Makenzie Silvey drives the basket against Belleville East. (Photo by Brent Feeney)COLLINSVILLE – Once Edwardsville's girls basketball team gets on a roll, it's like the proverbial snowball heading downhill.

It can be very difficult – at best – to stop.

The Tigers overcame a slow start out of the gates and got on that roll in the second quarter in their IHSA Class 4A Collinsville Regional final against Belleville East at Fletcher Gym.

They never stopped until they took a 70-33 win over the Lancers to advance to next week's Normal Community Sectional; they'll take on the winner of tonight's Springfield Regional, either the host Senators or O'Fallon, at 7 p.m. Monday at Fletcher Gym in the semifinals, with the winner heading to the sectional final at 7 p.m. Feb. 23.

The Tigers moved into the sectional with a record of 28-0 on the year; the Lancers were eliminated at 20-10.

“Awesome win for us,” said Tiger coach Lori Blade. “I thought they performed well; we were a little slow in the beginning, but picked it up and had a nice run in the second quarter. We're just proud of this group of kids and blessed that we to spend a few more days together.”

Criste'on Waters' 12 points on the night (to go with seven rebounds) made her the fifth Tiger basketball player this year to join the 1,000-point club after Rachel Pranger did it early in the season and A.J. Epenesa, Mark Smith and Oliver Stephen reached that level within several weeks of each other on the boys' side.

“That's crazy, isn't it?,” Blade said when asked about Waters' achievement and the run of EHS players who have hit the 1,000-point mark this year. “That's pretty special for the school; you don't see that very often. It's been a special year so far anyway, so we'll see how it goes.”

“I'm so proud of (Waters),” Pranger – who led the Tigers with 16 points and 10 rebounds – said. “She's done really well all throughout high school and it's just amazing.”

The slow starts are something Pranger said the Tigers need to work on. “We started off kind of slow, which we really need to work on not doing that in the future. But after we got going, we just kind of rolled with it and got on some runs.”

Myriah Noodel-Hayward added 13 points for the Tigers, with Makenzie Silvey scoring 12 and Kate Martin nine. Kaylah Rainey led the Lancers with 13 points, with Bryce Dowell adding eight and Nyah Ford four.

Kate Martin defends for the Tigers against Belleville East. (Photo by Brent Feeney)

Feeney, 56, is a native of Granite City and graduated from Granite City South in 1978. He was a part-time writer for the old Granite City Journal from 1979-84 before attending Eastern Illinois University in Charleston,
from which he earned his BA in journalism in 1988. He has worked for newspapers in Sikeston, Mo., Rocky Mount, N.C., Seneca, S.C. and in Charleston-Mattoon. He also worked for the old St. Clair County Suburban
Journals.

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