In the first half of Monday night’s Class 5 state semi-final against Freedom-South Riding, Edison shot 10% from the field and could only manage 14 points by halftime.
That was an impressive defensive display by Freedom. What came next was an even more impressive defensive display by Edison.
The Eagles from Springfield held the Eagles from Loudoun to a grand total of one third quarter point, turning a nine-point halftime deficit into a five-point lead en route to an eventual 44-34 victory. Edison’s ability to pressure the ball is well-known, but it was still somewhat shocking how efficient they were at it in the third quarter against an excellent team like Freedom.
“I just said to them [at halftime] the score is 0-0,” Edison coach Dianne Lewis said. “They had their awesome half, and so now we’re going to have our awesome half.”
Edison certainly did, igniting its offense with its stellar defensive play. Lewis’ team seemed to get a tip, deflection, or turnover on half the passes Freedom threw on offense in the third. Then, Edison surged into the lead behind the play of junior point guard Aurea Gingras.
With Edison trailing 25-21 Gingras buried a three-pointer. Then she hit a nice running one-hander to give her team a lead it would never relinquish. In short order the Paul VI transfer then found Charlotte Jewell open for a bucket. On a night where offense was in short supply, Gingras’ spark provided her team a welcome boost.
“She’s been on the big stage,” Lewis said. “I knew she’d be one we could count on.”
“I just thought we needed an offensive spark,” Gingras told us. “It had to come from somewhere and when you have open shots you just want to take them for your team. At halftime a couple of the coaches came to me and said ‘we’re going to need you to score.'”
And so she did. Freedom got going again on offense a little bit in the fourth quarter but it wasn’t enough. Seniors Jaelyn Batts and Morgann Harden each had eight points for Freedom (28-2), which lost but two games all year, both to Edison. Senior Rose Burnham also added six points and nine rebounds.
Gingras, a George Washington University commit, finished with 13 points. Senior Carole Miller, the Eagles’ star forward who is headed to the University of Virginia in the Fall, had 14 points and nine rebounds. Edison now advances to play Princess Anne on Wednesday at 12:30 pm at Siegel Center in the Class 5 State Final. That will be a rematch of last year’s final, which Princess Anne won 61-45.
Princess Anne is a great team, but Edison (26-1) remains confident. One of the reasons is Gingras, who wasn’t on the squad last year. Another one is Edison’s swagger and composure under pressure. The goal was always a return match with Princess Anne in the state final and now the Eagles have gotten their wish.
“We expected them to be there the whole way,” Lewis said of the return match with Princess Anne. “Now we have to go down there and just make it happen.”
all stats are unofficial
|Threes: Evans 1-1, Gingras 1-2, Johns 1-4, Miller 0-1, Jewell 0-2, Bordley 0-2|
|Threes: Scales 1-8, Meador 0-1, Harden 0-2|