Wildcats hold off Eddies
VICKSBURG — Three Rivers’ boys’ basketball team dispelled the notion it’s difficult to beat a team three times in the same season.
For three quarters Friday it appeared Edwardsburg would prove that statement to have credence.
Edwardsburg (7-14) gave Three Rivers (14-7) all it could handle before pulling away in the final minute for a 61-57 victory.
Three Rivers advances to today’s championship game at 5 p.m. against Paw Paw, a 67-63 winner over Vicksburg in the other semifinal.
Edwardsburg hustled out to an early 4-1 lead on Three Rivers.
Ke’Von Taylor opened the game with a short jumper and Chase Tarwacki added a layup for the Eddies.
Tirrell Hausmanis hit a free throw for Three Rivers’ first point of the night.
Carson Charvat drained a three-pointer to tie the game briefly at 4-4.
Edwardsburg regained the lead and made it a four-point margin, 8-4, on Taylor’s jumper and Jack Noll’s layup.
Carson Charvat scored down low to bring his team within two, 8-6.
Edwardsburg grabbed an 11-6 lead on Dylan Layher’s triple.
Three Rivers stormed back to take a 15-13 lead into the second quarter though.
“We started the game on a slow note,” said Three Rivers coach Brian Burg. “Coming in we wanted to attack them (Eddies) inside and didn’t do that. Edwardsburg came out attacking the basket and did a nice job of finishing their shots.”
Carson Charvat’s field goal and free throw, Sam Hawkins’ layup and a shot inside and pair of foul shots out of Hausmanis put the Cats up by two.
Edwardsburg would eventually lead Three Rivers by a five-point margin, 23-18 two minutes into the second quarter.
But the Cats eventually rallied to knot the score at 23-23 on Carson Charvat’s layup.
Tarwacki converted an offensive board into two points to put the Eddies back on top by two, 25-23.
Three Rivers responded with sophomore guard Jalen Heivilin scoring on a running floater in the lane to tie the game at 25-25.
Tarwacki added a late field goal to send Edwardsburg into halftime leading Three Rivers 27-25.
“At halftime I talked to the guys about getting inside and looking for the offensive rebound. We started to do that in the second half,” Burg said.
Senior postplayer Eric Johnson (6-foot-4) came off the bench to make another strong contribution in the middle for Three Rivers in the second half.
Johnson responded by scoring eight of his 10 points in the game on putbacks in the second half and he also yanked down a team-high 11 boards.
“Eric had a nice game for us with those putbacks and his rebounding,” Burg said.
Three Rivers fell behind by four, 29-25, to start the third quarter on Tarwacki’s steal and layup.
The Cats would fought back late in the third quarter from a 38-35 deficit to grab a one-point advantage 41-40 entering the fourth quarter.
Ashley Manansala led the Cats on a brief run with a mid-range jumper, Johnson meshed two free throws and scored from underneath the iron moments later to cap the run.
Hausmanis dropped in two free throws to extend the Cats’ lead to three, 43-40.
Layher nailed two foul shots of his own to bring the Eddies back within one, 43-42, with 7:03 left in the game.
Hausmanis scored inside to make it 45-42.
But Tarwacki hit another shot that left the Eddies down by one again, 45-44.
Johnson went to the line and hit a pair of foul shots and Hawkins added a layup and free throw to extend Three Rivers’ lead to 50-44 with 5:12 left.
Tarwacki scored again to bring his ballclub back within four, 50-46.
Johnson scored off a putback to increase his team’s lead to 52-46.
Edwardsburg’s Adam Kozinski nailed a three pointer to bring the Eddies back within three, 52-49 with 3:46 to go.
Carson Charvat hit a free throw for the ‘Cats to put them up 53-49 with 3:22 left.
Edwardsburg’s Taylor scored on a reverse layup to bring the Eddies within two, 53-51 with 2:30 left.
Johnson added yet another putback that put Three Rivers up, 55-51.
Back came the Eddies though to within a point, 55-54 on Layher’s old-fashioned three-point play.
Gavin Charvat drove the length of the floor for a layup and moments later banked in another shot that gave Three Rivers a 59-55 lead with 39 seconds left.
Kozinski added a shot from inside the lane that brought his team within one basket, 59-57.
But the Eddies were forced to foul and Carson Charvat made two straight free throws that sealed up the win.
Carson Charvat finished with 19 points and four rebounds for Three Rivers. Hausmanis chipped in 10 points to go with 12 boards. Hawkins ended the night with seven points and five rebounds. Jalen Heivilin had six points and four rebounds. Gavin Charvat finished with five points and five boards. Manansala had four points.
Edwardsburg was led by Tarwacki with 19 points. Layher added 14 for the Eddies, while A.J. Rosebush had 10, Kozinski eight, Taylor four and Tre Harvey added two.
“It was tough for us having to stop their three big guys Charvat, Hausmanis and Johnson. I don’t even have a guy that comes up to their shoulder,” Edwardsburg coach Steve Wright said.
“Johnson has such a good nose for the basketball. He’s athletic and a force inside. I thought we did everything we could to keep ourselves in the game.”
Three Rivers finished the night 18-of-22 from the free-throw line.
“I thought we did a nice job finishing the game going 13-of-17 from the foul line in the second half and rebounding the ball when we needed it,” Burg said.
Scott Hassinger can be reached at 279-7488 ext. 25 or firstname.lastname@example.org.