EDWARDSVILLE - Edwardsville senior point guard Macy Silvey sank back-to-back threes to start the game and scored the first eight points of the contest as the Tigers went on a game-opening 12-0 run en route to a 16-5 first-quarter lead and a 55-19 win over Highland in the team's home opener Tuesday night at Lucco-Jackson Gym.
It was also the first home game since restrictions on spectators were removed, although masks are still required, but for the Tigers, it was great to be back home for a full season after the restricted 2020-21 year due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
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"Great to be back on our floor," said Edwardsville head coach Caty Happe. "I thought the kids shot it a lot better tonight, though. Good being in a familiar place, and I thought we were very unselfish; I thought we shared the ball really well, which was good to see."
The addition of the players who played on the Tigers' volleyball team has also helped greatly and Happe was very happy for that as well.
"Absolutely," Happe said. "I mean like now that we've been together almost two weeks with those volleyball kids, too, I feel like our flow and our timing is getting a lot better. I thought Kate Connor did an awesome job putting pressure on the ball tonight and led to some really good transition."
Silvey's hot start set the tone for the game.
"Awesome to see," Happe said. "She's a great shooter and it is good to see her get some confidence today."
The Tigers also played very good defense as well, where the pressure led to easy baskets on offense.
"Yeah, I thought we did well in our different defenses," Happe said, "and put pressure on it, and were able to run some offense."
It took over a minute for the first score of the game, but Silvey's back-to-back threes, along with a basket on a drive to the hoop, started the Tigers out well with an 8-0 lead, forcing the Bulldogs to call time out. After the time out, Emma Garner and Ashlyn Hauk scored to put Edwardsville up 12-0 before Lydia Hadowsky scored Highland's first basket with 2:43 left in the quarter to make it 12-2. Baskets from Connor and Elle Evans put the Tigers further ahead before a three at the buzzer by Alex Schultz gave the Tigers a 16-5 lead after the first quarter.
Edwardsville and Highland opened the second quarter by trading baskets that brought the score to 20-9 before a 16-0 run, started by a pair of baskets from Zay Hoover and Garner, five points from Syd Harris and seven from Evans gave the Tigers a 36-9 lead before a basket from Larissa Taylor and a three from Silvey put Edwardsville ahead 39-11 at halftime.
When the second half started, the Tigers scored the first eight points of the half in less than a minute, as Harris and Garner had the baskets to extend the lead to 47-11. A pair of free throws from Taylor and a basket from Abby Schultz cut the lead to 47-15, with Silvey scoring once again and both Taylor and Addison Crask scoring to make the score 49-19 after three quarters, kicking in the fourth quarter running clock rule. The Tigers outscored the Bulldogs 6-0 in the final quarter to make the final 55-19.
Silvey led the way for Edwardsville with 15 points, while Evans added 14 points, Garner had 10 points, Harris came up with nine points, Connor, Hauk and Hoover all had two points each and Molly Peel had a single point. The Bulldogs were led by Taylor's eight points, while Alex Schultz had three points and Hadowsky, Abby Hulesman, Abby Schultz and Crask all had two points each.
Highland is now 2-6 and hosts Mascoutah Thursday night, then Belleville West next Monday night in 7:30 p.m. tip-offs, while the Tigers are now 4-1 and travel to Alton to open their Southwestern Conference season Thursday night in a 7:30 p.m. start. The Redbirds are a vastly improved team with the additions of freshmen Kiyoko Proctor and Jarius Powers, among other additions, and will provide a good test for the Tigers.
"They've got a couple of transfers, and those freshmen that are in, so they'll be very good, and we're excited to get back at it," Happe said. "It is the first conference game, so it'll be good to see what everybody's got."
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