On Saturday night, Edgerton’s gymnasium was as loud as coach Daryl Fox has heard it. And Jacob Fox was responsible for much of the racket.
The senior wingman helped the Crimson Tide earn its first WIAA sectional appearance since 2002, connecting on five 3-point baskets during a 21-point performance in a 61-48 victory over Lodi.
“Being able to come back to that gym for the next 20 or 30 years and see ‘2018’ under ‘Regional Champions’ is really something special to all of us,” said Fox, a team captain.
At 7 p.m. Thursday, the Crimson Tide will try to advance even further in the postseason.
Edgerton (19-5) will take on Platteville (19-5) in a WIAA Division 3 sectional semifinal at Oregon, playing for a spot in Saturday’s 7 p.m. sectional final against East Troy (19-5) or Greendale Martin Luther (21-3) at Middleton.
Fox, despite shooting 40 percent from behind the 3-point arc this season, is quick to point out the importance of defense to Edgerton’s success.
“We have 14 guys on our team who push each other at practice every day and are really buying into (the idea) that defense is our calling card,” the 6-foot, 3-inch Fox said.
A tenacious defense, which allows 51 points per game while using multiple schemes, is a big reason why Edgerton stands two victories away from its first state tournament appearance since 1941.
“Guys can’t get on the court for me if they can’t play defense,” said second-year Edgerton coach Daryl Fox, Jacob’s uncle. “It’s a defense-first philosophy that we have.”
Last year, Edgerton finished with an 11-13 record and fell to Evansville in a regional semifinal. The team’s turnaround this year can be traced to Jacob Fox’s effort to boost the maturity level of his younger teammates.
“He’s taken Clayton Jenny, our freshman point guard, and helped him through a lot. He’s done that without me prompting him to do it,” said Daryl Fox, an Edgerton graduate.
Fox tallied a career-high 29 points in an 80-56 victory at Milton in the season opener and averages 14.8 points per game. These contributions helped the Crimson Tide share second place in the Rock Valley Conference at 14-4.
Jacob Fox has had the unique opportunity to be coached by his uncle, and says the family bonds have helped the team as a whole.
“Others see that I’m there to take the coaching and not go against it. If I’m buying in, I think everyone can see it — which helps our team dynamic,” the forward Fox said.
The Crimson Tide has enjoyed winning streaks of seven and eight games this season, thanks to an offense that averages 61 points per game — 11 more than last season. Fox’s preparation and improved feel for the game have made him a more reliable contributor.
“He knows where he wants to get to on the court, and then how to score from that spot,” Coach Fox said. “He’s not forcing shots like he was earlier in the year.”
This postseason run has created a buzz in the community — and hasn’t gone unnoticed by past Crimson Tide players.
“Edgerton is such a supportive community when it comes to high school athletics. Guys of all ages have been wishing me good luck, which really means a lot coming from them,” Jacob Fox said.
More postseason noise — in the form of two victories, which may include a rematch with Rock Valley Conference champion East Troy on Saturday — would secure a state tournament berth for Edgerton, something that hasn’t occurred since 1941
“Getting to the Kohl Center would be a heck of an end to the senior year,” Fox said.