Defense drove the victory bus Friday night for Edgerton High’s boys basketball team.
The Crimson Tide limited Evansville to nine points in the first half en route to a 45-33 win in a WIAA Division 3 regional semifinal game.
Fourth-seeded Edgerton (15-8) plays at top-seeded Prairie du Chien (20-3) tonight for the regional championship.
In winning the rubber match against Evansville after the teams split in the regular season, Edgerton started quickly and eventually built a 19-point halftime lead.
The Crimson Tide jumped out to an 8-0 lead and pushed the advantage to double digits at 15-5 on Nick Spang’s basket with 8:18 left in the half.
“We came out and were ready to play right away,” Edgerton coach Daryl Fox said. “Our defense was suffocating, and they missed some shots early on that they normally would hit.
“And for us the first half, we got some good shots because we worked our offense the way we’re supposed to, and also got some second-chance points.”
Evansville, which finished 15-9, went the first six minutes of the game without scoring. The Blue Devils trailed 28-9 at half.
An 11-4 run to start the second half helped Evansville trim its deficit to 12, but the Blue Devils had dug too deep of a hole the first half.
“I’m so proud of those guys in the locker room,” Evansville co-head coach Kendall Buttchen said. “I knew going into the half that they weren’t going to give up, and they didn’t.
“We came out that second half, hit some shots and forced some turnovers.
“Unfortunately, the slow start really hurt us.”
Evansville’s Sulley Geske led all scorers with 15 points, but he didn’t get much support. The Blue Devils played without second-leading scorer Davonte McAlister.
Kyle Wille led Edgerton with 13 points and Spang added 10.
Fox sees a lot of similarities between his team and tonight’s opponent.
“Prairie du Chien is a lot like us,” Fox said. “They’ve got a big guy in the middle like we do with Spang. They’ve got a couple of good shooters like us, and a guard that can get to the basket.
“If we play defense like we did tonight, we’ll be right there.”
EDGERTON 45, EVANSVILLE 33
Evansville (33)—Geske 3-7-15; Louis 1-1-3; France 1-0-2; Anderson 2-0-5; Hill 3-2-8. Totals: 10-10-33
Edgerton (45)—Jenny 1-2-5; Hanson 2-2-7; Rusch 3-0-7; Wille 3-6-13; Spang 3-4-10; P. Fox 1-1-3. Totals: 13-15-45
Evansville 9 24—33
Edgerton 28 17—45
3-point goals—Evansville 3 (Geske 2, Anderson), Edgerton 4 (Jenny, Wille, Rusch, Hanson). Free throws msised—Evansville 5, Edgerton 5. Total fouls—Evansville 19, Edgerton