EDWARDSVILLE - Senior forward Elle Evans has returned to the Edwardsville girls basketball lineup in style after being sidelined due to COVID protocols, and made her presence felt in a big way with 16 points, one of three Tiger players in double figures in Edwardsville's 65-45 win over Whitfield of west St. Louis County Friday night at Lucco-Jackson Gym.
The Tigers dominated the Warriors from the start, jumping to a 12-0 first-quarter run to take control of the game, and from there, built upon the lead as Evans, Syd Harris, and Macy Silvey all scored in double figures.
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Evans is one of the iCAN Clinic Edwardsville High School Female Athletes of the Month.
"I mean, it feels great," Evans said during a postgame interview. "We had a great big start and I feel like our momentum carried over in the third quarter and fourth quarter. And we haven't had our full team back in a while, so it feels great to get a good win."
Evans, Silvey and Harris being in double figures is a very good feeling for the team, and Evans thinks it's a key component of the Edwardsville success during the season.
"Yeah, you know, it's huge," Evans said. "Whenever we have multiple players scoring and stepping up, we're going to win big games, and that's what we kind of did tonight. The momentum just kept going our way and having the fans here kind of helped, after not having fans here at all. Yeah, it was a great environment and good momentum."
The return of Evans and Silvey from COVID protocols was a big boost for the Tigers, and Evans is very glad to be back with her teammates.
"I'm feeling great," Evans said. "I've had a couple of good days of practice, me and Macy are getting back into the swing of things. But like I said, it was good to get back with the team, the whole team back."
After a pair of losses in Chicagoland and a fifth-place finish in the Visitation Christmas Tournament, the Tigers are starting to return to business as usual and Evans knows that playing good teams such as Whitfield, a perennial small-school contender in Missouri, will only help Edwardsville in the long run.
"Yeah, you know, playing good games like that are going to help us in the long run, we know," Evans said. "To play teams with a lot of competition is what we like to do, and tonight, it just came on our side, so it's good."
And that the Tigers were able to pull away from Whitfield may have come as a surprise to many observers. Evans is happy to help get the ball rolling once again for her team.
"Going on a stretch like that, not winning for a while, I definitely think it took a toll on us," Evans said, "and we just wanted to get back and bring the momentum and change our ways."