By BOB ETTINGER
For the Star Beacon
ASHTABULA TOWNSHIP —
Connor McLaughlin sets a pretty good example for his Edgewood teammates to follow. And follow they did in an 80-36 victory over visiting Ledgemont on Friday night.
“We were clicking tonight,” Edgewood coach John Bowler said. “Each kid did his own thing. We were concentrating on executing the little things, executing the offense and executing the defense.”
The Warriors (5-1) executed pretty well on all accounts. McLaughlin, who netted a triple-double, led the way.
“I have a lot of great players around me with Anthony Monda, Matt Fitchet, Eli Kalil, Joey Zappitelli, all of the guys, really,” he said. “Everyone asks me how I make such great passes. That many guys cutting to the basket makes my job easier. They know if they cut to the basket, they’re going to get rewarded.”
McLaughlin tallied 15 points, 13 rebounds and 11 assists.
“Connor probably could’ve had 30 assists if we made our baskets,” Bowler said. “He’s an all-around player. He’s really unselfish. He could’ve had 40 points.”
Following McLaughlin’s lead, the Warriors assisted on 24 of their 32 buckets in getting all nine players who got in the game into the scoring column. Mason Lilja had four assists and Monda and Kalil each added three.
“There was a lot of unselfishness,” Bowler said. “Eli, Connor and Joey Zappitelli are very unselfish players. They got everybody involved. Everybody was taking good shots. We may have actually overpassed on a few plays. We’re still working on team chemistry. It’s a work in progress. It’s still early, but it’s going fast.”
Kalil paced the Warriors with 23 points, Zappitelli had 10, Fitchet tallied eight, including a 3-pointer from the top of the key, Monda also netted eight and Lilja added seven.
“Obviously, they’re tough to defend,” Ledgemont coach Greg Fronk said. “That’s why we didn’t stay away from playing a bigger school. The kids get the idea, ‘Yeah, we lost by 40, but there were times we shut them down.’ The benefit is completely ours coming in here whether we win or lose.”
“Eli took excellent shots,” McLaughlin said. “Everyone was moving the ball. Fitchet had a great game and he barely shot the ball. Since the win over NDCL, everyone is gaining trust for each other. Anybody can have a game on any given night.
“Matt is probably one of the better shooters on the team. He has one of the best strokes. I wouldn’t be surprised if Bowler cut him loose.”
Edgewood took 83 shots (32 of 83, 38.6 percent) and had 63 rebounds as a team. Monda followed McLaughlin with 12 boards, Alex Wisnyai added 10, Kalil had eight and Fitchet had seven.
“We were crashing the boards,” Bowler said. “Eli and Connor, who are guards, could both be in double figures every game. You don’t see too many games where all the guys get rebounds. We’re starting to execute better. We’re starting to do the little things. That’s important in the close games.”
“I’d say we gave them so many opportunities, especially early on,” Fronk said. “It’s not like they hit their first shots every time. We’ve got to only allow one shot. If we allow just one shot and make more of ours, it could be a different game. That’s something we need to work on, being stronger at rebounding.”
All nine of the Warriors made significant contributions.
“I didn’t see a lot of drop off,” Bowler said. “We have 10 or 11 kids and there isn’t a lot of drop off. We’re going to need that through the season. We’re going to need all of them, especially come tournament time.”
Ledgemont was just 14 of 59 (23.7 percent) from the field.
“We’ve just got to make more shots, whether we lose by 10 or 30,” Fronk said. “It shouldn’t be that big of a spread because we miss shots. Yes, they were a better team, but we shouldn’t get beat that bad because we didn’t make shots.”
Devin Rupinski led the Redskins with 22 points, 11 rebounds, two steals and two blocks. Steve Conklin had six points and eight rebounds.
Ettinger is a freelance writer from Ashtabula.