Girls Basketball: Edwardsville ends Loyola’s seasonLoyola's Michelle Ricolcol (10) goes up for a shot over Edwardsville's Ashia Jones (24) in the IHSA Class 4A semi-final game on Friday, March 2, 2012 in Normal. | Joel Lerner~Sun-Times Media
Updated: March 2, 2012 10:56PM
NORMAL – It was a case of too much Emmonnie Henderson and too little Loyola.
Henderson, Edwardsville’s 6-foot-2 junior forward, had her way with the smaller Ramblers, forcing her way to 15 points and 20 rebounds to lead the Tigers to an easy 51-34 victory in Friday’s final IHSA Class 4A semifinal at Redbird Arena.
Henderson had nine points and 10 rebounds in the first half, almost single-handedly outrebounding Loyola, which managed just 11 boards during the first 16 minutes.
“Their physicality was the difference,” Loyola coach Jeremy Schoenecker said. “They pushed us around a little bit. They weren’t fouls. They were just more physical than us. The last three or four days we talked about keeping them off the glass, but we didn’t do that very well. That’s why we lost by 17 points.”
Edwardsville (34-1) built a 17-10 lead midway through the second quarter and continued to build its advantage, enjoying a 25-14 halftime bulge and extending to a 34-14 lead with 2:39 remaining in the third quarter on two free throws by Sydney Bloch.
Henderson was only 1 of 7 from the floor and had just six points in the second half, but by that time, the game was well out of reach.
“It’s just natural-given talent,” she said about her size and athleticism. “I have to give my team credit. They help me out a lot. When I see a team that’s smaller than us, I do think that we have to take advantage of our size. But you can’t underestimate anybody. Even if they’re small, you cannot underestimate any team.”
Loyola (26-8) was held scoreless for the first seven minutes of the third quarter until Anna Schueler hit a short jumper in the lane to pull the Ramblers within 34-16. The Ramblers got nine points each from Schueler and Lauren Kriz (nine rebounds). Kathleen Stralka added seven points.
“They were just a really physical team,” Stralka said. “We didn’t exactly play our game. We let them set the tempo. They were pushing inside all night. We could have run up and down the court a little more. I was disappointed in our rebounding,”
Loyola was outrebounded 51-25 and shot just 23 percent (10 of 44) from the field.
“Our shots didn’t fall this game,” Schueler said. “If we had shot better, it might have been a different outcome.”
Edwardsville, which won for the first time in four trips to state, will meet Whitney Young (33-0) for the Class 4A title today at 8:15 p.m.
“I thought we did a good job on the boards, contesting their shots and making them rush their shots,” Edwardsville coach Lori Blade said. “Our defense was solid, as it has been throughout. Sometimes it just comes down to who’s playing well at the time. Sometimes it comes down to the draw.”
Loyola will play Bartlett (31-2) for third place at 6:30 p.m.