O'FALLON – Edwardsville's girls basketball team went into their Southwestern Conference game with O'Fallon Friday night at O'Fallon's Panther Dome with a big list of accolades to their name.

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Not only did they go into the game with the Illinois Associated Press' No. 1 ranking in their state Class 4A poll, it was their first game since winning the Visitation Christmas Tournament over the year-end holidays.

The Tigers responded with a 51-36 win over the Panthers to go to 15-0 on the season, 6-0 in the SWC; the Panthers fell to 13-2 overall, 5-2 in he league.

“They were pretty patient on offense; we anticipated that, but once we got going, we did some really good things,” said Tiger coach Lori Blade.

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The Tigers are playing back-to-back big games on the weekend; not only did they play the Panthers Friday night, EHS will be facing Whitfield at 1 p.m. today at the St. Joseph's Shootout in St. Louis.

The challenge of the quick back-to-back games is a tough one. “It's a quick turnaround against two good teams,” Blade said. “For us to stay focused and get the win against O'Fallon – they're having a great year here to start with – and we needed to set the tone and we had some things we took advantage of and that's what we needed to do.”

The Tigers got out to an early lead on the Panthers, EHS taking a 12-5 lead on OTHS and then going on a roll in the second quarter to expand their lead to 37-13 at the half, taking advantage of the Panthers' Sydney Thurwalker getting into early foul trouble. From that point, the Tigers weren't seriously threatened as they ran out winners on the night.

Kate Martin led the way for Edwardsville with a 15-point night, followed by Rachel Pranger with 13 points and Myriah Noodel-Hayward with 11 points; Quierra Love contributed seven points on the night. The Panthers were led by Makayla Best's seven points, followed by six each from Jayla Stubblefield and Reyna Bullock; Thurwalker was limited to one point on the night.

Following the Tigers' game with Whitfield today, they host Collinsville at 7:30 p.m. Tuesday and Alton at 6 p.m. Jan. 12 as part of a boys-girls doubleheader and Mega Night showcase.

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