BELLEVILLE — Standing 6-foot-1 and blessed with a rare combination of power, quickness and pure athleticism, Emmonnie Henderson of Edwardsville has long been in a class by herself as the premier player in the Southwestern Conference.
On Tuesday before a sparse turnout at Belleville East, Henderson put herself in the Edwardsville High School record book -- again.
Henderson became the all-time scorer in Edwardsville girls basketball history and combined with Lauren White, Sydney Bloch and Kortney Dunbar to help the Tigers roll to an easy 71-25 win over Belleville East.
Needing eight points to break the mark of 1,430 set by former Tigers great Kim Jackson in the early 1990s, Henderson scored six points in the opening 4 minutes, 30 seconds then spent the next 11 1/2 minutes on the bench after picking up her second foul.
With Henderson, Bloch and junior Aaliyah Covington all spending much of the first half on the bench, White scored nine of her 12 points as Edwardsville took a 29-16 lead.
Henderson then broke the record with 41 seconds left in the third quarter when she made the first of two free throws. The game was stopped as Henderson was recognized by teammates, coaches and fans.
Henderson, a Louisville recruit, finished the night with 13 points.
"I was counting it down this game more than I did in the Collinsville game because I was closer,'' Henderson said. "It means a lot to break the record. It's been a goal of mine for a while and now I need to set it (the record) high so it can be mine for a long time.''
Henderson's accomplishment was the only suspense on this night as the Tigers (6-0), ranked second in the Class 4A state poll, broke the game open with a 41-9 run in the second half.
Edwardsville now has won 48 straight SWC games. The Tigers senior class has not lost a SWC game in their careers.
But Belleville East (5-3, 1-1 in the SWC), managed to stay at least within striking distance in the first half. Edwardsville, with three starters in four trouble, struggled a bit on the offensive end, while East got solid play from several players trailed only 29-16 at halftime.
"We have to stay out of foul trouble, but I thought the kids who came in did a good job. We gave up some easy looks and that's unusual for us. But we'll work on that and we'll fix it,'' Edwardsville coach Lori Blade said. "I'm very proud of and happy for Emmonnie. It's well earned.
"I thought both Emmonnie and Kortney (Dunbar) worked hard tonight. Their shots weren't falling as often as they would have liked, but to their credit they kept working hard. I liked seeing that.''
While Blade was happy with the effort, so to was East coach Andrea Seipp.
The Lancers got 11 first half points from junior Montira Mosby.
"I thought we played very well in the first half. We played hard and tried to take it to them,'' Seipp said. "I give Aniecia (Brewster) a lot of credit for trying to take those charges on Emmonnie (Hennderson) in the first half. If we got a call or two on those, who knows,'' Seipp said. "The second half we had a little more trouble handling their pressure.''
With Bloch and Dunbar scoring seven points each in the third quarter, Edwardsville outscored East 22-6 and led 51-22.