Niles comes up short vs. unbeaten Edgewood
By Steve ruman
Friday’s non-conference game between Edgewood and Niles featured a pair of spurts by the Warriors offense. The first, a 12-0 run in the first quarter, would give the visitors a quick 15-5
advantage. Niles would fight back and actually lead in the contest on two occasions in the second period.
The second run came as the two teams returned to the court following halftime. Edgewood scored the first 14 points of the third quarter, and while Niles made its own furious run at the end, it was never able to get over the hump.
The result was a 63-62 Edgewood victory which lifts the Warriors to 8-0 on the season.
Niles falls to 5-4.
The Red Dragons actually had two shots in the final 40 seconds to pull out a victory. Red Dragons senior sharpshooter Cyler Kane-Johnson — who led all scorers with 27 points — missed contested shots with 40 seconds remaining in the contest, and again as time expired.
“We were maybe looking at something where another player would have gotten that last shot, we knew the defense would be all over Cyler, but at the same time there is no better player who you would rather have take those shots,” Niles coach Doug Foster said. “That was just one heck of a game where both teams laid it all out. Great effort by both teams.”
“That last few minutes, we made six or seven really good defensive stops to put ourselves in a position to win. That’s all you can ask for against a really good opponent, and make no mistake about it, Edgewood is a really good team.”
As has been the case all season long, Edgewood had multiple players score in double-digits. Jacob Zappitelli led the way with 19 points, including five three-pointers in the first half. Sam Jerman scored 13 points, while Aaron Anderson and Ricky Baldwin chipped in with 11 and 10, respectively.
Corbin Foy helped the Niles cause with 10 points.
Jerman had a big first quarter, scoring seven points in the frame to help put Edgewood up 20-14 at the end of the period.
Back-to-back layups by Kane-Johnson and Trent Johnson would give Niles its first lead of the night at 25-23 midway through the second quarter. The two teams would then trade leads five times before Edgewood took a 29-28 advantage at the break.
Zappatelli scored eight points (including a pair of threes) during Edgewood’s 14-0 third period run.
“That was a really good game, lots of high energy by both sides and quite honestly we needed a game like this,” Edgewood coach John Bowler said. “We’ve been involved in mostly lopsided games, so it’s good that we were tested.”
Meanwhile, while Foster wasn’t pleased with the outcome, he was more than satisfied with the effort of this team.
“We’re still learning to play my type of game, which is defense first. We did that for the most part tonight for four quarters. We had sophomores come off the bench and contribute. We never quit. We didn’t win, but we got better tonight against a darn good basketball team.”