MORRISTOWN - The Shadyside Tigers - fresh off their OVAC Class 2A title - took the first step toward what they hope will be an extended run in the Division IV postseason Saturday evening.
After racing out to a commanding 21-6 lead after one quarter, the Tigers coasted to a 70-26 victory against Caldwell at Union Local High School.
"I was happy with how we took care of our business early," Shadyside coach Tina Yates said. "We played well early and were able to put it on cruise late."
It was the Tigers' first outing in a week, but that was well received rest for the Tigers, who battled their way through one of the toughest schedules in the area.
"We needed to recover a little bit," Yates said. "We'd been working hard, but it was nice to finally get back on the court and play, too."
With the dynamic senior duo of Karli Bonar and Hayley Holenka leading the way, the Tigers asserted themselves right from the start.
Bonar cashed in four, first-half treys en route to 17 points in the first 16 minutes. Holenka, meanwhile, added nine in the first half. Plus, she turned in her usual lockdown defensive performance.
Shadyside (16-7) owned a 42-14 lead at the intermission and was up 65-21 after three.
"I was glad with how we continued to play hard once the game got a little bit out of hand," Yates said. "I thought we got up and down the floor well. It's nice to get this first one behind us."
Yates and the Tigers were between a rock and a hardplace in terms of trying to get their work done without seeming as if they're running the score up on an inferior team.
"Those are tough ones," Yates said. "What do you do? You still have to go out and encourage your kids to keep playing hard, keep moving, keep screening and keep defending. I thought we were able to get things done and we'll move on to the next one."
Bonar led all scorers in the game with 22 points. She buried five more triples, raising her total to 340. She stuffed the stat sheet with four rebounds, six assists and three steals. Holenka added 19 points and six steals.
Junior Toni Andes added 14 points. Kenzie Fielding scored six and snagged nine rebounds. Senior Kristen Fijalkowski had seven rebounds and three steals.
"The girls looked for each other and played very unselfishly," Yates said.
Shadyside also received a lift with the return of senior Lauren May. She played in her first game since her sophomore year after being cleared medically. She returned and scored a bucket, but she logged quality minutes.
Caldwell, which produced nary a double-figure scorer.
Megan Deval scored six to pace the Redskins, who end their season with a 3-20 record.
The next will come at 6 p.m. Thursday in the upper bracket sectional final. The winner of that game will advance to the district tournament at New Philadelphia High School.