Edgewood 6-foot junior Ella Foti didn’t pick up a basketball until practice started this season after missing last year because of a torn ACL.
She returned this season and has helped the Crusaders become one of the top-10 ranked teams in Division 3 this season. Despite Foti’s return, the Crusaders were not completely healthy heading into the season.
Yet, Edgewood (7-4, 4-2 Badger South Conference), ranked 10th in the Division 3 Associated Press state poll, is tied with Watertown for third in the conference.
“She is still limiting herself quite a bit,” Edgewood coach Lora Staveness said of Foti. “She’s trying to get comfortable playing basketball after a year and a half. It’s a mental thing.”
Sophomore Amber Grosse and junior Krista Hanna both missed the first chunk of the season because of broken hands.
“Amber is a good 3-point shooter, can drive and is a bigger body who can defend,” Staveness said. “Krista is another guard who has a real aggressive mindset. We are still learning about each other.”
The Crusaders had a four-game winning streak in December snapped when they took second in the Ab Nicholas Holiday Classic, losing to host Waunakee 58-36 in the championship game Saturday, Dec. 28. Edgewood lost to Watertown 37-35 in the first game of the new year on Friday, Jan. 3.
Grosse returned to action in the Crusaders’ 61-57 road win over Stoughton on Tuesday, Jan. 7.
Edgewood 61, Stoughton 57
Junior Baluck Deang scored a game-high 19 points, and Grosse added 12 points and hit three 3-pointers for the Crusaders.
Sarah Lazar chipped in eight points for Edgewood, which led 33-27 at halftime.
Watertown 37, Edgewood 35
Senior guard Lindsey Langlois scored a team-high 11 points, but the Crusaders couldn’t hang on Friday, Jan. 3, in Madison.
The Goslings outscored the Crusaders 23-18 in the second half. Deang chipped in nine points.
Waunakee 58, Edgewood 36
Lazar scored a team-high eight points and Langolis pitched in six for the Crusaders in a nonconference loss to the Warriors.
Edgewood 52, Verona 50, OT
Foti scored six of her team-high 15 points in overtime to propel the Crusaders past the Wildcats in the first game of the Ab Nicholas Holiday Classic.
“She’s so dang competitive,” Staveness said of Foti. “She was much more active on the boards and attacking the hoop a little bit.”
Foti scored down low to start the extra session to give the Crusaders a 47-45 lead, but Rachel Parman knocked down a jumper to tie it. Rayna Briggs split a pair of free throws with 1:21 left to give Verona a 50-49 lead, but Foti hit two free throws to help the Crusaders regain the lead.
The Wildcats had two chances in the final 44 seconds to retake the lead. Megan Murphy had a 3 clang off the backboard just before the buzzer.
Verona appeared as though it would win the game in regulation after going on a 16-2 second-half run. Parman hit back-to-back 3s to give the Wildcats a 33-30 lead with 9:24 left. Murphy then knocked down a 3 to extend the lead to 36-32, and she made a pair of layups to make it 42-32 with 5:52 remaining in regulation.
The Crusaders forced overtime thanks to a 13-3 run. Junior Sydney Olson made a layup and Foti hit two free throws with 13.3 seconds left to tie the game at 45.
Edgewood 55, Hayward 33
The Crusaders outscored the Hurricanes 31-14 in the second half of a nonconference road win Saturday, Dec. 21.
Lazar scored a team-high 12 points. Deang added 10 and Olson chipped in nine.
Edgewood 63, Monroe 55
The Crusaders displayed their balance with four scorers in double figures en route to a road win over the Cheesemakers on Thursday, Dec. 19.
Edgewood outscored Monroe 39-27 in the second half. Deang and Ellie Iglar each scored a team-high 16 points. Langlois added 15 points and Lazar pitched in 10.
Edgewood 64, Milton 49
Olson scored a game-high 16 points, grabbed seven rebounds and had five assists in a home win over the Redhawks on Saturday, Dec. 14.
Lazar added 11 points and grabbed seven rebounds. Langlois scored 13 points and knocked down three 3s. Iglar chipped in nine points.