EDWARDSVILLE — There’s something about Lucco-Jackson Gym that brings out the best in the state-rated Edwardsville girls’ basketball team.
Alton found out about it the hard way Friday night in front of more than 2,000 fans.
The Tigers extended their home court dominance by ripping the Redbirds, 65-16, in a Southwestern Conference game. Edwardsville won its 71st consecutive home game, a streak dating to 2009.
“They have a great team and when they have players score in double figures like they did, it’s hard to compete with them,” AHS coach Bobby Rickman said.
Edwardsville, ranked No. 5 in the latest Class 4A state poll, registered its 12th successive victory and remained atop the conference. The Tigers improved to 16-1 overall and 7-1 in the SWC.
The Redbirds, meanwhile, fell to 2-14 and 0-8. Alton, which faces Jennings, Mo. at 5:15 p.m. Saturday in the Atrium Hotel Great Rivers Shootout at AHS, has dropped 13 of its last 14 games.
“It’s difficult to win when you shoot like we did against them tonight,” Rickman said. “We did things that made it too easy for them.”
What hounded the Redbirds the most was their inability to find any kind of consistent shooting touch. They made only 6 of 45 shots, or 13 percent, and didn’t score in the fourth quarter. Edwardsville scored the game’s final 20 points to ensure a rout.
“I guess you could say that was one of our better defensive performances,” Tigers’ coach Lori Blade said. “We guarded like we needed to guard them. We didn’t give them a lot of transition points.
“We also took care of the ball and got some good shots.”
Makenzie Silvey (21 points) and Rachel Pranger (16 points) powered the Tigers’ high-octane attack. Edwardsville made 27 of 53 shots with Silvey, a 5-11 junior, hitting 9 of 13 field-goal attempts. She also sank two of the Tigers’ three treys.
Silvey figured the presence of a big crowd for the double feature, which included the boys’ game following the girls’ one, energized the players.
“I really like the idea because there were more people than we usually have to see us play,” Silvey said. “It’s probably the biggest crowd to see us play a home game. I enjoyed it.”
So did Blade.
“I like this format,” she said. “The kids got to play in front of a big crowd and we are talking about doing it again. I would like to do it.”
EHS director of athletics Brad Bevis said that’s a possibility, though it would likely be next season.
“I hope so,” he said. “We could do it at home again.”
Rickman also welcomed the varsity doubleheader, even if he didn’t relish the way the Redbirds played.
“I think it’s a great atmosphere and good for everybody,” he said. “It’s a good thing to play in this environment. But we need to compete a little better.”
Jewel Wagner’s six points led the Redbirds. Top gun LaJarvia Brown, a 5-foot-3 senior averaging 15.9 points per game, was limited to 4 points on 2-for-9 shooting. She played sparingly in the second half.
“LaJarvia has been hurting a little and we wanted to give her some rest in the second half because we have another game Saturday,” Rickman said. “There was no reason to have her in there during the fourth quarter of this game.”
Blade noted, “We had a good game plan on defense and did a good job with Aaliyah Box and others on LaJarvia. It was a true team effort.”
A 10-point spurt in the first quarter gave Edwardsville a 14-4 lead by the end of it. The Tigers led 29-9 at half and continued to increase their advantage the rest of the way.
They were particularly efficient around the basket. No fewer than 30 of Edwardsville’s first 42 points came through the lane.
“They scored a lot of points in the paint,” Rickman said. “That goes back to our need for attention to detail.”
EDWARDSVILLE 65, ALTON 16
Alton 4 5 7 0 — 16
Edwardsville 16 13 19 17 — 65
Alton (2-14, 0-8) — LaJarvia Brown 4, Kenya Burnett 3, Jewel Wagner 6, Cri’Shonna Hickman 3. 2FG-6 3FG-0 FT-4 PF-8
Edwardsville (16-1, 7-1) — Jasmine Bishop 5, Rachel Pranger 16, Kate Martin 8, Makenzie Silvey 21, Criste’on Waters 6, Annie Ellis 5, Rachel Verdun 2, Lorie Cashdollar 2. 2FG-24 3FG-3 FT-8 PF-10