Myriah Noodel-Hayward led the Tigers with 20 points on Tuesday in the Visitation Tourney. (Photo by Brent Feeney)

Kate Martin had 10 points for the Tigers on Tuesday in the Visitation Tourney. (Photo by Brent Feeney)TOWN AND COUNTRY, Mo. - Edwardsville's basketball girls are heading to the semifinals of the 43rd Visitation Christmas Tournament, thanks to double-digit efforts from Myriah Noodel-Hayward, Rachel Pranger and Kate Martin.

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The three combined for 46 points – Noodel-Hayward with 20, Pranger with 16 and Martin with 10 – as the Tigers took control of the game with a run that broke at 7-7 tie in the opening quarter and ran it to 23-7 to defeat Washington, Mo., 61-23 in a quarterfinal game of the tournament at Visitation's Buder Gym Tuesday night.

The win put the Tigers at 12-0 on the year and set up a semifinal clash with Kirkwood, 63-52 winners over Hazelwood Central, at 8:30 p.m. tonight; the winner moves into Thursday's final against either top-seed Incarnate Word, who have won 11 of the last 13 Visitation titles, or Whitfield, who meet at 7 p.m. this evening in the other semifinal; the final is set for 8 p.m. Thursday. The Blue Jays fell to 5-2 on the season.

“It took a little bit and get our legs under us after two days off (for the Christmas holiday Sunday and Monday), but I thought we played really well after that first quarter,” said Tiger coach Lori Blade. “We had a good size advantage that we took advantage of, but they are scrappy; that concerned me just from their scrappiness – they have some kids who can flat-out score.

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“Probably our unselfishness” stood out to Blade in the win. “Myriah was aggressive going to the basket and working really hard on the boards – save for Rachel – and (Quierra Love) and Kate really created a lot for the other kids. We just finished well and we got to the free-throw line a lot.”

The Tigers and Blue Jays played fairly evenly the opening minutes of the game, Washington taking a brief lead before the Tigers evened proceedings up at 7-7 before Edwardsville got on a run, scoring the final six points of the period to go ahead at 13-7 at quarter time, then going on to eventually pull away to a 23-7 lead about a bit past midway through the second quarter before the Jays were able to score again.

Edwardsville never looked back once they got ahold of the lead and eventually expanded the lead enough to put the final quarter on a running clock, leading 37-15 at the half and 53-22 at three-quarter time. Jaylen Townsend added six points for the Tigers on the night and Rachel Vinyard three; Washington was led by Reese Arnold's 11 points and Jackie Arnold's five.

“It'll be a good challenge for us,” Blade said of the 7-0 Pioneers. “It'll be like a postseason game for us; they're very talented and athletic; it will be a very good challenge for us.”

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