Edgewood-Colesburg took game two of the season series with Maquoketa Valley, Feb. 8, in Delhi with a solid 72-47 win that was more competitive than the final score would indicate.
The Vikings improved to 15-6 heading to tournament play, while the Wildcats, in rebuilding mode, finish the regular season 8-12 after starting the season winning seven of their first 10.
“The guys did a pretty good job of coming out and getting things going,” said Ed-Co coach Justin Olind. “We missed a few easy ones early but settled in and played our game.”
Brian Heims, who had six first-quarter points, got the first score of the game, but Ed-Co’s Parker Rochford got loose for three consecutive three-point baskets for the Vikings to stake his team to an 11-4 lead.
Andrew Holz hit a jumper for the Cats, but break out baskets from Ethan Streicher and Keegan Hansel for Ed-Co made it 15-6. Owen Mensen knocked down a three-pointer and Heims scored to make it 15-11 and it was a ballgame.
“We were much better handling their pressure tonight,” said Maquoketa Valley Coach Eric Conner. “We did a better job moving the ball up the floor, and late in the first quarter it was a five-point game.”
Ed-Co pushed the tempo, and an 8-1 run capped by a coast-to-coast drive by Spencer Staner made it 23-12 after one.
A Holtz score and three-pointer from Blake Becker made it 25-17. Scores from Streicher, Rochford and Riley Ashline stretched the Ed-Co lead to 33-19 before Adam Goedken powered for a score for the Wildcats. A 7-2 run to end the quarter sent Ed-Co to the locker room leading 41-23 after a quickly played up-tempo first half.
“We lapsed defensively tonight, and they score in a hurry when you make mistakes,” said Conner. “It’s tough to replicate that tempo in practice.”
When Streicher hit a three-pointer on his third attempt during a single Ed-Co possession to start the second half, the Vikings led by 21. Mensen’s second three of the game made it 44-26, but Ed-Co’s frenetic pace and long-range shooting led to a 63-36 gap after three quarters, with Brayden Stannard’s three-pointer ending the period.
The teams traded baskets the rest of the way, with Maquoketa Valley’s Goedken and Holtz doing most of the scoring for the Wildcats, while Jack Wiskus hit a 3-pointer and Jared Childers scored on a nice drive for the Vikings to end things with a 25-point Ed-Co victory.
Ed-Co shot 52 percent (30-of-58) from the field and 4-of-4 from the free throw line, while Maquoketa Valley shot 36 percent and was 6-of-14 from the line.
“The kids played hard and had good energy,” said Olind. “I like where we’re at heading to tournament play.”
“Obviously, we’re not where we want to be heading to the postseason, but we earned our seed,” said Conner. “We got a good draw with a familiar opponent. Hopefully, the weather cooperates and we can get some time to prepare.”
Ed-Co’s leaders were: scoring — Streicher 24, Rochford 20, Ashline eight, Hansel six, Stannard five, Staner four, Wiskus three, Childers two; rebounds — Hansel and Rochford eight, Streicher five, Ashline four, Wiskus three, Jake Jones two, Quintin Hess, Staner and Zach Knipper one; assists — Rochford seven, Staner five, Streicher and Hess two, Ashline and Wiskus one; steals — Streicher three, Rochford, Hansel and Ashline two, Hess and Staner one; blocks — Ashline three, Rochford two, Hansel one.
Maquoketa Valley’s leaders were: scoring — Heims and Holtz 12, Becker, Goedken and Mensen seven, Mason Lubben two; rebounds — Heims 10, Holtz seven, Becker and Zach Lansing three, Jon Seibert and Goedken two, Lubben, Mensen, AJ Ambundo one; assists — Holtz eight, Becker three, Ambundo one; steals — Holtz two, Lubben, Mensen, Lansing,Isaac Zirtzman and Seibert one; blocks — Holtz one.