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ALTON - Senior Alyssa Lewis led Alton with 13 points as the Redbirds used a 2-3 zone defense to perfection, forcing numerous Edwardsville turnovers and converting them into points as Alton defeated the Tigers 57-35 in a Southwestern Conference opening girls basketball game Thursday night at the Redbirds Nest in Alton.
Alton raced out to an early lead and never relinquished it in going on to their fifth straight win to open the season. It was the Redbirds third straight win in the rivalry, having won both games last season.
Alton head coach Deserea Howard said it was great to start Southwestern Conference play on the note the Redbirds did against the Tigers.
"We still are working through some things and building chemistry, but overall, I am happy where we are at this point," she said.
Alton jumped out to 19-5 lead after the first quarter, using a 13-0 run in the period after the Tigers came to within 6-5 on a three by Lainey McFarlin. then jumped to a 31-7 lead in the second quarter before a pair of threes from the Tigers cut the lead to 31-13. Alton held a 31-14 lead at halftime, going to 43-21 up after the third quarter. The teams tied in the fourth quarter 14-14 to create the 57-35 final.
Lewis led the way for the Redbirds with her 13 points, while Jarius Powers added 12 points. Talia Norman hit for 11 points, Kaylea Lacey had 10 points, and Kiyoko Proctor came up with nine points.
McFarlin led Edwardsville with 10 points, with Sophie Shapiro adding eight points. Mia Semith scored seven points, Molly Peel had five points and both Olivia Kolnsberg and Lydia Struble had two points each,
Alton is now 5-0 and next plays East St. Louis at home Tuesday at 7:30 p.m., then travels to O'Fallon next Thursday and plays in a shootout at McKendree University on Dec. 9 against Springfield Southeast in a 3:30 p.m. tip-off.
The Tigers go to 2-5, with Edwardsville playing next Tuesday against O'Fallon at home, then host Belleville East next Thursday, both games at 7:30 p.m., then go to Normal Community Dec. 16 in a 3:30 p.m. tip.
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