Girls’ basketball: No. 10 Edison blows past No. 19 Mount Vernon with second-half surge

With her team trailing by seven points at halftime Friday night, Edison Coach Dianne Lewis asked the tenth-ranked Eagles where their heart and passion had gone. They had missed seven free throws and turned the ball over five times in the second quarter, and for the most part looked out of sync.

The Eagles hadn’t played a game since their loss in the Junior Orange Bowl Classic final in Miami almost two weeks ago, and they were noticeably sluggish. But with a strong full-court press, the visiting Eagles held No. 19 Mount Vernon to 15 second-half points and turned what was a tight game into a 62-39 rout.

“It was just a turnaround of mental focus and passion,” Lewis said. “I challenged them at halftime. I told them, ‘They’re outplaying and outhustling you. And if you want to lose the game, you’re playing like it.’”

Senior Tatianna Torres had 26 points and nine rebounds to lead Edison, and Jessica Harris scored 16.

The senior standouts have known each other since they were nine years old. They spent three years on the same Cardinal AAU team, and when they landed at the same school this season, the fit was perfect. From the minute Torres stepped into the system, the players saw her leadership skills and voted her as one of the team’s captains.

“They really welcomed me with open arms,” Torres said. “You could feel the team bond and family bond because they won the regionals a year before. It’s been a great fit.”

Torres and Harris have quickly become an integral part of a team that advanced to the Virginia AAA quarterfinals last season.

On Friday, Harris followed Lewis’s halftime speech by telling her teammates to play more like Torres, who had seven points in the first half.

“We were doing everything wrong in the first half,” Harris said. “We weren’t hustling and we weren’t making the shots we usually make.”

The Eagles (9-2) repeatedly attacked the basket in the third quarter and shot 12 for 15 from the free throw line to grab a five-point lead. The constant driving forced three Lady Majors to pick up four fouls.

“They did exactly what I asked them to do,” Lewis said.

Mount Vernon’s leading scorer, DJ JeanPierre, fouled out with seven minutes left in the fourth. With the Majors’ top ballhandler out, Edison forced seven turnovers in the final period and held Mount Vernon (6-3), which knocked off No. 13 Oakton on Thursday, to eight points.

Senior Samantha Porter scored a team-high 16 points for Mount Vernon in the loss.

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