouled out—Fox.