Three Rivers took Friday’s rubber match 48-37 against Edwardsburg in the District 45 girls basketball championship from Buchanan. It’s the first district crown for the Wildcats since defeating the Eddies in the 2017 finale. Edwardsburg had eliminated TR in both the 2018 and 2019 district championship games.
“Proud of my girls for how tough we played,” said Three Rivers head coach Jason Bingaman. “Fought back after the Eddies jumped out to a lead but we did not panic. The girls did a nice job of executing adjustments we made during the game and emphasized at halftime.”
Unsurprisingly, Friday’s title bout was the closest of their three meetings with the road team taking both regular season battles. The Eddies led initially, holding a narrow 20-19 halftime advantage. The tide turned in the third quarter, which Three Rivers won 16-4.
Hadley (Miller) asserted herself to get us going offensively in the third quarter and we took care of the basketball which is very important against Edwardsburg,” noted Bingaman. “Alivia (Knapp) hit some big shots during our run, including a big three towards the end of the quarter. We were patient in getting the ball to the paint which is an advantage to us.”
Kali Heilvin led the scoring with 20 points and 13 rebounds. Miller had 14 points, nine rebounds, and seven steals.
“Our anticipation defensively allowed us some extra trips offensively; 16 deflections and 18 steals,” added Bingaman.
Edwardsburg ends the season at 21-2. They had 15 points from Claire Bartz and 14 by Abbey Krugh, who will both graduate along with Amyah Swartz, Kaitlynne Allen, and Alyssah Simmons. Over four seasons, the senior group saw an 85-8 record, four Wolverine Conference titles, and two district titles.
Three Rivers moves to 20-3 and faces Grand Rapids South Christian (13-10) in Tuesday”s 7 p.m. regional semifinal at Otsego. The Sailors won their district final 58-41 over Wayland. The other side of the region has defending champion Hamilton and Harper Creek.
Video by Mat Stutzman
Three Rivers statistics
Kali Heivilin 20 points, 13 rebounds, 3 steals, 2 blockss
Hadley Miller 14 points, 9 rebounds, 4 assists, 7 steals
Alivia Knapp 7 points, 3 rebounds, 1 steal
Natalie Barnes 3 points, 1 assist, 3 steals
Rylie Kelly 3 points, 1 assist, 1 steal
Gabby Charvat 1 point, 3 rebounds, 3 steals
Free Throws: 11-19
Three Pointers: 3
Claire Bartz 15 points
Abbey Krugh 14 points
Macey Laubach 6 points
Averie Markel 2 points
Free Throws: 7-12
Three Pointers: 4