Undefeated Edwardsville withstood a cold-shooting first half then held Belleville West to just 12 second-half points as it went on for a 61-38 road win Thursday in a girls Southwestern Conference basketball game.
Ranked third in the latest Class 4A state poll, the Tigers (22-0, 11-0) had trouble generating an offense against a box-and-1 Belleville West defense in the first half and trailed the athletic Maroons 25-18 with less than three minutes remaining in the second quarter.
But a 6-1 scoring run, which featured a pair of free throws by junior Kate Martin, to end the half closed the gap to 26-24. It was all Edwardsville in the final two quarters as senior guard Makenzie Silvey led a 39-13 Tigers scoring edge in the second half. Belleville West managed only three field goals in the final 16 minutes.
“That’s where is starts for us — on defense,” Tigers coach Lori Blade said. “The first half, we were a little impatient against their defense. But we made some adjustments at halftime and played better in the second half. We didn’t shoot the ball well in the first half. But the girls kept battling.”
Led by Chamya Darough and Sydney Thurwalker, Belleville West (15-9, 5-5) built a 25-18 lead late in the second quarter against the cold-shooting Tigers. But Edwardsville ended the first half with a rush as Quierra Love and Jaylen Townsend hit short jumpers and when junior Kate Martin made two free throws after time expired, the Maroons lead was down to 26-24 at halftime.
The second half was all Edwardsville. Turning up the defensive pressure and continuing to attack the backboards, the Tigers outscored West 19-5 in the third quarter to take command. Martin and Criste’on Waters combined for 12 of the points as Edwardsville turned a two-point halftime deficit into a 43-31 lead after three quarters.
“On our blackboard in the locker room we have the word ‘rebound’ written on it. But we didn’t do a very good job of it. They really hurts on the offensive boards, especially,” Maroons coach Seth Garrett said. “The first half I thought we played with very good intensity, and we were the better team. The problem is that we didn’t match that intensity in the second half. You’ve got to be able to play at that level for 32 minutes, and we only played that way for 16.”
Silvey was one of four Edwardsville players in double figures. The Southern Illinois University Carbondale recruit tallied 13 of her 19 points in the second half, while Kate Martin added 14. Criste’on Waters chipped in with 12 points, while junior Rachel Pranger added 10. Belleville West was led by Chamya Darough with 10 points, while Sydney Thurwalker added nine.