WOOD RIVER — The East Alton-Wood River girls' basketball team played host to the Roxana Shells in the annual "Pink Night" to recognize breast cancer awareness at Memorial Gymnasium on Monday.
The Shells walked away victorious with a narrow 47-43 win over their neighboring rival.
Roxana improved to 12-9 following the nonconference matchup, as the Oilers fell to 4-14 on the season.
The Oilers owned a 5-2 lead over the Shells midway through the first quarter, but Roxana tied up the score at 5-5 with just under 3:30 remaining on the clock. Trading baskets, the Shells were able to take their first lead of the game with a score of 12-10 as the buzzer sounded, ending the quarter.
The Oilers outscored the Shells by one point in the second quarter, but entered the locker room down 23-22.
"We were flat on both ends," Roxana head coach Tammy Talbert said. "Before we came into the game tonight, I told our team it's hard to play a team three times in one season. They've seen us, we've seen them. I wanted us not to come into this game flat footed, thinking that it was going to be a 20-point game."
The Shells returned from the locker room and showed determination early in the second half, going up nine points over the Oilers midway through the third.
The Oilers battled back with a pair of unanswered 3-pointers from senior Brandi Lacey to climb back in reach of the Shells. Keeping within a two-point spread, the Oilers retook the lead as the buzzer sounded to end the third quarter. EA-WR outscored the Shells in the third 14-12 to tally the score to 36-35 heading into the fourth.
"We have to give credit to Wood River," Talbert said. "They (Oilers) came out with a game plan, they spread the court out and extended us. They did a great job. We panicked a little. We couldn't get anything executed and had so many under the basket misses. We can't do that and put our heads down."
The Oilers earned a four-point lead over Roxana halfway through the fourth, but the Shells tied it up at 41-41 with 3:46 remaining on the clock. The Shells defense held off the Oilers to take a six-point lead with just 1:22 left in the game, but the Oilers were not done fighting.
EA-WR senior Mardelia Bolden sank a basket to bring the Oilers within four points, but then turned the ball over to the Shells with less than 30 seconds remaining.
The Shells earned the win with a final score of 47-43 and breathed a sigh of relief as they headed to the locker room.
"I think that's the best we've played in my five years," EA-WR head coach Mark Maendele said. "With the effort of all five girls on the court and really getting after it, I really think that is the best we've done. Our first priority was not to let Maddy (Sheraka) beat us. They were going to have to use some other girls too. She ended up with 13 points, which is a victory for us, unfortunately it wasn't a victory for our team in the books. We're up and down, I don't always know what team is going to walk onto the floor before a game, but tonight everyone was on the same page and I couldn't have asked for a better effort."
For the Shells, senior Erica Sheets left the game midway through the fourth quarter with five fouls while the Oilers lost sophomore Carly Campbell with her fifth foul with less than a minute left on the game clock. The Shells racked up 17 fouls whereas the Oilers totaled 18.
The Shells and Oilers faced off early in the season on Nov. 22 at the Dupo Cat Classic with the Shells taking a 58-34 decisive win over the Oilers. They met again at the Candy Cane Classic at Gibault on Dec. 18 with the Shells taking a 56-29 win over EA-WR.
"I'm very happy with our team," said Campbell. "Our performance was good. You see the difference between our first two games against the Shells compared to how we played tonight, you can see we put in a lot of effort. We put our heart into this game and we came out strong. Tonight Brandi (Lacey) showed up and she brought her game. It brought the rest of us up with her. Our defense was very alert and we were able to slow Sheraka down. She's had a great senior season."
The Shells now travel to Marquette Catholic High School at 7:30 p.m. Thursday. The Oilers will play host to Litchfield, also at 7:30 p.m. Thursday.
ROXANA 47, EA-WR 43
EA-WR 10 12 14 7 — 43
ROXANA 12 11 12 12 — 47
EA-WR (4-14) — Kari Westbrook 8, Brandi Lacey 16, Carly Campbell 6, Courntey Beneke 7, Mardelia Bolden 6. 2FG — 11 3FG — 4 FT — 9 PF — 18
ROXANA (12-9) — Emma Lucas 4, Erica Sheets 5, Hannah Rexford 8, Maddy Shereka 13, Sara Kreutztrager 8, Abby Palen 7, Cindy Scroggins 2. 2FG — 14 3FG — 3 FT — 10 PF — 17