Edison’s team bus pulled up to Riverdale Baptist around 7 p.m. Saturday night, and the team filed into the gym thinking it had just one hour to prepare for its Lady Crusader Holiday Tournament title game clash with Bowie.
But with the tournament significantly backed up due to prolonged consolation games, the Eagles were left waiting in the stands, wondering whether the long layover would cause stale play.
When the game finally tipped off, it was Bowie that came out cold. Sparked by a game-opening 19-0 run, Edison rolled to a 58-47 win in Upper Marlboro.
“It was definitely defense,” said 6-foot senior forward Sheila Sherrill. “[Our press] did really good in the first half.”
Sherrill, who was named tournament MVP, scored 11 of her team-high 15 points in the first half for the Eagles (9-0). Behind an efficient trap-zone press, the Eagles held the No. 13 Bulldogs (7-1) to just six points in the first quarter, and after taking a 36-18 lead into halftime, gave up only eight points in the third quarter.
Bowie entered the night having held opponents to an average of 26.2 points per game this season, but simply couldn’t slow Edison’s offense. Freshman guards Megan Hendrick and Jada Graves added 14 points apiece and adjusted to the physicality of the game. Both players suffered small cuts on their hands, and Hendrick put her shooting hand in a pink wrap after suffering a laceration in the first half.
But Graves finished a perfect 6 for 6 from the free throw line, and Sherrill and Hendrick hit a pair buckets after Bowie cut the lead to 13 with just under three minutes remaining.
“It could’ve been better in the second half,” Sherrill said.
Bowie guard Marshauna Butler (13.3 points per game) finished with 15 and was the only Bulldog to score in double figures. Butler and Bowie’s guards, who have been the centerpiece of the team’s high-octane offense (76.4 points per game) this season, were taken out of rhythm by Edison’s aggressive press.
The Eagles are off to their best start since they opened the 2006-07 season with 11 consecutive wins and reached the Virginia AAA title game.
“Our press is strong, we just have to work on the back side of it,” Hendrick said. “People need to know that we’re better than that. We have the potential to go far.”