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GLEN CARBON - Senior forward Madison Webb led with 19 points, while junior guard Anna McKee added 14 as Father McGivney Catholic jumped to a 21-4 first-quarter lead and went on to a 51-37 win over East Alton-Wood River in a key Prairie State Conference game Monday night at the McGivney gym.

The Griffins went on a 16-0 first-quarter run, and scored 18 unanswered points through the start of the second quarter that was the deciding factor in the game.

"Absolutely," said McGivney head coach Jeff Oller. "I think the girls came out and played defense really well, especially in the full court. We were able to get some traps, the girls were feeding off each other, we were able to get some offense off our defense, which is always good."

The Griffins were so dominant in the first quarter that EAWR called four of its allotted five-time outs in the period alone.

"Yeah, it was just great to see us come out, play defense like that," Oller said. "Offensively, there was great ball movement, we were finding each other in the open spots, taking really good shots."

To the their credit, the Oilers kept playing hard, and early in the second half, were able to cut the deficit to 10 at 29-19, but the Griffins were able to pull away again, going on a 12-6 run in the third to all but put the game away, using good defense and shooting to go on the run.

"We know East Alton's got shooters," Oller said, "they play hard. So we knew that was a possibility. Definitely credit to them for not giving up and keep going at it and trimming that lead down."

The Griffins have bounced back well from a mid-season slump that saw McGivney lose three of four games after starting the season 13-0. The Griffins have now won back-to-back games, and Oller thinks it's a good sign for his team.

"We had a little rough patch there," Oller said, "and saw some adversity. So, the girls really responded. We had four great practices in a row this past week, came in and were ready to go."

Although the Oilers got off to a bad start, the team kept battling throughout, but were unable to overcome the first-quarter outburst.

"Absolutely," said EAWR head coach Joe Parmentier. "You know, our heads weren't in the game tonight. You're going to have nights like that. We couldn't find our rhythm tonight, and give them credit, I mean, they played really well. They've got a really good inside-outside game, and they've got a guard, McKee, and then, you've got a guard, (Charlize) Luehmann. They had some good scorers, and they put good pressure on the ball tonight, and we just didn't handle the pressure."

It was that first quarter that told the story of the game, but the Oilers were able to find their rhythm much better in the second half to make their comeback.

"I mean, we burned four-time outs in the first quarter," Parmentier said. "We just couldn't get in a rhythm tonight, and you know, sometimes, that happens, and then we started finding the rhythm in the second half a little bit better, but by that time, we couldn't come back against a good team like that."

It was still a very good comeback for the Oilers, a testament to their resilience.

"We never quit," Parmentier said. "But you know, we live and die with our 1-3-1 defense, and they attacked our 1-3-1 defense, and tore it up. And so, we had to switch defenses in the second half, and that really seemed to work. But the ball wasn't following, we made a lot of turnovers tonight. We threw the ball away way too much, and I didn't think we did a good job on the boards. But, you know, we'll come back Wednesday night against Carlinville, and we'll be OK."

And the opportunity to bounce back from Monday's loss is a good thing, especially with the Oilers having a good season thus far.

"With this team, we won five straight," Parmentier said, "and we've been playing really good, so we were probably due to have a bad game, and we came out flat tonight, we'll go back at it tomorrow, and we'll be OK."

McKee scored the first basket of the game on a three-pointer on the baseline, but the Oilers came right back to score, and when Hannah Allen hit from inside, it became 5-4 for the Griffins. McGivney then went on its 16-0 run, using its pressure defense to create turnovers that the Griffins were able to cash in on. Webb connected of a pair of free throws, Macy Hoppes hit inside, and Webb scored twice to make it 13-4.

After McKee hit a free throw to make it 14-4, the Oilers called their second time out of the quarter, but Webb and Libby Telthorst scored right after to make it 18-4, forcing another EAWR time out. A free throw from Webb and a steal and score by McKee ended the opening quarter with the Griffins up 21-4.

Early in the second, Hoppes got a steal and scored to make it 23-4 for McGivney, but a three by Aubrey Robinson ended the run and made it 23-7. The two teams then traded baskets and McKee, Robinson and Rachel Maller all hit threes to make the score 29-12 before Leighann Nottke scored right before the halftime buzzer to make it 29-14 Griffins at the interval.

As the second half started, Karli Withers hit a three from the baseline and scored again on the outside to cut the McGivney lead to 29-19, but the Griffins responded with baskets from Webb and Hoppes to bring the lead back to 33-19. After a pair of free throws from Kayla Brantley, McKee hit a three to bring the score to 36-21, and from there, the Griffins outscored the Oilers 5-4 to make it a 41-25 game after three quarters. In the fourth quarter, the Griffins were able to maintain their lead on EAWR, as the Oilers could get no closer than 15 points as the Griffins went on to their 51-37 win.

Besides Webb and McKee, Hoppes had six points for the Griffins, while Maller, Frannie Traubitz and Luehmann all had three points, and Alexis Bond scored two points. The Oilers were led by Robinson's 11 points, while Withers had nine points, Allen scored four points, Nottke had three and Taylor Parmentier, Mallory Martin and Tahani Franklin each had two points for EAWR.

The Griffins are now 16-3 on the year, and host Metro-East Lutheran in a league game Friday night at 7:30 p.m. Also ahead on the schedule are games against Piasa Southwestern, a rematch against Greenville, Madison and Waterloo. Things are looking very positive for the team, and Oller is very optimistic about the road ahead.

"Yeah, I'm happy with where we're at," Oller said. "The girls are continuing, they're not satisfied, they want to do more. So they're coming in and practicing really hard, and trying to get better each day. Really proud of the way the girls played."

The Oilers drop to 11-5, and host Carlinville on Wednesday and are at Springfield Lutheran on Thursday in 7:30 p.m. tip-offs, and also have games coming against Nokomis, Metro-East, Litchfield and Hillsboro, among others. EAWR is still having a good season, and Parmentier won't let a bad game define the team's season.

"We're 11-5, and earlier this season, (McGivney) beat us by, like, 30 points," Parmentier said. "We did alright tonight in the second half, of course, but we've just got to come out of the gate better than we did tonight."

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Dan Brannan also contributed to this story

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