The Tigers' Mia Semith.EDWARDSVILLE - The Edwardsville basketball girls had balanced scoring and held O'Fallon to only four players scoring in a Southwestern Conference game Tuesday night at home against O'Fallon. However, the Panthers, defending IHSA Class 4A state champions pulled out a highly competitive 49-38 win over the Tigers at Lucco-Jackson Gym.

The Tigers gave the Panthers everything they wanted and played hard throughout the game. In the end, O'Fallon's experience won the day for them, but Edwardsville head coach Bryan Young was very proud of his team and their efforts on Tuesday.

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Ellie Neath led the Tigers with nine points, while Mia Semith had seven points, Sophie Shapiro scored six points, Lainey McFarlin came up with five points, Blakely Hockett, Layne Logan and Molly Peel all had three points and Gabby Cook had two points.

Haeli Tart led O'Fallon with 16 points, while Josie Christopher added 15 points, D'Myjah Bolds had 10 points and Carolyn Foster scored eight points.

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"The girls did play hard, and they competed," Young said. They're (O'Fallon) a tough team to play against, they have a lot of talent and they're very well-coached. I think it all boiled down to them being a confident group. And they are the state champions. They had championship players making championship plays. There was no quit in our girls. I'm very proud of them tonight."

Indeed the Tigers kept plugging away at the Panthers, refusing to surrender, much to their credit. O'Fallon, however, is a very well-coached team that has some similarities to another SWC opponent.

"They're very well-coached, much like Alton," Young said, "who we played against last week. And the good thing is, we get to play against (Belleville) East at home. So we get to practice one day, and we get a game to compete in on Thursday."

The Panthers held an 11-9 lead after the first quarter, then slightly increased the lead to 20-16 at halftime, took control in the third quarter and led 38-25 at the end of the period, with Edwardsville outscoring O'Fallon in the final period 13-11, but the Panthers came out on top 49-38.

The Panthers are now 7-1, while the Tigers go to 2-6 and do host Belleville East on Thursday at 7:30 p.m., then have a long layoff until traveling to Normal Community on Dec. 16 in a 1 p.m. tip-off, then go into the Visitation Christmas Tournament, a premier tournament in the St. Louis area, starting Dec. 19.

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