GODFREY – Their last look at Edwardsville this season proved suffocating for the Granite City Warriors.
They saw too many Tigers pouncing all over them Wednesday in a semifinal game of the Class 4A Alton Girls’ Basketball Regional.
Edwardsville used a smothering defense to stifle Granite City, 57-10, and advance to Friday’s regional title game. The 27-0 Tigers, ranked No. 2 in the latest large-school state poll, face 18-10 Pekin at 7 p.m. for the championship. Pekin ousted Alton, 59-38 in the other regional semifinal. Granite City closed 3-24.
“They (Tigers) always play good defense and they did again tonight,” first-year Granite City coach Whitney Sykes-Rogers said. “They are also hard to stop because they have so many weapons.
“We don’t have as many weapons as they do.”
And that weaponry also translated to the defensive side. Granite City made just 3 of 24 shots and committed 34 turnovers. The Warriors scored five points in the first quarter and five the rest of the way. Catherine Jakich led them with five points.
“They are so hard to stop and they also play excellent defense,” Sykes-Rogers said. “They can frustrate you.”
Freshman Rachel Pranger made 9 of 15 shots and scored a game-high 20 points to spur Edwardsville, which defeated Granite City for the third time this season. The Tigers led 10-5 at the end of the first quarter and 28-6 at half.
“I thought we disrupted them with our defense and we got a lot of touches on the ball with our offense,” Edwardsville coach Lori Blade said. “At this point of the season, it’s all about getting to the next game and moving on.”
Edwardsville did that in its quest to secure a 12th consecutive regional championship. The Tigers made 23 of 54 shots, including 13 of 23 the second half. Makenzie Silvey and Criste’on Waters both contributed nine points to back Pranger’s scoring. Waters collected a dozen rebounds and Waters had seven.
Sykes-Rogers said goodbye to six seniors, including Jakich. The Warriors plan to retool for the 2015-16 season.
“We are going to be super young and inexperienced because we will be playing a lot of freshmen and sophomores,” she said. “We will be building for the future, so we have to start somewhere."
She marveled at the way the Tigers defended the Warriors and said that’s a blueprint for Granite City. First things, first, and that starts with guarding.
“We have to work mainly on our defense,” Sykes-Rogers said. “We need to get stronger and find a defense that works for us. If you play good defense, you can be in about every game. That’s what we have to do to be successful.”
CLASS 4A ALTON REGIONAL
EDWARDSVILLE 57, GRANITE CITY 10
Granite City 5 1 2 2 – 10
Edwardsville 10 18 15 14 – 57
Granite City (3-24) – Catherine Jakich 5, Abbie Daily 2, Melanie Joyce 3. 2FG-2 3FG-1 FT-3 PF-12
Edwardsville (27-0) –Aaliyah Box 2, Amayha Dycus 7, Makenzie Silvey 9, Kate Martin 6, Rachel Pranger 20, Criste’on Waters 9, Annie Ellis 2, Rachel Verdun 2. 2FG-22 3FG-1 FT-10 PF-10