But when you have a young team like Edison coach Kyle Hammond does, it’s even more important.
The Chargers played host to the New London Wildcats Friday night in non-conference action that pitted a pair of young teams hungry for a win in the season opener.
Leading by 10 at halftime (36-26), the Chargers were outscored 20-7 in the third quarter as the ‘Cats stormed ahead. However, Edison settled back in and outscored the visitors by six in the final eight minutes of a 58-55 win in Milan.
Early on it Edison (1-0) was unable to get their shots to fall as the Wildcats (0-1)) did a good job of keeping a hand in the shooter’s face and limiting them to just one shot attempt. The Chargers saving grace was the activity they played with defensively, where they employed a lot of pressure from all points on the floor.
“It feels good to get a win this early on after we struggled getting that first one last year,” Hammond said. “We took a lot of lumps last year and we are still a young team this year, so if you can get off to a good start it gives them confidence.
“First you have to credit New London,” he added. “They played hard all gameand the (Grant) Heileman kid had a great game. There were a few times where we pulled away a little bit and they kept playing and found a way to hang in there. I’m proud of our guys for continuing to play and play with the effort that they played with. I thought that there were some jitters early on, but we settled in nicely.”
After struggling hitting its shots in the first quarter, Edison leaned heavy on junior Patrick Amburgy in the second quarter. He scored 15 of the Chargers’ 23 points to open up the 10-point lead.
"Patrick did a good job for us tonight," Hammond said. "He scored 23 for us and without him, we would have had some trouble winning this one.
"He has grown a lot and he's a good basketball player," Hammond added. "I'm excited to watch him keep getting better and to see how good he can be.
New London didn’t go away easily though as it regrouped at the half where it quickly turned a 36-26 halftime deficit into 42-41 lead midway through the third quarter.
“I liked how the kids competed,” first-year New London coach Dane Held said. “You are never OK with losing, but these guys played their butts off and kept fighting to get back in the game. They had a couple of runs there that was tough to overcome, but they never gave up.
“They are good young team and I think we are, too,” he added. “Like I told the guys in the locker room, if we compete like this every game, we will have a pretty good chance to win some games.”
The two teams headed to the final quarter with New London up 46-43 and true to the first three quarters, the team scratched and clawed to have a chance to come out on top.
In the end the Chargers just had too much Amburgy and were tough defensively as Edison sneaked away with the win thanks in large part to a 9-2 edge in three-point field goals.
Both teams return to the court on Saturday as Edison visits Danbury and New London entertains Wellington.
NEW LONDON (0-1)
Jacob Allen 2-2—6, Isaac Popa 4-1—9, Curtis Joppeck 4-1—9, Grant Heileman 8-1—19, Jamil Arnold 5-0—10, Anthony Springfield 1-0—2. TOTALS 24-5—55.
Grant Ott 2-1—7, Connor Romell 1-1—4, Dylan O’Dell 4-0—8, Seth Thompson 0-1—1, Lincoln Meredith 2-0—5, Luke Bissell 1-3—6, Patrick Amburgy 7-5—23, Patrick McManus 1-0—2, Conrad Kluding 1-0—2. TOTALS 19-11—58.
N. London 14 12 20 9 — 55
Edison 13 23 7 15 — 58
3-point FGs: (N) Heilman 2; (E) Amburgey 4, Ott 2, Romell, Meredith, Bissell.
JV: Edison, 38-15