Edison State women earn second straight national berth


PIQUA — Win or lose, Edison women’s basketball coach Tim McMahon never loses his sense of humor.

Of course, it has been a long time since he lost a game.

You have to go back to Feb. 1, 2020 when the Chargers lost to Lakeland — since then, the Edison State has reeled off 39 straight wins and earned a second straight trip to nationals with a 74-55 win over Bryant & Stratton Saturday in the Great Lakes District C championship game — the third time in school history the women have advanced to nationals.

Two years ago, the national tournament was postponed by Covid.

“Maybe, we will actually let us play this time,” McMahon said with a wry smile.

And while Edison State’s offense has dominated all season —averaging over 95 points a game, it was the defense that turned the tables on the Bobcats Saturday.

A week ago, Edison had jumped out to a 15-0 lead on the Bobcats, only to see Brighton & Stratton closed within 75-71 late in the game.

So, the Chargers were very determined the same thing would not happen again.

“When coach Martin (assistant coach Doug Martin) and I went over the films with the girls, we talked about taking away 2 (Jada Austin) and 15 (Abby Spalding) away and make somebody else beat us,” McMahon said. “They (Brighton & Stratton) scored 80 on us in that game. I said they couldn’t beat us if we held them under 60 and they scored 55. It was our best defensive effort of the year).”

There was a little deja vu in the early going.

With Audra Schaub, Madd Bakosh and Kailah Johnson all hitting 3-pointers and Allison Siefring, Whitney Staggs and Johnson all hitting field goals, Edison led 15-3.

But, when Chy’Rah Smith-Isom scored the first six points of the second quarter, Edison’s lead was trimmed to 21-19.

The Chargers responded by outscoring the Bobcats 19-2 the rest of the half to take a 40-21 at the break and they were never seriously challenged after that.

“I think we just stepped up,” Staggs, the tournament MVP, said. “I think we forced some steals and were able to get some easy baskets.”

Johnson agreed.

“The focus all week was our defense and we were able to shut them down.”

Like all season, the balance was there for the Chargers.

Johnson had 20 points and seven rebounds and Staggs added 17 points and 15 rebounds.

Siefring had 17 points and 12 rebounds and Bakosh added 13 points and four steals.

“I think we are hard to stop,” McMahon said. “Early in the game, they focused on Kailah Johnson and other girls stepped up.”

Austin had 20 points, seven rebounds and five assists for the Bobcats.

Smith-Ison had 14 points and seven rebounds and Spalding scored seven points.

Edison was 26 of 60 from the floor for 43 percent, including four of 10 from 3-point range for 40 percent. The Chargers made 18 of 29 free throws for 62 percent.

Bryant & Stratton was 23 of 63 from the floor for 37 percent, including two of 19 from long range for 11 percent. The Bobcats made seven of 12 free throws for 62 percent.

Edison won the battle of the boards 50-32 and both teams had 19 turnovers.

And while the Chargers are 29-0, they are not satisfied.

“It is amazing to be going to nationals,” Staggs said. “But, our goal wasn’t just to get to nationals — our goal is to win the national title. I am looking forward to facing some different players (after playing OCCAC teams two or three times). But, we have to ready. Because, all we have played is conference teams.”

McMahon knew Saturday would be a battle.

“They (Brighton & Stratton) won eight straight games after we beat them the first time,” McMahon said. “Then, we beat them last week and they had lost until today. So, there last three losses came against us”

And it was deja vu for the McIver family.

Two years ago, Brogan McIver was cutting down the nets.

Saturday, it was her sister Riley McIver.

“I had no doubt about it,” McIver said about the team going to nationals. “Especially, with the players we have coming back. I feel like I will be playing for her (Brogan), since she didn’t get to play.”

Something, McMahon hasn’t forgotten.

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