But it was visiting Edison’s ability to play through a late run by host Western Reserve that proved decisive in Tuesday’s 45-34 win for the Chargers in a key non-league game in Collins.
And, in improving to 11-4 overall, the Chargers may have earned a better seed at a loaded district draw on Feb. 3 in a field that includes state-ranked Margaretta, Seneca East, Crestview and the Roughriders (10-3).
“When you can come in on the road and get a win against a very quality team, it was huge for sectionals and seeding,” Edison coach Tracy Moyer said. “We have a senior-laden team that doesn’t have any quit in them, and they are playing like it.”
In a sluggish first half for both teams, Edison led 15-11 at the break. But guard Aliyah Caporini scored five of the Chargers’ 12 points in the third quarter, and the ‘Riders struggled in getting just one field goal by Emma Blankenship and a pair of free throws by Cora Wyers in the eight minutes.
That allowed Edison to open up a 27-15 lead.
“It’s been a few games in a row now where we’ve really struggled to score,” Western Reserve coach Brenda Friend said. “I didn’t feel like we played with any energy on Friday (at Mapleton) or tonight.
“We’re not getting enough movement off the ball to create any easy shots,” she added. “But credit Edison, they came in here with a nice team and were ready to play. They really executed when they needed to and made shots.”
To start the fourth, Western made its lone run of the night.
Avery Tubbs scored, and three straight free throws after empty Edison possessions from McKenna Woodruff closed the deficit to 29-23 with 5:56 left.
The two teams again traded baskets, with an Isabella Duchette score bringing the ‘Riders to within six points again at 31-25 with 5:04 left.
“It took a lot of energy just to get within six,” Friend said.
But Edison got a quick answer, as Hannah Vitaz scored inside the paint just 17 seconds later — then after a Western miss, Alana Fidler also scored on a driving basket to make it 35-25 with 2:50 left in the game.
A pair of free throws by Emma Blankenship with just 46.1 seconds left made it 41-34, which was the closest Western got again.
“That was a key moment, because we didn’t shrink,” Moyer said of the final five minutes. “We got the ball, came down and were able to score off a solid possession right away to answer. We didn’t panic or turn it over, which we had started to do there early in the quarter.
“That’s just huge growth for us, because that hasn’t happened before this season,” she added. “We took a huge step tonight. That alone is going to really help us down the road.”
Fidler and Caporini each scored 12 points for the Chargers, while Vitaz added eight points.
“They aren’t making stupid mistakes, not pouting when things go bad,” Moyer said of her team. “They just keep plugging away and have gotten better as the season’s gone on.”
For Western, Cora Wyers had 14 of the team’s 34 points. Blankenship added seven points, while both Tubbs and Wodruff each scored five.
“Avery had some good moments and Emma played solid,” Friend said. “She played with a sense of urgency and sparked us.”
Western Reserve entertains Plymouth on Saturday in a Firelands Conference game, while Edison host Huron.
Aliyah Caporini 4-4—12; Mariah Medina 1-0—3; Deana Blatnik 1-0—2; Molly Houser 1-2—4; Alana Fidler 5-2—12; Hannah Vitaz 3-2—8; Jess Stoll 1-2—4. TOTALS 16-12—45.
W. RESERVE (10-3)
Katie Hipp 0-1—1; Avery Tubbs 2-1—5; Isabella Duchette 1-0—2; McKenna Woodruff 1-3—5; Emma Blankenship 3-1—7; Cora Wyers 4-6—14. TOTALS 11-12—34.
Edison 8 7 12 18 — 45
W. Reserve 3 8 4 19 — 34
3-point FGs: (E) Medina