Edgewood girls basketball topples Aberdeen, 55-29, behind Sam Donovan's strong outing

Dec. 11—By Sam Cohn —

PUBLISHED:December 11, 2023 at 8:27 p.m.| UPDATED:December 12, 2023 at 11:38 a.m.

Edgewood girls basketball goes as Sam Donovan goes. Thus was the case early and often in the Rams' defiant 55-29 win at Aberdeen on Monday.

The game's opening possessions featured a pair of steals that gave way to five quick Donovan points. By the time the Rams jumped out to a 12-0 lead, Donovan had scored or assisted on every basket, her fingerprints clearly marked all over the contest. It took six minutes for Edgewood to score a point without her touching the ball.

"I feel like a lot of it was just good passing, looking up for teammates and helping everybody out," said Donovan, who mixed in layups and dribble pull-ups from all over the hardwood.

When the clock wound down the final seconds of the first half, Donovan, back to the basket from the opposite baseline flung a turnaround full-court prayer. For a moment, the shot put style release looked good. It soared on target. When the ball fell just short, fans and parents turned to one another, nearly shocked it didn't drop.

The way she had been playing to that point — scoring at will complemented by a catalog of assists — sinking an 80-footer wouldn't have come as too much of a shock. Donovan ended up finishing with a team-high 15 points, seven assists and a pair of steals.

"She's relentless," Edgewood coach Wes Laguerre said. "Not only is she a leader on the court but she also brings everybody together. Her speed, her skillset, it's just amazing to watch and fun to watch. She's only a sophomore; we're excited for [her future]."

Donovan laid the groundwork Monday night. An early lead doesn't come without her. So much so that when foul trouble forced Laguerre to relegate his starting point guard to the pine for a pair of four minute stretches, Aberdeen pounced on some disarray and cut the deficit.

Laguerre wasn't letting that slide.

Edgewood got conservative on offense without Donovan on the floor. The Rams missed out on loose balls and, in stretches, had more turnovers than points. Laguerre calmed them down at the break, addressing those issues between halves.

Early in the third quarter Aberdeen snuck up to a one possession game. It was 26-24 before Edgewood's 29-5 race to the final horn.

"They came out and answered," Laguerre said of his girls. "That's kind of the MO of our team: bend don't break. They showed that right there."

Donovan mentioned much of the recovery came down to applying a more consistent defensive pressure and managing to come down with rebounds, noting a 17-7 rebounding margin at the half.

Some of the second-half run proved the Rams don't need all 36 minutes worth of Donovan's dominance to win games — even against an Aberdeen team that Laguerre said they haven't beaten in more than a decade. She's crucial in setting the table, even aligning some of the silverware. But her teammates are surely capable of helping finish the meal.

"When she comes out, we're blessed to have more ball handlers and more athletes like [senior] La'Kel Davis," Laguerre said. "We have other girls .... it's a long list. If someone were to get hurt or get in foul trouble, it's next girl up and they answered today."

Davis shouldered the load of the second-half scoring with Aberdeen sending multiple defenders toward Donovan. Davis had 14 points, 12 of which came in the second half and five came in a crucial stretch absent her backcourt mate. Four steals and six assists rounded out her impressive performance.

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