Times Sports Editor
ELLETSVILLE -- The Edgewood Mustangs are finding that playing with the mantle of a being ranked number one virtually guarantees that they will get the best each of their opponents has on a given evening.
With a two-point and a five-point win already under their belt, the Mustangs were able to withstand a furious fourth quarter rally to hold off WIC foe Northview on Friday, 48-44.
Class 3A's top-ranked team led by double-digits and had held the Knights to 31 percent shooting through three quarters before Northview rallied to get within one point with four minutes left in the game. But Edgewood's Butler University-bound, Garrett Butcher hit five-of-six free throws down the stretch to clinch the win.
"I'm proud of the kids, they fought and played hard," commented Northview coach Mitch Lancaster. "Our kids showed a lot of toughness tonight and they found a way to get back in it."
The Northview girls accomplished their comeback in the evening's opening contest, rallying from a nine-point deficit early in the final quarter for a 49-46 conference victory.
Coming off four losses in five games, the conference victory proved that much more important for the team's confidence.
"I think (this win) is huge," said coach Chad Smith. "Coming off the Terre Haute North (loss) we had hit bottom I think."
Both boys' teams came in unbeaten at 4-0 on the young season, but early on it was Edgewood that was able to exert themselves for an early lead.
Northview struggled to get its shots to fall when challenged by the Edgewood senior on the inside and the Knights couldn't find the range on their perimeter shot.
The Mustangs got out to a 14-7 lead after one quarter and held a 26-17 lead at the break before Northview began to come out of its' offensive shell.
Senior marksmen, Tommy Weakley pushed the lead to 29-17 to open the second half with a 3-pointer for Edgewood but Clint Reynolds answered with a bomb for the Knights to keep the score under double-digits.
Butcher would add a free throw and two of his six fieldgoals in the third quarter to push the Edgewood advantage back to 36-26 after a hoop from Northview senior Caleb Whitman had given the Knights some momentum heading into the fourth quarter.
The final quarter saw Northview start feeding the ball to Coltharp in the paint for an opening score and two more free throws to get the Knights within 38-30.
Edgewood turned the ball over at midcourt on the next possession and Jered Timm followed with a 3- pointer to narrow the lead to 38-33.
As Edgewood brought the ball into the front court, Timm was able to come up with a steal and raced to the hoop with Butcher in closely in tow. As Timm laid the ball up, Butcher slapped the backboard hard, the ball came out of the cylinder, but the soon-to-be Bulldog was called for a technical for slapping the backboard.
The Knights argued for goaltending as well to no avail, but sent Reynolds to the line for the technical free throws.
He would miss both though the Knights got a driving score from Austin Akers on the possession to narrow the lead to 38-35.
The Mustangs ball control issues continued on their next possession, turning the ball over on a traveling violation and Akers made them pay again with a bucket and the lead was down to 38-37.
While all eyes were on what Butcher might accomplish the next time down the court, it was junior Ryan Baugh who hit the night's biggest shot, draining a 3-pointer to push the lead back to four with 3:20 remaining.
The Knights had their chances in the final minutes, getting back to 42-39 on two charity tosses by Akers, who had a team-high 14 points. The Mustangs were called for a five-second call, but the Knights turned the ball over on a lob attempt to the post.
Butcher then took over to hit his free throws down the stretch and not even a 3-pointer from Akers could overcome the final margin.
Afterwards, Lancaster commented on his team's defense of the Mustangs' top scoring threats, Weakley and Butcher.
"Weakley has hurt us bad before, so we tried to put some bigger, physical defenders on him," said Lancaster in his 17th year of coaching. As for Butcher, "We tried to get a chest on him. We knew as physical as Edgewood plays that we would be able to get away with some things. Offense was just a real struggle for us the first three quarters."
The Mustangs' defense had much to do with that led by Butcher's presence in the post.
The senior had 19 points, a game-high, and added 12 rebounds, also a high water mark.
The Knights got 10 rebounds from the 6'3 Coltharp, along with 10 points despite being defended by Butcher. Whitman added 12 points for Northview.
