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Edwardsville digs out of hole against Collinsville to claim 17th consecutive regional title

Edwardsville digs out of hole against Collinsville to claim 17th consecutive regional title

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Illinois Class 4A Regional Final: Edwardsville vs Collinsville

Edwardsville's Kylie Burg (15) attempts a contested shot at a the Class 4A Collinsville Regional Final girls basketball game on Friday, February 21, 2020 at Collinsville High School in Collinsville, Illinois. Ben Loewnau, Special to STLhighschoolsports.com

COLLINSVILLE — Katelynne Roberts knew she and her Edwardsville High girls basketball teammates survived a tough game Friday.

While the scoreboard showed a 50-40 win for the Tigers over host Collinsville to win the Class 4A Collinsville Regional title at Vergil Fletcher Gym, it was by no means routine.

In what turned out to be the final game for coach Lori Billy, Collinsville came out firing and led by double digits in the first half and as many as nine in the third quarter before Edwardsville found its way back and won its 17th consecutive regional title.

Box: Edwardsville 50, Collinsville 40

“We just had to play our game and we just had to work together as a team,” Roberts said. “We had to play just as hard as they were. We had to (match their intensity). It could have been our last game, too.”

The Tigers (27-1, No. 1 in STLhighschoolsports.com large-schools rankings) advanced to face O'Fallon (27-5) at 7 p.m. Monday at Belleville West in a Pekin Regional semifinal.

Tied 33-33 to start the fourth quarter against Collinsville (16-14), sophomore Sydney Harris buried a 3-pointer and Roberts added a conventional 3-point play to help Edwardsville take the lead for good.

Collinsville led 23-11 midway during the second quarter thanks to making five 3-point goals before Edwardsville pulled to within 23-18 by halftime.

“It's never easy to play a good team three times,” Tigers senior guard Que Love said of the Southwestern Conference rival Kahoks. “They were very aggressive, especially in the first half. We just stuck together, did what we do best and executed and we got this win.”

Love led Edwardsville with 15 points and Roberts finished with 10 points.

With the win, Edwardsville is 31-1 against Collinsville since Jan. 2006. The Kahoks' lone win in that span came by a 70-68 score at Fletcher Gym in Jan. 2015. 

“I don't know if it was that slow of a start, or if they just had that fast of a start,” Tigers coach Lori Blade said. “They were just hitting everything from the 3-point line. Luckily, they weren't hitting the twos. Our kids battled. Kudos to (Collinsville). They played hard and I wouldn't have expected anything less in their own gym with the seniors that they've got and the grit that they played with.”

Collinsville has six regional titles. Its last came during the 2003-04 season. 

Senior post player Kristyn Mitchell led Collinsville with 12 points while senior guard Faith Liljegren added nine.

“They gave it everything they had, heart and soul,” Billy said. “We thought we had a pretty decent game plan and we thought we executed really well, especially the first half. We were a little dry with shots in the second quarter, but we were able to maintain the lead into the half.”

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