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Warriors down Blue Streaks to remain unbeaten

Jan. 6—ASHTABULA TOWNSHIP — Kate McColister said her team knew how big Friday's game against Madison was, but that certainly didn't mean they'd be doing anything different than what they've done all season.

The Warriors used the same defensive tenacity they've relied on all season to defeat the Blue Streaks 62-53 in a matchup of unbeaten teams in girls basketball action at Edgewood High School.

"We knew this was a big game,' McCollister said. "We beat Geneva, we beat Perry, we knew Madison would be the next big challenge."

It was a challenge Edgewood was more than ready for, though. The Warriors displayed their style of reckless abandon and defensive intensity on the court for 32 minutes, getting second shot opportunities, creating turnovers and overall frustrating Madison throughout the night.

"Our defense is huge," McCollister said. "Our press causes turnovers, which causes us to get open looks, open layups. Anytime we get a turnover or steal the ball, it gives us energy and keeps us going."

Edgewood coach Randy Vencill said there was no need to change up the game plan, that the team knew what to do.

"I've learned as a coach not to get too tricky," Vencill said. "Just do the things that you do well. Usually the girls respond better to that than trying new things."

Using familiar tactics, Edgewood led 12-10 after the opening eight minutes, but closed the half on an 8-0 run to take a 27-19 lead into halftime.

As if the Edgewood defense was not tough enough to score against, the Blue Streaks also had to play without Sydney Sorber, who had to leave the game early in the second quarter with a possible ankle sprain.

"That impacted us a little bit," Madison coach Heather Reho said. "She brings a lot of energy and she's a leader. But the girls on our bench, they stepped up."

But, the coach also knew exactly what to expect from the Warriors.

"They play a 2-2-1 zone and they're scrappy," Reho said. "They did exactly what we expected."

Aside from the defense, the Warriors received contributions from several different players at the offensive end.

Freshman Faith Vencill had a team-best 14 points, mostly off offensive putbacks as she gathered nine rebounds.

From the perimeter, Avery Vencill and Annie Jonston combined for four 3- pointers, while McCollister had 12 points to go with nine rebounds, two steals and three assists.

Johnston ended with 12 points, while Vencill chipped in with nine.

Coach Vencill said having multiple players that can be effective in different ways is also a big part of the team's success.

"We're very balanced which is great," he said. "No team can just key on one girl. We play total team basketball. They all share, they all get along and love each other and they all want it for each other. I think that's what makes it so good."

Up nine at the half, the Warriors (10-0, 7-0 CVC) used a 6-0 run to push their lead out to 15 with 3:41 to play in the third quarter.

A perimeter shot by Johnston started the run, followed by back-to-back offensive putbacks from Faith Vencill and McKkenna Vencill.

Madison closed it down to 44-33 to end the quarter, getting baskets off turnovers from Claire Wakim and Zoey Delagianis.

But Edgewood went right back to work in the fourth quarter, pushing its margin out again, this time to as much as 20 points at 57-37.

The Blue Streaks (10-1, 5-1 CVC) went on a 12-0 run late in the game, but the 20-point deficit was too much to overcome.

"When we want it, we want it, we just found it a little too little, a little too late," Reho said. "We'll get back to work and get better from here."

For the Warriors, they now know they can defeat anyone in the area.

"This was big for us," McCollister said. "But, we know we still have a lot of work ahead of us."

Wakim led Madison with 19 points to go with a team-best nine boards. Delagianis had 14 points and seven assists.

Both teams will be back in action next Wednesday. Madison will host Painesville Harvey, while Edgewood goes to Conneaut.