The loss drops the Knights to 4-1 overall, 2-1 in the WIC while Edgewood is now 5-0 and 1-0 in the WIC.
The Knights face Avon at home tonight with the Mustangs hosting Mooresville.
The win for the Northview girls was about as important as any one victory can be coming off what might have been a demoralizing 55-22 loss to Terre Haute North.
For much of three quarters, the Knights were still plagued by turnover problems before they finally began putting it all together midway through the third period.
Stormi Raines hit a 3-pointer and came up with a steal and two free throws to spark her team. The Mustangs answered a 7-2 Northview run with a 5-0 rush of their own heading into the fourth period.
Trailing 44-35, the Knights came to life on back-to-back scores from Spring Raines and Shelby Colson hauled down a rebound where she was fouled and hit two free throws. Suddenly the Knights were within 46-44 with 2:08 left.
Spring Raines then found Tara Crooks open in the paint to tie the score at 46-all and at the other end, Raines stole the ball with 1:07 left.
On the offensive end, Erica Lee found Colson underneath and the lay-in gave the Knights a 48-46 lead.
Lauren Kalb missed a long attempt that rimmed in-and-out for the Mustangs and Colson grabbed the board, one of five on the night. Spring Raines was fouled and hit one-of-two free throws to clinch the win.
"Everyone contributed to this win," said Smith afterwards. "We need to take this momentum and build on it. We have some big games after the break."
Spring Raines had 15 points and six boards while sister Stormi added 13. Lauren Webster knocked down a pair of first half 3-pointers for the Knights who improve to 4-5 overall and 2-1 in the WIC. The Knights will host Greencastle on Monday evening.
At Edgewood H.S.
N.Lancaster 0-4 0-0 0, Timm 2-8 0-0 5, Akers 5-13 2-2 14, Reynolds 1-3 0-2 3, Coltharp 4-9 2-2 10, Whitman 5-7 0-0 12. Totals: 23-44 4-6 44.
Thornton 1-1 0-0 3, Weakley 2-7 3-4 8, Baugh 3-4 0-0 7, Butcher 6-14 7-10 19, Collier 2-2 3-4 7, Garner 2-3 0-0 4, Walton 0-0 0-0 0. Totals: 16-31 13-18 48.
3-point fieldgoals -- Nv 6-18 (Whitman 2-3, Akers 2-7, Timm 1-2, Reynolds 1-3, N.Lancaster 0-3, Ew 3-7 (Weakley 1-4, Baugh 1-1, Thornton 1-1, Butcher 0-1). Total Rebounds -- Nv 22 (Coltharp 10), Ew 21 (Butcher 12). Total Fouls -- Nv 11, Ew 11. Turnovers -- Nv 11, Ew 10.
Webster 2-2 0-0 6, Kimball 1-4 0-0 2, Birkey 0-1 0-0 0, St.Raines 3-7 3-4 13, Crooks 1-3 1-2 3, Sp.Raines 4-11 5-9 15, Colson 2-4 2-2 6, Lee 0-0 0-0 0, Phillips 0-0 0-0 0. Totals: 15-35 11-17 49.
Kalb 3-9 0-0 8, Ridge 4-7 1-2 9, Brown 0-4 0-0 0, Cage 3-7 0-0 6, McNeely 4-10 2-6 10, Luther 2-5 4-4 8, Sims 2-4 1-2 5, Miller 0-0 0-0 0. Totals: 18-46 8-14 46.
3-point fieldgoals -- Nv 6-13 (Sp.Raines 2-6, Webster 2-2, St.Raines 2-5), Ew 2-8 (Kalb 2-5, Luther 0-2, Cage 0-1). Total Rebounds -- Nv 28 (Sp.Raines 6, Colson 5), Ew 23 (McNeely 4, Brown 4). Total Fouls -- Nv 13, Ew 15. Fouled out -- Ew (Ridge). Turnovers -- Nv 22, Ew 15.