Monday, February 26, 2018

State Bound; Edwardsville Girls Basketball beats Mother McAuley in 4A Super-Sectional

The Edwardsville Tigers celebrate just after receiving their Super-Sectional plaque. The Tigers defeated Mother McAuley at Illinois Wesleyan Monday night. PHOTO / ALEX STAAB
Bloomington, IL - The student body of Mother McAuley High School in Chicago would have just over a two hour drive to Illinois Wesleyan University's Shirk Center to take on the Edwardsville Tigers (30-0) in a 4A Super-Sectional Girls Basketball game. Yet, that wasn't a problem for the Mighty Macs (26-8). In fact, as confirmed by McAuley administration, eight fan buses full of about 350 students in total would make the trip to Bloomington Monday night.

Despite the Might Macs' students leaving the fans with ringing ears right from tipoff, the Edwardsville Tigers were not phased, going on a 14-0 run to start the game, capped by a layup from Edwardsville's Kate Martin, which forced a McAuley timeout. Even after the timeout, there was still no stopping the Tigers. Edwardsville would outscore the Mighty Macs 7-3 the rest of the first eight minutes, and have a commanding 21-3 lead after just one quarter.

The second quarter saw Edwardsville's offense taper off to some degree. However, the offense hadn't peaked yet for McAuley, as both teams would only score single digits in the second. The only timeout came at 3:16 of the quarter, a 30-second timeout called by Edwardsville, when the Tigers were outscoring McAuley 6-4 in the period and held a 25-9 lead at the timeout. Despite McAuley out-scoring the Tigers to that point of the quarter, Edwardsville found a way back to where the game once was, outscoring McAuley 5-2 after the timeout, and would take a 30-11 lead into the halftime locker room.

Halftime stats were just like the score - all Edwardsville. The Tigers were almost double McAuley in rebounds (19-10), had six more assists (7-1). On top of that, the Tigers were shooting 54.2% to McAuley's 26.3% from the field.

McAuley was bound to come back, and they came back about as hard as they could. Jenna Badali had a big second half, scoring eight of her team-high 18 points in the third quarter. Tara O'Malley would add five in the frame as well, and McAuley would more than double their point total. Yet the Tigers still found a way to out-score McAuley once again. A six-point quarter from the Tigers' Rachel Pranger paced the Edwardsville offense, and with just a quarter to go, the Tigers would have a 20-point lead, 45-25.

Any team wants to finish strong, and ideally you'd want to have your best quarter in the fourth quarter with a game going the way this one was. That's exactly what happened with the Mighty Macs. Another eight point quarter for Badali and another nine points between Vanessa Gavin (3), O'Malley (2), and Grace Hynes (4) gave McAuley their best quarter of the whole game. In fact, they would actually out-score Edwardsville in the fourth.

As was the case in the first half, there was just too much Edwardsville. The big hit came when Quierra Love hit two free throws to put the Tigers up 15 with just a couple of minutes to go. Edwardsville would shoot 8-10 from the charity stripe in the final quarter of play, on their way to a 59-43 Super-Sectional victory, making their second consecutive trip to Illinois State University's Redbird Arena, and third in the last seven seasons. In 2011-12, the Tigers finished runners up in 4A. In 2016-17, the same situation for the Tigers, losing on a dagger of a shot from Geneva in the late portions of the fourth.

The Tigers would finish with two girls in double figures, those being Kate Martin (22) and Rachel Pranger (16). Pranger would finish with a double-double, also bringing in 11 rebounds. Quierra Love dished out 4 Edwardsville assists. Martin was responsible for all of Edwardsville's shots from behind the arc, shooting 3-6, while the team went 3-7. McAuley was led by Jenna Badali's 18 points, and Vanessa Gavin just narrowly missed double figures, finishing with nine points. Official attendance was listed at 900, making the McAuley student section over a third of the crowd.

Edwardsville will play the Broncos of Lombard Montini in Friday's 4A State Semifinal at Redbird Arena, which tips off at 5:30 pm. The other 4A Semifinal features Maine West and Geneva, thus meaning there's a legitimate possibility of the Tigers getting another shot at the Vikings in either the third place game, or perhaps again in the 4A title game.

Edwardsville poses with the 4A Super-Sectional plaque. PHOTO / ALEX STAAB

Edwardsville Scoring:
Kate Martin (22), Rachel Pranger (16), Myriah Haywood (9), Quierra Love (6), Jaylen Townsend (6)

McAuley Scoring:
Jenna Badali (18), Tara O'Malley (9), Vanessa Gavin (7), Grace Hynes (6), Lauren Ramsey (3)

Edwardsville Leaders:
FGM | Rachel Pranger & Kate Martin (7 each)
3's Made | Kate Martin (3-6)
Rebounds | Rachel Pranger (11)
Assists | Quierra Love (4)
Blocks | Kate Martin (1)
Steals | Quierra Love (3)

Edwardsville Team Stats:
FGs | 22 for 36 (61.1%)
3's | 3-7 (42.9%)
FTs | 12-17 (70.6%)
Rebounds | 32
Assists | 13
Turnovers | 14
Blocks | 1
Steals | 5

McAuley Leaders:
FGs | Jenna Badali (7-14)
3's | Jenna Badali (3-9)
FTs | Jenna Badali & Lauren Ramsey (1-2)
Rebounds | Grace Hynes (5)
Assists | Grace Hynes (3)
Blocks | Nicole Murphy (1)
Steals | Nicole Murphy, Jenna Badali, & Tara O'Malley (1 each)

McAuley Team Stats:
FGs | 18 for 48 (37.5%)
3's | 5 for 19 (26.3%)
FTs | 2 for 6 (33.3%)
Rebounds | 19
Assists | 8
Turnovers | 8
Blocks | 1
Steals | 3

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