It's hard to keep a good player down for long. Visiting IC Catholic Prep found that out when it came to St. Edward senior guard Madelyn Spagnola.
After being limited to just 2 points in the first half in large part due to early foul trouble that had her on the bench for the entire second quarter, Spagnola quickly made up for lost time as she scored 14 points in the third quarter and finished with a game-high 19 to lead St. Edward to a 54-44 Metro Suburban Blue win over the Knights on Pack the Place night Saturday in Elgin.
The Green Wave (17-4, 6-1) had trailed 27-23 at halftime, but outscored ICCP 19-8 in the pivotal third quarter to take a 42-35 lead into the fourth.
"Maddie doesn't like to sit," St. Edward coach Michelle Dawson said. "I could see her brewing on the bench just waiting to get in. And I'm sure the whole time she was thinking about how she was going to help the team win. We did a good job of staying close while she was out. But when she is on the floor the defense has to be worried about her all the time and that means they are not focusing as much on other players and that frees them up."
Spagnola missed 2 free throws early in the third quarter, but then sank a pair from the line the next time down the floor. She followed that up with a 3-pointer that gave the Green Wave the lead 31-29 with 4:50 left in the quarter. From there it was off to the races. Moments later she converted a 3-point play on a drive to the basket and then added a couple layups in transition before ending the quarter with 2 more free throws.
"I got mad when I had to sit out," Spagnola said. "I couldn't wait to get back out there. I knew we needed a strong third quarter, so I was pushing us hard and trying to take control. We weren't in the flow of the offense in the first half, but we talked about needing to move the ball around better. We only do a Pack the Place night once a year and I definitely wanted to win in my senior year."
The Green Wave defense also stepped in the second half, forcing 14 turnovers and holding ICCP to just 7-of-18 shooting.
"It wasn't our cleanest game," Dawson said. "We had way too many mistakes especially in that first half. But great teams find a way to win even when they are not having their best night. I liked our defensive pressure in the second. That's the type of game we like to play and we have the quickness and depth to do it."
The Knights (10-8, 4-3) pulled to within 42-38 with just over 5 minutes to play, but St. Edward answered back with 3-pointers from Spagnola and Mariel Franco to put the game out of reach.
Katelyn Castoro added 13 points for the Green Wave.
Claire Gibler led the Knights with 15 points.