EDWARDSVILLE - Sophomore Mia Semith led Edwardsville with 18 points, while junior Layne Logan added 11 points as the Tigers scored the game's first 11 points and hit five threes in the opening quarter to take a 63-41 win over East St. Louis in a Southwestern Conference girls basketball game played Tuesday night at Lucco-Jackson Gym in Edwardsville.

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The win gave the Tigers a three-game winning streak, since the end of the Visitation Christmas Tournament last week, as Edwardsville opened up the second half of its season with a conference win.

"Yeah, that was a great start to the game," said Edwardsville head coach Bryan Young. "I told them I thought Molly Peel stepped up and we hit some shots at the beginning of the game. Got us off to a real fast start."

The Flyers opened up in a zone defense that would make life inside difficult, but the Tigers were able to hit the shots outside that helped open things inside later on.

"That was our plan going in," Young said. "I knew that they would come out playing zone, so we talked about making some good passes, attacking the gaps and finding some wide-open shooters."

The outside shooting started out hot, and when it cooled off, the Tigers took over with solid defense that didn't allow many ventures to the basket for the Flyers, creating turnovers and baskets for Edwardsville.

"Our defense was pretty good tonight, I must admit," Young said. "Our 1-2-2 press was good, we turned them over, was able to get some steals and some easy baskets."

Semith continues to be the Tigers' top scorer, sinking key shots that would help keep East Side at bay.

"She's tough," Young said. "The coach and I was talking after the game. She had an 18, and I was like 'what?' And I could see it was a quiet 18. She (Semith) put up 18 points before I looked up. She scored some easy baskets, and like I said, she just keeps getting better."

Lainey McFarlin and Peel each hit for three threes in the game, which is always a good sign for the Tigers.

"Yeah, that's right," Young said. "Molly has been a great kid. She does whatever we ask her to do, she hasn't started, she's come off the bench, she just does it and does it well. She does it with passion and desire, and a real good teammate to have."

Logan also had a key contribution for Edwardsville with her 11-point game and did it in the stead of a couple of Tiger players who were hurt and couldn't play.

"Layne came off the bench, too," Young said. "We were a little worried, because we were banged up, with a couple of players. Layne stepped up and made some threes also. She did good."

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The Tigers have some momentum built up with the successful end of the Visitation tournament, and it could be a good sign as the Tigers continue to battle through the season.

"Yep, that's gotta be," Young said. "That's what it's all about, getting on the road, win a couple of games on the road. Visitation was a tough tournament, so bouncing back after that has been good."

The Tigers started out hot as Blakely Hockett hit back-to-back threes to start, then Sophie Shapiro hit her first basket of the night and Semith sank her first three to give the Tigers an 11-0 lead to get started.

A basket by Heaven Williams broke the opening run at 11-2, but then, Edwardsville went on a 6-2 run as Logan and Semith hit threes to give the Tigers a 17-4 lead after the first quarter.

The Flyers started the second quarter on a 10-0 run, led by Malia Chambers, Camya Pitts, Zyah Heidelberg and Ry'ale Mosley to cut the lead to 17-14, and seemed to be in control.

After an exchange of baskets that make it 19-16, the Tigers went on a 15-0 run to end the period, as Ellie Neath, Shapiro, Hockett, Semith, and Logan all contributed to put the Tigers up 34-19 at halftime.

Gabby Cook knocked down a three to open the second half for Edwardsville, making the score 37-19, and from there, the Tigers maintained as much as an 18-point lead, with Semith doing much of the scoring and McFarlin also making a key contribution with a three.

Edwardsville led after three quarters 52-32, and in the fourth quarter, East Side did try to come back, but the Tigers countered at almost every turn to take the 63-41 win.

To go along with Semith's 18 points and Logan's 11 for Edwardsville, both Hockett and Peel hit for nine points each, Lydia Struble came up with eight points, Shapiro scored six points, McFarlin hit for three points and Cook had two points.

Pitts led the Flyers with 10 points, while Mosley added six points, Williams scored four points, Imani Box hit for three points and Mylonn Miller and Heidelberg each scored two.

East Side is now 5-11 and hosts O'Fallon on Tuesday, Belleville East next Tuesday and is at Springfield Southeast on Jan. 11, all games starting at 7:30 p.m.

The Tigers improve to 6-9 and host Collinsville on Thursday night at 7:30 p.m., meets Wentzville, Mo., Holt in a shootout at St. Joseph's Academy in Frontenac, Mo., on Saturday at 2:30 p.m., then host Belleville West on Jan. 9, with the tip coming at 7:30 p.m.

Dan Brannan also contributed to this story.

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