By RICH KELLY
For the Star Beacon
Teamwork was the order of the night as the Edgewood boys basketball team dispatched Grand Valley, 74-53, while on the road.
The Warriors put five players in double digits in scoring with another just a point short. While the Mustangs also had a trio of players reach double figures, the rest of lineup didn’t provide enough of a threat to make a difference.
Edgewood junior post Matt Fitchet, who netted nine points, had a good outlook as to why the Warriors have improved to 15-6 in this season as they prepare for their season-ending battle at Jefferson on Friday.
“We’re all taking on more responsibility in leadership roles this season,” Fitchet said. “We’re much more of a team now than we have been in the past. We understand each other better, we know the system better and we’re working well as a team in every facet of the game.”
Edgewood coach John Bowler agreed.
“On any given night, this team can have a different high scorer,” Bowler said. “This is a very unselfish group of kids that looks for assists as well as points and plays well defensively, as well. Whether it’s a senior doing the big stuff or a junior, it doesn’t matter.”
The Warriors got off to a fast start, went toe to toe with the Mustangs and then finished strong in the fourth period to pull away.
Connor McLaughlin led the Edgewood attack with 18 points and six assists. Louie Wisnyai scored 12 points, Andrew Konczal added 11 and Joey Zappitelli and Dylan McCaleb each tallied 10.
A key to the win was a distinct size advantage for the Warriors. They dominated the backboards, 46-26, with Fitchet grabbing 12. Included in that total, and a vital difference in the outcome of the game, was that eight of the junior’s boards came off the offensive glass. Edgewood got 18 second chances, leading to 30 hoops for the night. They had 20 assists, with McLaughlin and McCaleb each having six assists and Konczal adding five.
The Mustangs just didn’t have enough size, depth or shooting streaks to stay in the game.
“For some reason, I kind of thought we came out a little flat in the first part of the game,” GV coach Luke Strohm said. “Our shot selection was the greatest. We had wanted to take the ball to the hole right away and attack their big kids inside, but we were too passive. We settled for too many three point shots.”
Those long shots for GV (4-16) weren’t falling.
“When the 3s aren’t falling, you get yourself into a big hole you can’t get out of,” Strohm said. “We knew they would be tough on the boards, too. We didn’t box out as well as we have lately, but I think we’ve really progressed a lot as a team since the beginning of the season. We just didn’t show it tonight.”
Jake Vormelker led the Mustangs with 17 points, Josh Kovats closed out his home career with 14 and Kyle Orgovan ended his home had 10 points, all in the second half.
Kelly is a freelance writer from Jefferson.