A 3-pointer from Danielle Smith pulled St. Paul to within seven points with just over five minutes to play, but the Chargers made 8 of 10 free throws down the stretch en route to a 40-28 non-conference victory Tuesday at the Thunderdome.
“I thought we came out strong,” Edison coach Tracey Moyer said. “We wanted to make sure we pressured their guards, because their guards are so good and such good shooters. We wanted to make sure we made it hard for them to get open, and they just played some seriously shutdown defense and that just keys everything for us, when we can get some stops and get the ball out in transition. If fuels everything else.”
A low-scoring first quarter featured St. Paul’s only lead of the game, as Smith came up with a steal and a layup and Lauren Chandler added a trey to make it 5-3 in favor of the Lady Flyers midway through the quarter. Edison took control with a 6-0 run to close the quarter up 9-5, with baskets from Alana Fidler sandwiching a Hannah Vitaz layup.
The Chargers outscored the visitors 12-3 over the course of the second quarter, with the Lady Flyers’ only points a free throw and a layup from Smith in the quarter’s first two minutes.
It was all Edison from there, starting with a layup from Fidler with 5:50 left in the half. Then the Chargers found Vitaz under the basket, before Mariah Medina came up with a pair of steals for layups around a layup from Aliyah Caporini to close the half, 21-8 in favor of Edison.
Moyer said the steals that Medina and Caporini were able to come up with were a big part of Edison’s success in the first half.
“I told them in the locker room, I go, ‘I just don’t think they knew where you guys were coming from,’” she said. “They’re just so quick — Mariah and Aliyah are both so athletic that they just get in passing lanes like nobody’s business. That was huge, just to keep them off their game just a little bit.”
Caporini opened the third quarter with a 3-pointer to give the Chargers their largest lead of the game, 24-8 with 7:26 left in the quarter, but St. Paul rallied to pull back to within nine before Caporini closed the quarter with a long range buzzer-beating 3-pointer.
Smith, who led St. Paul with 14 points, scored six over the stretch in the third quarter, while Camille Endsley, Megan Hammersmith and Anna Lukasko each added two points to round out the scoring.
“I’m proud of my kids — they played hard,” St. Paul coach Vicky Mahl said. “We had a little rough first half, but the second half they played much better. They came out and they played a little more aggressively, defensive-wise and gave (Edison) some fits. We keep doing that and we’ll be fine. We just got to put the ball in the hole.”
St. Paul outscored Edison 20-19 over the course of the second half, but it wasn’t enough to overcome the early deficit.
Mahl said the improved second half came down to the Lady Flyers’ pride.
“A little bit of pride. A little bit of ‘what do we have to lose? — just go out and play,” she said. “I think it comes down to that. My team, the girls don’t give up. They know when they play not so good and they can usually fix that with some adjustments, but give the credit to the kids. It’s all about their pride and their heart. They work hard everyday and to come out here in a game like this, where it gets a little rough and maybe was let to get a little out of control, they stayed with it, they stayed calm and did what we had to do.”
With St. Paul in the bonus, Hammersmith opened the fourth with a perfect trip to the line, then Smith added her trey to pull the Lady Flyers to within seven, but they could get no closer as Edison closed the game at the free throw line.
Caporini led the Chargers with 12 points, while Fidler added 11.
Edison visits Vermilion Thursday, while St. Paul hosts Mapleton in Firelands Conference action on Saturday.
ST. PAUL (13-6)
Anna Lukasko 1-0—2; Megan Hammersmith 1-5—7; Camille Endlsey 0-2—2; Danielle Smith 5-2—14; Lauren Chandler 1-0—3. TOTALS 8-9—28.
Aliyah Caporini 4-2—12; Lilli Schuster 0-1—1; Mariah Medina 2-5—9; Alana Fidler 5-1—11; Hannah Vitaz 2-3—7. TOTALS 13-12—40.
St. Paul 5 3 12 8 — 28
Edison 9 12 11 8 — 40
3-point FGs: (STP) Smith 2, Chandler; (EDI) Caporini 2