GODFREY – Jordann Wilson returned briefly to the Alton High’ girls basketball lineup Thursday. That didn’t make much difference to visiting Edwardsville.
The unbeaten Tigers capped a 26-0 regular-season by rolling by the Redbirds, 58-34 in a Southwestern Conference game. Edwardsville, ranked No. 3 in the latest Associated Press Class 4A state poll, finished 14-0 in the SWC. The Tigers have won 89 conference games, covering more than six seasons.
“Give credit to Edwardsville. They are a great team and have set the bar high,” Alton coach Bobby Rickman said. “I guarantee you they work harder than about any other team. They have high expectations.”
The Tigers worked hard in frustrating the Redbirds’ offense. Edwardsville led 22-9 at half and 40-14 after three quarters. Edwardsville once owned a 56-21 advantage as Alton dropped to 5-21 and 3-11.
“We were slow starting the game, but we played really well in the second and third quarters,” Edwardsville coach Lori Blade said. “And for the most part, our defense was good.”
Junior LaJarvia Brown scored a team-high 10 points, all in the fourth quarter. Teammates Konnie Miller (eight points) and Chayvon Buckingham (seven points) also contributed to the cause. The Birds welcomed back 5-foot-5 senior guard Jordann Wilson, who missed the first 25 games following surgery to her left knee.
Wilson played four minutes in the first quarter, then sat out the rest of the game. She took one shot and didn’t score.
“It’s a blessing to be able to come back and play,” Wilson said.
However, she may have re-injured her knee, and that’s why Rickman didn’t put her back into the game.
“I just tweaked it,” Wilson said. “It must have been the way I landed on it. I probably won’t play in the regional next week and just get ready for college basketball next year.”
That could be at Lewis and Clark Community College. Trailblazers’ coach Jaron Young attended Thursday’s game.
Rickman said, “It was Senior Night and we wanted to give Jordann an opportunity to play. She kind of landed the wrong way on her knee, so we didn’t want to rush it after that.
“We’ll have to take it day-to-day to see if she can play next week.”
The Redbirds made only 12 of 38 shots, including just 3-for-14 in a nine-point first half. Overall, they made 23 turnovers, 17 the first half. They did score 20 fourth-quarter points on 7 of 14 shooting. Alton saluted four seniors: Megan Paulda, Cheriena Mitchell, Miller and Wilson.
Rachel Pranger, a 6-0 freshman, paced Edwardsville with 22 points, 14 in the first half. She made 10 of 14 shots overall. Teammates Makenzie Silvey and Criste’on Waters both pitched in nine points. The Tigers made 23 of 49 shots.
Blade said the Tigers unbeaten regular-season is a tribute to the team, which features just one senior starter. Edwardsville is the lone undefeated girls’ basketball team in the state.
“It’s unbelievable,” she noted. “We have good, competitive kids and there’s a good chemistry among them.”
Both teams are cast in next week’s Alton Regional. The top-seeded Tigers face the Quincy-Granite City winner at 6 p.m. Tuesday. Then Alton challenges third-seeded Pekin at 7:30 p.m. Tuesday.
“There’s nothing better than the postseason in basketball,” Blade said. “You want to be at your best when there’s something on the line.”
EDWARDSVILLE 58, ALTON 34
Edwardsville 14 8 18 18 – 58
Alton 4 5 5 20 – 34
Edwardsville (26-0, 14-0) –Aaliyah Box 3, Amayha Dycus 5, Makenzie Silvey 9, Kate Martin 6, Rachel Pranger 22, Criste’on Waters 9, Rachel Verdun 2, Anne Ellis 2. 2FG-22 3FG-1 FT-13 PF-15
Alton (5-21, 3-11) –LaJarvia Brown 10, Konnie Miller 8, Jewel Wagner 2, Cheriena Mitchell 4, Chayvon Buckingham 7, Ayonna Clanton 2, Megan Paulda 1. 2FG-7 3FG-5 FT-5 Pf-15