PREP BOYS BASKETBALL: Dutchmen defeat DragonsADRIAN — Brett Ford went 4-for-4 from the free-throw line in the final 20 seconds of the second half to cap a huge 29-point performance Tuesday night, helping the Edgerton Flying Dutchmen capture a 72-66 victory over the Adrian Dragons in a Red Rock Conference boys’ basketball game.
By: Lucas Knutson, Worthington Daily Globe
ADRIAN — Brett Ford went 4-for-4 from the free-throw line in the final 20 seconds of the second half to cap a huge 29-point performance Tuesday night, helping the Edgerton Flying Dutchmen capture a 72-66 victory over the Adrian Dragons in a Red Rock Conference boys’ basketball game.
Ford, who scored 19 points in the first half and also dished out four assists, had buried his sixth 3-pointer of the game with two minutes and 54 seconds showing on the clock to give Edgerton the lead for good at 64-62 in a back-and-forth finish.
Austin Mertens (14 points, nine rebounds) and Isaac Heard (16 points, 15 rebounds and four assists) each netted a pair of free throws down the stretch to complement Ford’s foul shots, as the Dutchmen held on and improved to 4-4 overall and 3-2 in the conference.
“This was our first win of 2013, as we started the new year with four straight losses after we were 3-0 in 2012,” Edgerton head coach Doug VanKley said after the game. “So it was certainly nice to get a win, and it didn’t come easy. Adrian played hard and played well, but our guys got some key defensive stops and made a few free throws late.”
Adrian (0-13, 0-6) remains winless, but the young Dragons’ squad held several leads in the second half and appeared to be on the verge of getting into the win column for the first time this season.
“We felt that we had an opportunity to win this game, and we sure came close,” Adrian head coach Dean Schnaible said. “Give Edgerton credit for making a few more plays than us, but we played hard until the end. We gave ourselves a chance to win, and that’s something that we can build from.”
The Dragons’ Brady Lonneman (six rebounds) scored a team-best 20 points, including converting on a key 4-point play with 3:40 remaining to slice a 61-56 deficit to 61-60.
Nick Reyne (15 points, nine rebounds and five assists) then gave Adrian a 62-61 lead with an offensive-rebound basket at the 3:11 mark.
Ford, though, answered with a 3-pointer 17 seconds later to put Edgerton up 64-62, and the Dutchmen combined multiple defensive stops with a perfect 8-for-8 effort at the free-throw line to secure a six-point win.
There were a total of six ties and six lead changes in the second half prior to the final three minutes, and neither team led by more than six points in a closely-played first half, either.
Both teams played a zone defense for the most part, so 3-point attempts and offensive rebounds were to be had on each end of the floor during the initial 18 minutes.
Mertens scored Edgerton’s first six points with a trio of interior baskets before Jesse Berning (nine points, four steals) rifled in a right-wing 3-pointer to give the Dutchmen a 9-3 lead at the 14:39 mark.
Lonneman countered with a pair of putback baskets, while Taylor Recker (18 points, 11 rebounds and four assists) and Reyne dialed in a 3-pointer apiece to help the Dragons stay close early on.
Theron Miller (five points, four steals) then gave Adrian a 17-14 lead with 9:02 remaining by converting back-to-back steals into layups. A 3-point swisher by Lonneman gave the Dragons a 20-15 advantage a minute later.
Ford responded with two straight 3-pointers from the left side and also delivered a breakaway layup off an assist from Jorge Lopez (three points, six assists) to give Edgerton a 23-20 lead with 6:24 to go.
Consecutive treys from Berning and Ford made it 29-24 Dutchmen at the 4:01 mark, and Heard scored twice in the paint — once on a second-effort putback and once on a nifty low-post move — to lift Edgerton to a 35-29 cushion with a minute to play in the half.
Recker closed the first-half scoring with a right-wing 3-pointer, trimming the gap to 35-32 as the teams went to the locker rooms for halftime.
Adrian’s Collin Kemper (eight points) then opened the second-half scoring with a right-wing 3-pointer of his own to pull the Dragons even (at 35), and the seesaw action over the course of the final 18 minutes was underway.
Hoops by Mertens and Lopez gave Edgerton leads of 37-35 and 39-37, while Lonneman later scored two straight buckets off assists from Reyne and Cody Polzine to give Adrian a 43-42 edge.
Lopez fed Mertens for a basket with an over-the-top lob pass before Kemper drilled another long 3-pointer from the right wing, as Adrian led 46-44 with 11:16 remaining.
Heard then put the Dutchmen ahead 48-46 with two straight baskets, but 3-pointers from Recker and Reyne helped the Dragons forge a 54-50 advantage at the 7:47 mark.
Edgerton came back with an 11-2 run to build a 61-56 lead with 4:03 to play. Heard again had two consecutive baskets, while Austin LaFollette sank a free throw and both Berning and Ford connected on a 3-pointer to spark the Dutchmen’s surge.
Lonneman put the brakes on that burst when he buried a 3-pointer from the right corner, was fouled and added the free throw to make it 61-60 — preceding Reyne’s go-ahead basket and Ford’s ensuing 3-pointer in the closing minutes.
Both teams finished the game with nine 3-pointers and combined to go 24-for-32 from the free-throw line (Adrian was 13-for-16 and Edgerton was 11-for-16).
Each team plays again Friday, with Edgerton visiting Fulda and Adrian hosting Westbrook-Walnut Grove.
EDGERTON (4-4, 3-2): Ford 9 5-6 29, LaFollette 0 1-2 1, Berning 3 0-0 9, Lopez 1 1-4 3, Heard 7 2-2 16, Mertens 6 2-2 14. Totals: 26 11-16 72.
ADRIAN (0-13, 0-6): Reyne 4 5-6 15, Kemper 3 0-0 8, Lonneman 7 4-4 20, Recker 6 3-4 18, Miller 2 1-2 5. Totals: 22 13-16 66.
Edgerton 35 37 — 72
Adrian 32 34 — 66
3-Point Goals: Edgerton 9 (Ford 6, Berning 3); Adrian 9 (Recker 3, Reyne 2, Kemper 2, Lonneman 2). Rebounds: Edgerton 35 (Heard 15, Mertens 9); Adrian 42 (Recker 11, Reyne 9, Lonneman 6). Assists: Edgerton 17 (Lopez 6, Ford 4, Heard 4); Adrian 13 (Reyne 5, Recker 4). Steals: Edgerton 14 (Berning 4); Adrian 6 (Miller 4). Blocked Shots: Edgerton 4 (Heard 2); Adrian 6 (Recker 3). Turnovers: Edgerton 10, Adrian 23.