Hannah Edwards likes a challenge.
The Vandalia senior entered this week’s regional tournament at Teutopolis coming off of one of her best games of the season, and even though she’s the only experienced post player for the Lady Vandals, going against some of the tall players in T-Town was a challenge she welcomed.
“Being the only (post player is tough),” Edwards said last Thursday. “I’ve worked really hard this season, and I’m ready for it.”
And it wasn’t just talk.
Edwards played well on both Monday and Tuesday nights, despite her statistics being far from eye-popping.
The 6-footer had just two points against Casey-Westfield during a 65-32 win on Monday, but she added four rebounds and two steals, while also defensively containing two players who were taller than her.
One night later, Edwards ended her career with a strong defensive effort, blocking three shots and grabbing six rebounds in a loss to Marshall.
“When she puts her mind to something, she’s pretty dedicated,” said coach Michelle McNary. “She has the drive to do whatever she decides she wants to do.”
She also has a tremendous skill set that helped establish her as a force over the past two seasons, during which she scored better than six points per game and recorded several double-doubles.
Edwards was especially strong in the second half of both seasons, becoming more aggressive on defense and calling for the ball on offense.
“Some of the games early on, she wasn’t aggressive, but for whatever reason, after Christmas, she kicked it into gear and got going,” McNary said. “It makes such a difference out there when she’s at 100 percent and giving it her all.”
In the first game of 2012, Edwards proved the theory, recording her first double-double of the season during a conference win against East Alton-Wood River.
Then, she had 13 points and eight rebounds in a win against Gillespie, which ended a five-game losing streak.
“It’s really cool,” Edwards said. “It’s what I do – I play for a double-double.”
And while she has enough talent that she could have continued pursuing double-doubles for a college basketball team, she has decided to take her sporting career in a different direction.
“When (trainer Nate Schwartzkopf) fixes me up after I get hurt, I’ve thought it was really cool, and I enjoy watching him,” Edwards said.
Therefore, she will attend Eastern Illinois University to study kinesiology.
“I think she could play (in college), but she’s made up her mind,” McNary said. “She’s decided to go into that field, and it takes a lot of hours. She’ll like it, and be good at it.”