EDWARDSVILLE – Marquette Catholic's preparation for Metro East Lutheran paid off well for the Explorers Tuesday night.
“We scouted Metro and had seen them twice,” Explorer coach Lee Green said. “We knew they were going to play zone, so we prepared in practice all day yesterday for a zone.”
End result: A 55-48 Explorer win over the Knights at Hooks Gym in a Prairie State Conference game.
The win put the Explorers at 9-10 on the year; the Knights dropped to 4-9.
“We put in some new stuff and really wanted to insert Peyton Kline as much as we could because she's our best three-point shooter,” Green said. “What we try to do is we want to speed the game up. Metro played great tonight; I give a lot of credit to them. There's a reason why we couldn't keep in front a lot of times because (Ellen Schulte) had a really good game and (Sami Kasting) – they did a good job.”
Schulte ended up with 27 points thanks, in part, from a 9-for-16 night at the free-throw line, while Kasting had 11 points for MEL.
“We're starting to do the little things correctly,” said Knight coach Rob Stock. “It'll come – we're not quite there yet.”
Marquette grabbed hold of the lead early on and pulled away from the Knights; MEL rallied to make things close but could never get over the hump. “I think we had to expend too much energy and couldn't quite get over that hump to get back totally.
“Their trap was really effective and we couldn't handle the ball well enough to get them out of it; if we could have made one good pass out of that trap, it would have been a lot easier the rest of the night. I thought we played well; I think we're getting there, we're getting closer. We needed to shoot free throws a little bit better tonight and rebound a little bit better.”
Kline led the Explorers with 19 points on a 5-for-12 night behind the three-point arc; Lauren Fischer added 11 points while Madi Connors and McKenzie Jones each had six points. In addition to Schulte's and Kasting's efforts, Ashlee Robinson added eight points for MEL.
Marquette hosts Roxana Thursday night, then travels to Carrollton to open the Carrollton Tournament against top-ranked Lebanon Saturday afternoon. The Knights travel to East Alton-Wood River for a game this evening, then host Lutheran North in a game postponed from last week before meeting Brussels Saturday night in an opening-round game of the Carrollton Tournament.