Daryl Fox’s coaching philosophy is pretty simple: Hold the opponent under 50 points and let the wins pile up.
That formula worked well again Tuesday night.
Clayton Jenny, Nick Spang and Brian Rusch each hit two free throws in the final minute to lead Edgerton to a 51-48 victory over Evansville in a Rock Valley Conference boys basketball thriller.
The Crimson Tide improved to 7-2 overall and 5-1 in the Rock Valley, remaining tied with for second place with Beloit Turner just one game behind East Troy (6-0).
Edgerton forced Evansville into 19 turnovers and clamped down on senior Sulley Geske, who entered the game third in the conference in scoring at 17.2 points per game.
Geske finished with eight points.
“That’s been our calling card the last couple of seasons,” Fox said of his team’s defense. “We knew Evansville was a very good shooting team coming in, so we had to buckle down and make it tough for them.
“We struggled in the second half a little bit on the offensive end, but give Evansville credit, they forced us to do some things we don’t normally do.”
Evansville (5-4, 3-3) took its largest lead at 9-5 with 13:13 left in the first half, but Edgerton went on a 21-7 run to take a 26-16 lead. Drew Hanson and Rusch hit back-to-back 3-pointers to spark the rally. The Crimson Tide eventually led 26-19 at half.
Edgerton’s lead stayed between six and eight points for most of the second half before Evansville made a late run.
Senior Gavin Mielke, who finished with 11 points for the Blue Devils, cut the lead to 45-43 with 1:45 to play with his second of three 3s. Geske then tied the game at 45-45 with a turnaround jumper with 1:04 left.
Jenny, a junior, hit two free throws with 51 seconds left to give Edgerton the lead for good at 47-45.
Rusch added two more free throws with 10 seconds remaining to push the margin to six at 51-45.
Evansville coach Kendall Buttchen said it was a typical Evansville/Edgerton rivalry game.
“Two close rivals getting after each other in an early January game,” Buttchen said.
“And one thing you can count on with them (Edgerton) is that they’re going to make life miserable for you with their defense, and that was the case again tonight.
“We gave ourselves a chance at the end, but we just had too many turnovers and too many empty possessions.”
Evansville senior Aaron Anderson led all scorers with 15 points before fouling out.
Spang had 11 points to lead Edgerton, while Hanson and Rusch had 10 each.
EDGERTON 51, EVANSVILLE 48
Evansville (48)—Louis 1-0-2; Maag 2-0-4; Geske 3-1-8; Mielke 4-0-11; Anderson 6-1-15; Thompson 2-0-4; Kopecky 1-0-2; Miller 1-0-2. Totals: 20-2-48
Edgerton (51)—Jenny 2-4-8; Hanson 4-0-10; Rusch 3-2-10; Gullickson 3-2-8; Fox 1-0-2; Spang 4-3-11; Coombs 0-2-2. Totals: 17-13-51
Evansville 19 29—48
Edgerton 26 25—51
3-point goals—Evansville 6 (Mielke 3, Anderson 2, Geske), Edgerton 4 (Rusch 2, Hanson 2). Free throws missed—Evansville 1, Edgerton 7. Total fouls—Evansville 17, Edgerton 10. Fouled out—Anderson