After fading late in games often this year, the Edinburgh girls basketball team found a way to close out a tight contest Wednesday night.
The Lancers were up 25 points at halftime of their Class A sectional-opener against Baptist Academy but had to hold off a furious Chargers rally for a 55-44 win at Morristown.
It was Edinburgh’s fifth opening-round win in the past six seasons.
Just 28 seconds into the game, Baptist Academy sophomore guard Madison Shearer hit a deep 3-pointer to put the Chargers up 3-0. It took nearly two minutes for Edinburgh to answer with a trey by Vanessa Hoskins.
The Hoskins basket kicked off a 26-0 run that ran nearly 11 minutes, to the 4:33 mark of the second quarter.
The Lancers (5-18) were patient against the passive Baptist Academy 2-3 zone and found open looks from behind the arc and cutters to the rim for inside shots. On defense, the Lancers used pressure off made baskets to prevent the Chargers from settling down on offense.
By halftime, the Edinburgh lead was up to 34-9. The Chargers hit just three shots from the field in the opening 16 minutes.
The second half was a completely different game, though.
Baptist Academy began applying full-court pressure and quickly forced four turnovers that they turned into a quick 8-0 to start the third period. Its defense forced 11 turnovers in the period, which helped whittle the lead down to 12, at 40-28, as the fourth quarter began.
The Chargers opened the final period with a 9-0 run, capped by a 3-pointer from the wing by senior Rachel Lemaire.
Following a timeout, Edinburgh got back to its inside game. Junior Kayli Littiken hit back-to-back shots from the low block to put the Lancers up 44-37.
A free throw cut the lead to six, but Baptist Academy never got closer again as Edinburgh hit 9 of 13 free throws down the stretch to put the game away.
Edinburgh coach Amy Macy said the late-game composure was a sign of Edinburgh’s young roster maturing.
“If that would have happened earlier in the season, we probably would have lost it. I thought they stuck together and played hard and adapted,” Macy said.
“We’re pretty happy about advancing and having a three-game winning streak now.”
Hoskins led the Lancers with 16 points. Brianna Howard added 10. Edinburgh hit 18 of 51 shots (35.3 percent) and turned the ball over 21 times. They grabbed 48 rebounds, with Mariah Weddle hauling in 11 and Littiken 10.
Shearer had a game-high 28 points on 9-of-19 shooting. Ashley McCrorie had a double-double with 11 points and 16 rebounds. The Chargers (13-11) shot just 23 percent from the field (14 of 61) and had 40 rebounds.
Edinburgh advances to play host Morristown at 7:30 p.m. Friday.