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Edwardsville rallies to beat Hazelwood Central

Edwardsville rallies to beat Hazelwood Central

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O'FALLON, ILL. • Edwardsville junior guard Quierra Love did a little bit of everything Wednesday, helping her team to a 40-39 win over Hazelwood Central in the Southern Illinois Shootout Series at O'Fallon High.

From an early offensive outburst, to playing her part in a tough Tigers' defense to coming up with the assist on the game-winning play, Love did it all.

“Over the years, I've been taught to help in any situation in any way I can,” Love said. “Things started a little slow, so I thought I would help out and score a few points just to get the team going. They took it from there.”

Edwardsville (3-0) got the final cushion with a pair of big baskets by freshman Sydney Harris, who scored a game-high 14 points.

The last of Harris' baskets came on a layup that gave the Tigers the lead for good. Harris slashed to the basket, received an inbound pass from Love and laid the ball into the basket with 51 seconds to play.

“Coach (Lori) Blade drew up the play and there was a high screen,” Harris said. “It was overplayed and I cut back door and it was just there.”

The final spurt drew to a close a game which proved to be a fight for the Tigers, who also got 10 points from Love.

Hazelwood Central (3-1) used its size and athleticism to force Edwardsville into mistakes. Sophomore guard Nariyah Simmons led Central with 12 points and junior Jakayla Kirk added 10.

“We didn't play how we wanted to play, not at all,” Hawks coach Chantel Polk said. “We played the way Edwardsville wanted us to play, which was not the best for us. I'm not happy with how we played.”

Hazelwood Central led 14-7 by the end of the quarter and 23-22 at halftime. 

The Tigers had 22 turnovers to Central's 14. Blade said the gutsy effort was important for Edwardsville, who won by 69 and 44 points in its first two games.

“(Central) is so athletic, they're so quick, they're big bodies,” Blade said. “That is something you can't necessarily simulate in practice all the time, so that was a good game for us.”

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