A ball seems frozen in time in front of Edwardsville's Annie Ellis and Alton's Cri'Shonna Hickman on Friday night at Edwardsville. (Photo by Dan Brannan)

Rachel Pranger goes in for a layup against Alton on Friday night. Pranger had 16 points in the contest. (Photo by Dan Brannan)

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EDWARDSVILLE – Both Edwardsville's and Alton's girls basketball teams relished the chance to play before a nice crowd as the curtain-raiser of a Southwestern Conference boys-girls doubleheader at Lucco-Jackson Gym Friday night.

The Tigers, though showed the crowd exactly why they're consistently one of the top teams in the St. Louis metro area as they took advantage of numerous Redbird miscues on their way to a 65-16 win to take their record to 16-1 overall, 7-1 in the SWC; Alton fell to 2-14 overall, 0-8 in the league.

“The kids executed pretty well,” said Tiger coach Lori Blade. “We had some open looks in the first quarter that we didn't knock down, but overall, I thought we boarded really well, took care of the ball and got some really good shots.”

The Tiger defense also forced a good number of turnovers and that helped the EHS cause. “That does help,” Blade said. “We didn't get a lot of transition, as quick and athletic as they are, but overall, I was really pleased with their effort.”

One thing the Redbirds didn't help themselves with was those turnovers, plus a 6-for-49 shooting night from the floor. “We made it too easy for them in the first quarter,” said Redbird coach Bob Rickman. “We'd get a stop and they'd get two rebounds, three rebounds, and they'd finally score. They got a lot of points in the paint; it goes back to the details and the preparation.

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“They're a great team; they've got four girls that scored double-figures. They've got a great team and it's hard to compete when you've got four girls that got the experience they do and we've got three girls that have that experience, but one of those is a role player.”

The Tigers never trailed throughout the game, though the teams would be tied twice at 2-2 and 4-4 early on, but a 12-point run that started with 4:49 left in the opening term when Makenzie Silvey hit from inside gave EHS a 16-4 lead at quarter time, and the Tigers just kept building on it, not letting the Redbirds get into double figures until early in the third term.

Silvey led the way for EHS with a 21-point effort, with Rachel Pranger adding 16 points Kate Martin eight. LaJarvia Brown and Jewel Wagner each had six points to lead the Redbirds on the night.

The Redbirds have to shake off the loss quickly; they'll be taking on Jennings at 5:15 p.m. in the fourth game of the Atrium Hotels Great Rivers Shootout at Alton High; the five-game card commences at noon and features Hardin-Calhoun and Civic Memorial as part of games throughout the day.

“Tomorrow's going to be exciting,” Rickman said. “It'll be exciting for a couple of reasons: No. 1, it's an opportunity for our girls to see several teams that compete at a high level, and hopefully we can see that and learn from it, and No. 2, we get this game behind us, we go out there and we play a Jennings team that's a solid team, a team that I think we can compete well with.”

Edwardsville's Kate Martin defends against an Alton foe. (Photo by Dan Brannan)Dan Brannan also contributed to this story.

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