ASHTABULA TOWNSHIP —
Perhaps no moment singled Kalil’s return, and welcome to Edgewood, than with in the final seconds of the Warriors game at Jefferson on Dec. 10.
Kalil made a layup then sunk a free throw with 1.7 seconds remaining to give Edgewood a 1-point victory over its Ashtabula County rival.
“It was definitely a settling in moment (for me),” he said. “The fans are really supportive and the team is definitely supportive of me. I think if I wasn’t already settled in that was my settling in moment.
“It got my feet wet and ready to go.”
For Bowler, it was obviously a thrilling moment.
“It was, it was,” he said. “To make that shot, then make that foul shot with everybody screaming and yelling that was big. That was huge.
“I think he’s almost where he should be. Defensively, he needs to keep working harder, but physically, I think he’s there.”
“If I’m not there, I’m about 95 percent there,” Kalil said.
If Kalil isn’t physically 100 percent yet, opposing teams should be concerned when he gets there.
Through six games, he’s averaging 18.6 points, 8 rebounds and 3.2 assists a game, while shooting 50.7 percent from the field.
Physical abilities aside, much of his success can be attributed to something that has nothing to do with basketball...
“Eli has fantastic support,” Bowler said. “He really has a very good support system. His parents and friends are great. His parents really are outstanding.”
So much so, that the son of David and Andrea Kalil said his parents might be more excited about his success than he is.
“They might be more excited than I was,” he said with a chuckle. “They were ecstatic.”
Never ones to miss games, Kalil said the surgery and sitting out process was just as tough on them as it was on him.
“It was really tough for them, my mom’s my biggest fan and my dad’s my biggest basketball fan, too,” he said. “They’re both great. It was tough for them, they’re at every basketball game, they never miss one. My dad works 24-7 and he takes off and trades shifts with everybody to try and see my games. They do a great job and always support me.
“It was really tough for them and it was really tough for me.”
Now, healthy and back on the court, Kalil is just tough on the Warriors’ opponents.
Peluso is a sports writer for the Star Beacon. Reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org.