Maine West senior Alisa Fallon scored three points and sophomore Angela Dugalic added a short jumper late in the fourth quarter Saturday as the Warriors defeated Edwardsville 45-41 in the third-place game of the Class 4A state girls basketball tournament.
Trying to rebound after losing to Lombard Montini in semifinals Friday, the Tigers (30-2) took a 41-40 lead on a basket by junior Jaylen Townsend with 2:38 left.
But the 5-foot-10 Fallon gave her team the lead for good on a layup 21 seconds later.
Dugalic followed with a 10-foot jumper at the 1:41 mark to increase the lead to three, and Edwardsville would get no closer as it fell for the second night in a row.
"Nothing really stands out about what happened in the last few minutes of the game," an emotional Tigers coach Lori Blade said. "We just had some possessions late where we turned the basketball over and didn't get a shot. In a game like this, you can't afford to do that."
Junior guard Rachel Kent led the way for the Warriors with 18 points, while Dugalic, a 6-3 center, added 13.
With Kent connecting on a pair of 3-pointers and scoring 12 of her points in the first two quarters, the Warriors built a 27-24 lead at halftime.
But a 3-pointer by Rachel Pranger and a pair of baskets by speedy sophomore Quierra Love got the Tigers back into the game, and when Love went end-to-end for a layup to close the third quarter, Edwardsville had a 35-34 lead.
But it didn't last.
Townsend scored on a 12-foot jumper with 6:47 left to increase the Edwardsville lead to 37-34. But the Tigers managed only four points the rest of the way.
"We played well tonight," Warriors coach Kim DeMarigny said. "We thought we would be playing in the second game (the championship) tonight.
"The girls did what they needed to do."
And for the last four years, so have the Tigers.
Second in the Class 4A state tournament a year ago, the Tigers' senior class, headlined by Kate Martin and Pranger, won 122 of 127 games, including four Southwestern Conference championships and numerous other tournament titles.
"I told them this in the locker room after the game — their record speaks for itself," Blade said. "They are one of the best classes in which I have had to work with, and they love to compete, which is something I greatly appreciate.
"I couldn't be more proud of what they've done and the work that they have put in both on and off the court."
Martin, who is headed to the University of Iowa, led the Tigers with 13 points.
"It's been an amazing experience to play for Coach Blade and this coaching staff. They've taught us so much," Pranger said. "To be able to play with this group of girls and accomplish what we have is something we'll never forget. We'll have this experience to remember for the rest of our lives."
Edwardsville will be honored Sunday. The Tigers will be greeted in Marine at noon and escorted to the high school for a 12:30 p.m. reception.