Playing their fifth game in the last two weeks, fatigue could have been a cause for concern on Thursday when the Edwardsville Tigers took on Belleville West in a Southwestern Conference game.
Instead it was Edwardsville juniors Criste’on Waters and Makenzie Silvey who made the the Maroons seem weary.
Clicking on all cylinders from the outset, Waters and Silvey combined for 13 points in the first quarter as Edwardsville jumped out to a 17-1 lead and coasted to a 62-23 win over the Maroons.
Five days removed from winning the Carbondale Tournament championship on Saturday and pushed to the limit in a last-second win over Belleville East on Tuesday, Edwardsville came out flying in the first quarter. The Tigers scored the final 15 points of the period over a Belleville West team that lost starters Chamya Darough (foot) and Anjanice Jones (shoulder) to injuries before seven minutes had been played.
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“It’s been a long two weeks with playing three games at Carbondale and then playing a tough game at Belleville East on Tuesday. So, to be able to come out and play as well as we did, I’m very pleased with the effort,’’ Tigers coach Lori Blade said. “I thought defensively we did a good job and we shared the basketball very well.
“But we were also getting good shots.’’
Sophomore Rachel Pranger led Edwardsville, ranked third in the Class 4A poll with 20 points. The 6-foot Pranger scored six of her points in the second quarter, which ended with the Tigers (21-1, 9-1) leading 29-12.
Belleville West (15-9, 6-4) would get no closer in the second half.
Darough, who scored the Maroons only point of the first quarter to cut the Edwardsville lead to 2-1 in the opening minute, went down in a heap near midcourt late in the first period. The lightning-quick freshman would not return and was on crutches following the game.
But by that time, Edwardsville had a 15-1 lead and was in full control of the game.
Silvey, the most valuable player at the Carbondale Tournament, hit a pair of 10-foot jumpers and added a layup while Waters, beating the Maroons defense down the court, added four points on a pair of offensive put backs. Pranger added a pair of short jumpers while the Edwardsville defense forced seven West turnovers in the first six minutes of the game.
Jones, an athletic 5-10 junior, went down with an apparent arm or shoulder injury, also in the first quarter.
“I’m not a doctor, so I’m not in position to say how long they’ll be out. Of course we’re hoping they’ll be back soon,’’ West coach Seth Garrett said. “Playing Edwardsville is tough anytime, but when two of your key players go down, its even more difficult.
“Especially early, they were able to rebound and they were beating us down the floor. They got some easy looks and they converted. Edwardsville is an excellent team and while we were never able to get anything going, I was still pleased with our effort. The girls played hard until the end.’’
West didn’t score its first field goal until there was 7 minutes, 22 seconds left in the first half, when senior Erika Harvey hit a 3-point shot. Harvey led Belleville West with eight points.
Pranger led Edwardsville with 20 points, while Silvey (16) and Waters (14) were also in double figures.