JERSEYVILLE - The Edwardsville boys basketball team faced a Granite City Warriors' team full of athleticism and length during the Jersey Mid-Winter Classic Monday night at Havens Gym and the Tigers fell 40-30 to the Warriors.
"Granite City really bothered us with their length and athleticism," said Edwardsville head coach Dustin Battas, "and that caused us to miss a lot of shots and also having turnovers."
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The Tigers played hard throughout and even started well in the second half. Granite, however, was able to turn Edwardsville mistakes into baskets to keep them at bay. Overall, it was a cold shooting night for the Tigers.
"We tried hard, and we had a good start to the third quarter," Battas said. "But then, we gave up some easy baskets because of our defensive miscues."
The Tigers stayed within a good distance to mount a comeback, but could never get over the hump.
"We were always in striking distance," Battas said, "but we could never get it to one possession."
The Warriors led all the way through, leading after one quarter 14-8, at halftime 22-10 and after the third quarter 29-18, with the Tigers outscoring Granite in the fourth quarter 12-11.
Mario Brown led the Warriors with 12 points, while Marc-Kell Longstreet was right behind with 11 points, Mark Yarborough had nine points, Tyrese Grose scored seven points and Tyrek Thomas came up with two points.
Bryce Spiller led the way for Edwardsville with 10 points, with Malik Allen adding seven points, Iose Epenesa had six points and both Alec Marchetto and Isayah Kloster each had three points apiece.
Granite is now 9-9 on the season, while the Tigers go to 9-10, with both teams playing on the tournament's second day on Wednesday. Edwardsville faces Cahokia at 6 p.m., while the Warriors face the host Panthers at 7:30 p.m. Battas is expecting the same kind of challenge from the Comanches that his team faced against Granite.
"Cahokia is going to be another athletic team," Battas said. "So we're going to have to execute a little bit better and make some more baskets than we did tonight."