There were plenty of good things from Edgewood High School’s girls basketball team in Monday night’s defeat at the hands of visiting Valley View.
Call it a loss with benefits.
The Cougars ran off the first 10 points of the fourth quarter to shave a 32-21 deficit to 32-31, but senior forward Hunter Stidham carried Valley View to a 40-34 triumph at Ron Kash Court.
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“In the fourth quarter, we just pounded and pounded and got good shots and made defensive stops,” said Edgewood senior guard Cierra Lipps, who had 5 of her 7 points in the last period. “I knew we were going to come back. Just the energy in this place was really nice. I knew we had a chance to come back and win.”
Zoe Stephen had 11 points for the Cougars (9-8) in the nonconference affair. Emma Allen and Callie Hunt also marked 7 points apiece, adding seven and five rebounds, respectively.
Edgewood led 9-0 late in the first stanza before finding itself down by 11 heading into the final eight minutes.
“It was probably the most intense effort we’ve had all year long,” Cougars coach Greg Brown said. “Nobody’s happy losing, but it’s about effort and attitude, and these are things we wanted to correct because we’ve seen them going south a little bit. The girls came out and responded. I’ll give the credit to them.”
It was a 36-34 contest in the last 30 seconds when Edgewood misfired on a 3-pointer. Stidham converted four straight free throws from there for the Spartans (15-1), who are ranked third in the latest Associated Press Division II state poll.
Stidham, who’s headed to Maryville (Mo.) University, tallied 25 points, 10 rebounds and three assists. She scored all 8 Valley View points in the fourth quarter.
“Stidham’s the real deal,” Brown said. “If she wants to score, she’s going to score. We just couldn’t stop her.”
Chloe Smith contributed 9 points for the winners, who entered the game with a 58.3 scoring average. Spartans coach Steve Dickson credited the Cougars for their defensive tenacity.
“Man, they’re scrappy. They play a good, hard defense,” Dickson said. “Some girls who usually score a few more points didn’t quite get some shots off tonight, and that’s because of their defense. Fortunately for us, we have No. 32 (Stidham) out there, and that makes a big difference.”
He was pleased with his team’s defensive play as well on a night when Valley View didn’t notch its first field goal until early in the second period.
“We got off to a very slow start … we came out and missed four layups right off the bat,” Dickson said. “But we were 10 for 10 from the line, and we needed every one of those. I also thought our rebounding picked up a lot in the second half.
“I don’t know if we faltered down the stretch. They just hit some good shots. That’s a nice team. It’s a good Division I win for us.”
Abigail Dickson chipped in 4 points, six rebounds and three steals for the Spartans, who will return to Southwestern Buckeye League Southwestern Division play Thursday at home against Brookville.
“I’m proud of our team,” Steve Dickson said. “I’m excited for our kids, and I’m excited that we’re 15-1. It’s been a long time coming. It’s because of hard work and effort and good teamwork most of the time.”
Edgewood sank seven 3-pointers. The Cougars made three in the opening quarter and three in the fourth period.
“When we got paint touches and kicks, that’s when we made shots,” Brown said. “That’s what we talked about at halftime. We needed paint touches and kicks to get the offense moving, and that’s what we did.”
The Cougars will visit Eaton for another nonconference contest Thursday. Edgewood is one game behind first-place Little Miami in the Southwest Ohio Conference and will host the Panthers on Feb. 3.
“When you’re coaching high school sports, what you look at is, are we getting better from Point A to Point B? And we are,” Brown said. “Our focus is more league-oriented, but you want to win every game that you can. We had an opportunity to win the game tonight with a shot and we missed it, but we played 32 minutes. I’ll take that.”
Valley View 2-17-13-8—40
VALLEY VIEW (15-1): Abigail Dickson 2 0 4, Chloe Smith 3 2 9, Hunter Stidham 7 8 25, Lauren Legate 1 0 2. Totals: 13-10-40
EDGEWOOD (9-8): Zoe Stephen 4 0 11, Cierra Lipps 3 0 7, Emma Allen 2 1 7, Callie Hunt 3 0 7, Sam Turner 1 0 2. Totals: 13-1-34
3-pointers: V 4 (Stidham 3, Smith), E 7 (Stephen 3, Allen 2, Lipps, Hunt)