Call it a building block for Edgewood High School’s boys basketball team.
The Cougars halted a three-game losing streak Friday night by fighting off Talawanda 58-49 in a Southwest Ohio Conference rivalry affair at EHS.
“We like our potential,” Edgewood coach Joe Stewart said. “We’re coming together. We like the direction we’re moving in.”
Tanner Wright’s 26 points, 10 rebounds and three steals powered the Cougars, and Andrew Testas and Drew Reckart chipped in 11 and 10 points, respectively.
Reckart, a sophomore guard, was 4 of 4 from the charity stripe in the last three minutes. His teammates were 4 of 11 at the line in the fourth stanza.
“I’ve kind of been off at the free-throw line, but I’ve been working hard because I need to get back into it,” Reckart said. “I felt good up there. A lot of good thoughts.”
Edgewood led 10-0, 15-2 and 18-5 in the first quarter. Yet the Braves soared back to tie the game three times.
The last deadlock was 39-39 early in the fourth period. Talawanda had numerous chances to move ahead throughout the night, but missed shots and turnovers wouldn’t allow it.
“That’s part of the program’s growth, trying to get over that hump,” said Braves coach Jay Newberry, whose squad slipped to 1-9 overall and 0-5 in the SWOC. “But the kids are still fighting. I’m really proud of them. Now we just need to take that next step.”
Jacob Orona turned in a huge performance for Talawanda, piling up 20 points and 19 rebounds. Jacob Hiler also marked 10 points.
The Braves found their groove in the middle two quarters, but didn’t start or finish well. They had 13 of their 17 turnovers in the first and fourth periods while getting outscored 37-19.
“Our zone was really effective for a while, but you have to give Edgewood some credit,” Newberry said. “They stepped up and knocked down shots when they needed them.”
Seth Browning tossed in eight points for Talawanda, and Zac Brazen buried two 3-balls in the fourth stanza. Newberry believes his Braves can be very competitive most nights in the SWOC … if they come to play.
“We haven’t proven that we’re there yet,” said the THS coach, who has no seniors on his varsity roster. “We’ve got a team that’s filled with youth, and we have to rely on that youth and the growth of that youth.”
Wright scored eight points in the last quarter for the hosts, hitting 4 of 8 foul shots. Reckart drained a big trey early in the stanza.
Andrew McCarty contributed five points, 12 rebounds, three assists and three steals for the Cougars (3-5, 2-1), who only committed nine turnovers. Testas added four steals.
“Talawanda definitely showed up to play. It’s always a fight with them,” Reckart said. “But we weren’t going to give up.
“I think we were good tonight. We’ve definitely got to build on this. We’re at the point where we can make or break our season, so we’ve got to come out strong.”
Stewart said he wasn’t surprised to see the Braves rally after their slow start.
“(Jerry) Tarkanian says the game always comes back to reality,” Stewart said. “At this point, there’s not a lot of difference between us. Talawanda’s kids weren’t going to quit.”
Three of Edgewood’s losses were beatdowns: Miamisburg (76-37), Franklin (91-44) and Reynoldsburg (85-28). Stewart said those games were athletic mismatches, but he believes there’s no reason why his Cougars can’t compete with every remaining opponent on their regular-season schedule.
Both teams play again Saturday night. Edgewood travels to Mount Healthy and Talawanda hosts Taylor.
TALAWANDA (1-9, 0-5): Zac Brazen 2 0 6; Jacob Hiler 4 0 10; Andrew O’Donnel 1 0 2; Jacob Orona 9 2 20; Kelvin Reisenfeld 1 0 3; Seth Browning 3 2 8. Totals: 20-4-49.
EDGEWOOD (3-5, 2-1): Andrew Testas 4 1 11; Drew Reckart 2 4 10; Tanner Wright 10 5 26; Eddie Driskell 1 1 3; Andrew McCarty 2 1 5; Ty Harris 1 1 3. Totals: 20-13-58.
3-pters: T 5 (Brazen 2, Hiler 2, Reisenfeld), E 5 (Testas 2, Reckart 2, Wright)
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