Senior Kate Martin scored 13 of her 22 points in the third quarter to highlight a 25-0 scoring run that led the Edwardsville Tigers past Belleville East 70-35 in a Southwestern Conference game Tuesday.
With junior point guard Kaylah Rainey missing her second straight game with a sprained right ankle, Belleville East (2-5, 1-2) trailed the undefeated Tigers by just a point at halftime. When Lancers junior Bryce Dowell opened the second half with a 12-foot jumper, East had its second lead of the night.
That lead didn’t last long as following an exchange of turnovers, Martin made a 3-point shot and senior Myriah Noodel-Haywood scored on a conventional 3-point play less than a minute apart as the Tigers (7-0, 3-0) regained control of the game.
“I challenged them at halftime. They weren’t getting what they wanted and backing down a little bit. We weren’t competing like we should,” Edwardsville coach Lori Blade said. “Kudos to East for what they were doing to us, but it was more about us and the things we weren’t doing in the first half.
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“The second half I was really proud of how we competed. We rebounded well, we transitioned well and we handled their pressure.”
Sophomore guards Jaylen Townsend and Quierra Love combined to add nine points in the third quarter for the Tigers, who built a 50-26 lead before East senior Brittney Nitz hit a 3-point quarter to end the Tigers scoring run.
The Class 4A state tournament runner-up a year ago, Edwardsville continued to add to its lead in the fourth quarter. Edwardsville outscored the Lancers 45-11 in the final two quarters.
Dowell led Belleville East with 11 points. The Lancers fell behind by as many as 11 points in the first two quarters. But getting a combined 14 points from Dowell, Nitz and senior Jailyn McClenny in the second quarter, cut the Tigers lead to a single point at halftime.
“How many times can you say you played well against them (Edwardsville) for a half? It was the tale of two halves tonight,” East coach Amanda Kemezys said. “It’s not as if we played perfect in the first half. We just settled down, and they actually missed a few shots.
“We knew that Edwardsville would probably really come after it to start the second half, and they did. We had a couple of turnovers, and it was one of those situations where they punched, we needed to punch back and we didn’t do that. We weren’t scoring, and we let that have an effect on other parts of our game.”
Townsend and Love added 11 points each, and Noodel-Haywood chipped in with 10 as the Tigers finished with four players in double figures.