By Mike Deak
NAPPANEE – Two years ago, Trent Edwards wasn’t being defended against on the basketball court. He wasn’t making the nightly TV highlights, and arguably, not on a lot of college’s recruiting radars.
That all changed in 2019 and continued into 2020.
Edwards was chosen as the Ink Free News Player of the Year for boys basketball, making a claim on both ends of the court for a NorthWood team that quietly went about its business.
Edwards rolled up some big numbers in his huge senior season, registering per game averages of 15.4 points, 4.3 rebounds, 3.5 assists and 38 offensive rebounds and 54 combined blocks and steals.
Edwards was one of the go-to players for the 18-6 NorthWood team that won its fifth sectional since 2014 and second title with Edwards as a regular.
“Trent had a tremendous senior which overshadowed how good of a basketball player he has been the last four years in our program,” said NorthWood boys basketball head coach Aaron Wolfe. “Trent has a steady temperament but is a “good” competitor. Most see he was our leading scorer but he also lead our team in assists. He will be a player younger players model themselves after for years to come.”
In a whale of a performance in the sectional semis against West Noble, Edwards was perfect in a 7-7 shooting night and hit all four of his free throws to finish with 19 points to go with four assists and three rebounds. During the season, he was 8-9 from the floor in a 17-point effort against Lakeland and had 14 points, six rebounds and five assists while shadowing Charlie Yoder in a showdown against Westview.
The 6-3 senior signed earlier this year to continue his basketball career at Bethel University.
“I’m really proud of our basketball season this year,” Edwards said. “Our team really pulled together and we could’ve been in it for the long run if not for the cancellation. I’m disappointed with the way it ended and that I didn’t get to play much of my last game as a Panther, but overall it was an amazing senior season.”
Edwards also played a pivotal role in the boys soccer program having one of its best seasons in program history. The team finished 13-3-1 and were among the top 10 programs in Class 2-A heading into the state tournament. While NorthWood couldn’t solve another highly-ranked team in West Noble in a first round out of the sectional, Edwards and the Panthers had quite a season.
Edwards didn’t jump off the board in statistics, registering just two goals and six assists on 30 total shots, but was a big presence in the middle of the pitch in slowing opposing offensive attacks. Edwards, though, did have a an assist that lifted the Panthers to a 4-3 win over Concord, and was a key defensive presence in NorthWood’s 1-0 shutout of Goshen, its first win over the RedHawks since 2001. Edwards also played a role in the match’s only goal, setting a diversion on Andre DeFreitas’ free kick that moved the Goshen keeper out of position, allowing the shot to sail unharmed into the netting.
“Trent was an amazing leader for us this past season acting as one of the team captains for NorthWood soccer,” started NorthWood boys soccer head coach Brad Duerksen. “Trent played one of our most important roles as an outside attacking defender. Most teams thought he played the midfield position, but he actually played as a defender. However, he often rolled up the weak side for us, so we could target him with crosses offensively. He was able to use his 6’3” frame to win a lot of the aerial battles for us.
“He also scored one of the best goals of the season from about 25 yards out against Elkhart Memorial,” added Duerksen. “Trent is a very versatile player. When we were chasing a goal, I would often send him forward from his more defensive position in order to try to get that game-tying or game-winning goal.”