Last year’s Pettisville girls basketball team was the youngest that coach Jason Waldvogel had during his tenure.
This year they are still very youthful but a year older and wiser.
That experience the Blackbirds gained a season ago was vital as Pettisville held off Edgerton 45-39 Saturday night.
The Blackbirds are now 1-1 in the early season after dropping the opener to Stryker Friday, 47-28.
“I had one senior last year and I have one senior this year,” Waldvogel explained after the game. “Definitely the year’s experience from last year helps. They show more confidence coming from that year. We took some licks last year but they are ready to come and play this year.”
After a back and forth first quarter, sophomore Amanda Grimm gave the Blackbirds the lead for good with a deep triple from the right side with 53 seconds to go in the stanza.
That began a 10-0 Pettisville run that included Ellie Grieser’s steal and score before the end of the first, then a Grieser three-ball from the right corner to open the second.
Leah Beck meshed two free throws to boost the Blackbird lead to 16-8 before Addie Cape ended the flurry with a three-pointer with 5:03 left in the half.
Hollyn Klopfenstein’s stickback and Alli King’s slice to the rim extended the Pettisville margin to 23-14 at the break.
Grace Schroder’s long triple chopped the Blackbird lead to 23-19 with 6:41 on the clock in the third, but Grieser answered with a top of the key triple and Beck scored off the offensive glass to bounce the score to 28-19.
Edgerton made another charge in the third on two straight buckets from Clairre Gerschutz and another on a lob to Schroeder to get within a possession at 31-28, but Pettisville snapped right back with seven straight.
Grimm’s pair from the stripe, Grieser’s third triple of the night and Klopfenstein’s score off a feed from Meleah Plank opened up a 10 point gap heading into the fourth.
“At times we got a little stagnant in the second half,” said Waldvogel. “But when it came down to hitting a big shot we had kids step up and knock down a big three like Ellie did or we got good offensive rebounds and a putback. They stepped up in big situations.”
Edgerton had one last rally as Gerschutz hit from long range and Luisa Rudersdorf canned two free throws to make it 41-37.
With the Blackbirds milking the clock, Plank found Klopfenstein with a back cut score with 3:11 left and Edgerton never hit another field goal as the Bulldogs went one-and-out for most of the second half.
Grieser hit for 19 to lead all scorers while Gerschutz had 13 for Edgerton.
Neither team shot it really well as Pettisville was 15-43 and the Bulldogs were 14-51, but the telling stat was Pettisville’s rebounding margin in the second half at 19-12.
“We talked about that in the locker room at the half,” Waldvogel said. “We were down one of our biggest rebounders in Grace Crawford tonight and everyone else had to step up. We did a good job of that in the second half, especially in the third.”
The Blackbirds had 19 turnovers while Edgerton had 13.