St. Edward savors 1st regional title since 2011

As Madelyn Spagnola, Madison Knott and the rest of the St. Edward girls basketball team sat through classes Thursday, it was hard for their minds to be focused on their studies.

After all, they were playing for the school's first regional championship since 2011 later that night.

"It was all nerves, all the time," Spagnola said. "Throughout the day I was just really prepared and excited for this."

She wasn't alone.

"I talked to my friends in the hallway, and they were nervous throughout the whole day," Knott said. "Not only for the 3-point shootout, but for the game itself."

The Green Wave's nerves never really showed, as they clamped down defensively, forcing 28 turnovers and beating Guerin Prep for the third time this season, 59-29, in the Guerin Class 2A regional championship.

St. Edward (24-5) advances to play the winner of Clark and Holy Trinity in the sectional semifinal Tuesday at Guerin.

"You always worry when you're going to play a team for the third time in one season," St. Edward coach Michelle Dawson said. "We worked really hard all week on our defense and trying to pinch and stop their penetration into the paint and I think we played a really solid defensive game tonight and that's what we wanted to do."

The Wave forced turnovers on Guerin's first three possessions of the game, hitting two 3-pointers. Guerin committed 11 turnovers in the first quarter, as St. Edward opened a 17-5 lead after the first eight minutes.

But the St. Edward players weren't satisfied with their performance in the quarter.

"I personally don't think it was our best start," said Spagnola, who finished with a game-high 23 points. "I think our nerves got to us in the first quarter and we didn't have the offense and defense we wanted."

Offensively in the first quarter, the Wave didn't show their nerves. St. Edward went 5-of-8 from beyond the 3-point line with Spagnola and Knott knocking down two apiece.

Knott credited the 3-point shootout before the game for allowing her to get up a couple of extra pregame shots.

"It was big," Knott said. "IHSA only gives us 15 minutes to warm up. (Wednesday) I only had four or five shots put up before the game started. It was good to get my hands in the right direction."

Now, the Green Wave look to keep their nerves intact for Tuesday.

"I think we need to learn how to not be nervous," Knott said. "Then we'll succeed"

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