Silvey's shot sends Edwardsville girls basketball to state final
In the 40 years since Illinois high school girls were given the chance to compete for a state basketball champion, just eight large-school teams have finished off their titles with a perfect record.
Edwardsville is one win away from becoming the ninth.
Makenzie Silvey hit a jump shot off the baseline with 22 seconds left to give the Tigers a 37-35 win over Lombard Montini Catholic in the Class 4A semifinals at Illinois State University Friday.
Edwardsville will go for its unblemished state championship, its first in program history, Saturday at 7:15 p.m.
“It’s really exciting to finally get to achieve our goal because, back in August or September when we started preseason workouts, we knew this is what we were working for,” said Silvey. “To get the opportunity to do it is amazing.”
The Tigers will play Geneva (28-4), a winner over Palatine Fremd in the other 4A semifinal, at Redbird Arena.
Montini twice built 12-point leads, first opening the game on a 14-2 run, then taking a 18-6 lead on a behind-the-back dribble-drive by senior Claudia Kunzer that faked Edwardsville freshman Quierra Love out of her position.
But a 13-2 Tigers’ run, highlighted by Silvey’s 3-pointer and another long jump-shot, tied the game at 20-apiece. Kunzer gave the Lady Broncos a 22-20 halftime lead with a pair of free throws with 1.8 seconds left.
Edwardsville overcame a 2-for-14 performance from the field in the first quarter to shoot 50 percent in the second. It took an offensive adjustment from dribble-drive attack to a perimeter game.
“We’re used to attacking the rim; that’s what we’ve done all year. To get the concept — and we’ve worked on it the last few days — we had to hit jumpers,” said Edwardsville coach Lori Blade. “They adjusted really well and they hit some mid-range shots. That’s what you have to do to them.”
It helped that Montini’s 6-foot-3 junior Aaliyah Patty was on the bench with foul trouble for most of the second and third quarters.
“They weren’t hard shots we had to hit, but when you’re looking at 6-foot-3 it’s different,” Blade said. “I thought the second quarter was huge getting 13 (Patty) in foul trouble. She had to sit and that’s when we went on a run.”
The Tigers defense also had to work to overcome Montini’s 18-point first quarter.
Montini, which has averaged more than eight 3-pointers a game, hit its first three shots from behind the arc, but missed its next 11 attempts.
The Tigers also forced nine turnovers in the first half. Montini finished with 16 total.
“If we had four less turnovers and I bet we score on one of those possessions and we can defend a little bit differently on the last play,” said Montini coach Jason Nichols. “I’ve got to be honest, if you told me were were going to hold that team to 37 points, I’d have thought we’d won by 10-15.”
Kate Martin turned one of the Montini miscues into a 3-point basket to make her the fourth Edwardsville player to top 1,000 points for a career. Rachel Pranger followed with a short jump shot on the next possession to give the Tigers their first lead of the game, 27-25, with 1:10 left in the third quarter.
The lead changed hands five times in the fourth quarter before Silvey’s game-winning baseline jumper.
“We drew it up on the possession before, but the shot wasn’t there,” Silvey said. “That time, Rachel set a great screen and I was able to knock down the shot.”
Silvey, Pranger and Myriah Haywood had nine points each to lead Edwardsville, which shot 34.2 percent on the game. Haywood was the Tigers’ top rebounder with five.
Kunzer was the game’s top scorer with 11 points and rebounder with six. Sam Mitchell added 10 points for Montini.
Colors: Royal Blue/White
Conference: Upstate Eight
Head Coach: Sarah Meadows (146-40 in six years at Geneva)
State History: Fourth in 2009; fourth in 2014
Last Year: Lost to Montini in sectional finals
Leaders: 5-8 Jr. Margaret Whitley (14.2 ppg); 6-2 Sr. Grace Loberg (14.0 ppg, 11.1 rpg); 5-8 Jr .Stephanie Hart (8.2 ppg, 4.1 rpg, 3.5 apg)
Head Coach: Lori Blade (656-84 in 15 years Edwardsville, 8 years Carrollton)
State History: Second place 2012
Last Year: Lost to Benet Academy, 53-51, in Super-Sectional
Leaders: 5-11 Sr. Makenzie Silvey (159 ppg); 6-0 Jr. Rachel Pranger (13.4 ppg, 8.2 rpg); 6-0 Jr. Kate Martin (13.3 ppg); 6-0 Sr. Criste’on Waters (8.3 ppg, 5.7 rpg)