Edwardsville High School girls basketball coach Lori Blade has been named the National Coach of the Year in that sport by the National High School Athletics Coaches Association.
The Tigers, powered by Makenzie Silvey, Kate Martin, Rachel Pranger and Criste’on Waters, finished 32-1 and placed second in the Class 4A state tournament last season. Edwardsville fell 41-40 to Geneva in the championship game.
Attempts to reach Blade for comment on the award were not successful.
Other finalists for the award were: Mike Fritch, Torrington, Conn.; Dr. Anthony Pappas, Waterloo, Iowa; Aaron Losing, Crofton, Neb.; Brett Sanders, Newcastle, Okla.; Terry Heisey, Hope Christian, N.M.; Deb Murray, Niobrara, Wyo.; and Mark Senftner, Sully Buttes, S.D.
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Blade completed her 15th season at Edwardsville. During her tenure, the Tigers have twice placed second in the state tournament and have gone 425-57 with 10 Southwestern Conference championships. They also have 14 regional titles, 12 sectional crowns and five berths in the state tourney.
Blade is 655-84 in her career, which includes eight seasons at Carrollton. With the Hawks, Blade won Class A state titles in 2001 and 2002.
Blade also excels as the softball coach at Edwardsville. She is 433-79 in 14 seasons with 11 regional championships and five sectional titles.
David Wilhelm: @DavidMWilhelm