Belleville West started fast Thursday against Edwardsville, but the Tigers righted themselves.
Senior Makenzie Silvey scored a game-high 22 points and junior Kate Martin had 18 as the Tigers, who trailed 6-2 after the first three-plus minutes, pulled away for a 66-38 win in a battle of state-ranked Southwestern Conference girls basketball teams.
It was the Tigers’ 76th consecutive home victory.
Edwardsville coach Lori Blade, in particular, was pleased with Martin’s defensive execution against West sophomore Chamya Darough, who led her team with 16 points but was 6-for-19 from the field.
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“Kate did a great job on (No.) 5,” Blade said. “I can’t give her enough credit. Kate battled, and that’s what we expect her to do. But we also had a lot of help because (Darough) is tough to guard. She’s hard to hold down.”
The Tigers, ranked third in the Class 4A poll, improved to 7-0 overall and 3-0 in the SWC. The Maroons, ranked eighth, fell to 6-1 and 1-1.
Silvey, a Southern Illinois University Carbondale recruit, also had four 3-pointers and was 8-for-13 from the field.
Coach (Lori) Blade and Coach (Caty) Ponce give us really good plays that open up everyone. Everyone was knocking down their shots tonight. We were just trying to look for the open teammate.
Edwardsville senior girls basketball player Makenzie Silvey
“Coach Blade and Coach (Caty) Ponce give us really good plays that open up everyone,” Silvey said. “Everyone was knocking down their shots tonight. We were just trying to look for the open teammate.
“We’ve still got a long way to go, but I think we’re off to a good start this season.”
Maroons coach Seth Garrett, whose team played without ill sophomore B’Aunce Carter, complimented the Tigers.
“It’s tough to guard layups and free throws. Unfortunately, in the second quarter we gave up a lot of those,” said Garrett, whose team trailed 15-8 after one quarter and 38-23 at the intermission before the Tigers opened the third quarter with a 13-0 run to make it 51-23.
It’s tough to guard layups and free throws. Unfortunately, in the second quarter, we gave up a lot of those.
Belleville West girls basketball coach Seth Garrett
“They make the extra pass to somebody who can score,” Garrett said. “A lot of the teams we play, they’re unselfish, but you take it away from their best player, and they throw it to somebody who’s not going to do much with it. Edwardsville throws it to the next girl, and she’s just as good as the girl who had it before.
“When they get out on the floor, they’re the most efficient girls team that I’ve seen.”
Already in a bind facing a 15-point deficit at halftime, West ran into even more difficulty in the third quarter when the Tigers went on their 13-0 run.
Silvey scored nine of the points on two three-point plays and a 3-pointer. The Maroons didn’t score until the 1:50 mark of the quarter on a basket by Darough.
“They are very unselfish,” Blade said of her players, who made the one or two extra passes to find an open teammate. “That’s the good part about this group. They did just enough to find that extra open person, and we were fortunate to shoot it pretty good. Good things came out of it.”
Edwardsville played most of the third quarter without junior Rachel Pranger, who was called for her fourth foul with 7:09 to play in the period.
Garrett said the 5-foot-11 Carter would have made the Maroons’ assignment against the Tigers more manageable.
“Obviously, we missed her talent and we missed her being on the floor,” Garrett said. “But I think what it really did is it kind of threw us out of our normal continuity. She plays the inside for us, which is a crucial spot of our offense.
“With her on the floor, we’re probably a little closer to that eighth ranking,” Garrett said. “Without her, we’re somewhere south of that. I’m not making an excuse and saying if she was here, we would have taken them down. That probably was not going to be true. But it certainly would have helped (having her).”
West finished 16-for-50 from the field (32 percent) and 3-for-9 on free throws (33 percent). Edwardsville was 27-for-46 from the floor (59 percent) and 8-for-11 from the line (73 percent). West had 12 turnovers, while the Tigers had 10.