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Red Knights bounce back, hold off Edison

AGGRESSIVE DEFENSE — Edison’s Olivia Huff blocks and fouls Toronto’s Kennedy Cottrell on Thursday. -Joe Catullo

TORONTO — Toronto had a little more left in its gas tank than Edison did down the stretch.

The pesky Wildcats proved to be a thorn in the side of the Red Knights for a good bit of the game, as they turned a double-digit deficit into a one-point advantage. However, the Red Knights licked their wounds, regrouped and pulled away for a 56-41 victory in the first matchup of the season of the Jefferson County rivals Thursday night.

The Red Knights led by as many as 11 points, but the Wildcats battled back and took the lead twice in the third quarter. Edison was running on empty, though, while Toronto sill had plenty left, as the victors ended the game on an 18-2 run.

“They were a thorn in our side,” Toronto (4-2) head coach Rusty Hodgkiss said. “They’re tough. There is no doubt about it. They are a tough bunch.

“I thought we smacked them in the mouth early. They had a chance to go away, but they did not. We were up 13-3, then they came back and tied it at 33 and then they took the lead. They are a much-improved team. Coach (John) Visser deserves a lot of credit.”

The Wildcats (0-5) keep battling, but thus far they have been unable to get all the way over the hump and come away with a much-needed win.

“It came down to execution,” Visser said. “We knew they were going to do run outs, but we could not stop it.”

The Red Knights took a 10-point lead in the first quarter, but the Wildcats fought their way back and pulled to within five points. After its lead was cut in half, Toronto regrouped and pushed its lead to a game-high 11 points in the second quarter.

Though down, Edison was not out. The Wildcats scratched and clawed their way back and tied the score before eventually taking a 36-35 lead on a 3-pointer by Savanna Ankrom. The hosts responded with a 3 of their own by Kendal Thomas to regain the lead before Alysea Fiedorczyk sank another from beyond the arc to regain the lead for Edison.

Unfortunately for the Wildcats, Fiedorczyk’s 3-pointer gave them their last lead of the game. The basket also was their last field goal, as the team’s final two points of the night came at the free throw line.

“We just can’t get over that hump,” Visser said. “We took a step forward, but we still are getting tripped up. In the fourth quarter, we tripped up.”

After the Wildcats took the lead, the Red Knights switched up their defensive strategy.

“Coach (Cathie) Thomas came up with a great idea,” Hodgkiss said. “She talked me out of the press. She said the press was helping them, and we need to get out of the press. We got out of the press, and it helped us with two things. First, it helped us get our energy back. Second, it forced them to run the clock. We made them play against our defense. The kids did a nice job staying between them in the basket. They were forced to run clock as they tried to score. Coach Thomas made the call of the night.”

Against the new defense, Edison was outscored, 13-1, in the final quarter.

Maddie Anderson delivered a double-double by tallying a game-high 17 points, while also pulling down a game-high 14 rebounds for Toronto.

“We have been expecting Maddie Anderson to play a game like she played tonight,” Hodgkiss said. “We have been waiting for it. Bless her heart. The last two years she was playing in the post. This year, she is our point guard, and she is doing well. She sees the floor really well. She makes good decisions. If you are open, you are going to get the ball.

“Losing Riley (Kinsey) last night hurt us. We were only able to play six deep on the bench.”

Toronto has played six games this season, and Anderson is the sixth player to lead the team in scoring in a game. Jensyn Jackson netted 15 points for the second-straight night.

Fiedorczyk finished with a team-high 14 points to lead the way for the Wildcats, while Ankrom collected seven.

“They did what they do,” Visser said about the Red Knights. “We tried to coach them up. We did not want them to be able to get run outs. We talked about boxing out and getting loose balls. Those are things we need to fix. Those are things we can fix ourselves. If we are able to do that, we are going to be right there.

“You started to see (us) play with confidence. They started believing, and we knocked down some shots. That is something we can do. We are able to do it, but we don’t do it enough but it something we can do. We just couldn’t throw it into the ocean in the fourth quarter.”

Toronto out-rebounded Edison, 48-31. Along with Anderson’s 14 rebounds, Thomas grabbed 13 rebounds to go along with her nine points. Abby Liddick delivered eight boards and Kianna Beckwith collected seven.

Mikayla Petrisko and Fiedorczyk each pulled down six rebounds to lead Edison, while Olivia Huff finished with five.

The teams will meet for the second time this season on Dec. 21 at Edison.

“We are in each other’s backyard,” Visser said. “I am looking forward to playing them again in nine days.”

GAME NOTES

Edison won the JV game, 13-10. Olivia Fankhauser finished with a game-high 10 points to lead the Wildcats. Abby Grimes scored four points to lead the Red Knights.

UP NEXT

EDISON: Hosts Southern Local with a 2 p.m. JV start on Saturday.

TORONTO: Travels to Beallsville for a 7 p.m. contest.

Toronto 56, Edison 41

Edison 10-14-16-1 — 41

Toronto 17-14-12-13 — 56

EDISON (0-5): Johnson 2 0-0 5; Petrisko 0 0-0 0; Fiedorczyk 5 2-2 14; Ankrom 2 1-2 7; Fankhauser 0 0-0 0; Meadows 0 1-2 1; Grafton 1 2-2 4; Fox 1 0-0 2; Huff 1 3-4 5; Scott 1 1-2 3. TOTALS: 13, 10-14: 41.

TORONTO (4-2): Cottrell 3 1-4 7; Beckwith 0 0-1 0; Liddick 3 2-4 8; Donnelly 0 0-0 0; Anderson 5 7-13 17; Jackson 3 7-9 15; Thomas 4 0-4 9. TOTALS: 18, 17-35: 56.

3-POINT GOALS: Edison 5 (Fiedorczyk 2, Ankrom 2, Johnson); Toronto 3 (Jackson 2, Thomas). REBOUNDS: Edison 31 (Petrisko 6, Fiedorczyk 6); Toronto 48 (Anderson 14).

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