By BRETT MARSHALL
CIMARRON — It didn't take long for the Cimarron Lady Bluejays to establish themselves once again as the team to beat in the Hi-Plains League race.
In fact, it took just three minutes to actually decide the outcome of this one, against visiting Meade.
The final score of 67-51 was determined by an aggressive Lady Bluejay press that forced the Lady Buffs into 15 turnovers in the opening quarter and 33 miscues for the game.
With sophomore guard Morgan Ediger making the most of the Meade miscues, the Lady 'Jays led 23-2 after the opening eight minutes of action.
"I thought we started out extremely well," said Cimarron coach David Ediger. "At both ends, we had good energy and took care of the ball. And we were able to then put the ball in the basket."
Ediger, the coach's daughter, was responsible for 14 of the 21 first-quarter points, all of which came in the first five minutes of the period.
Midway through the second quarter, Cimarron had built its lead to 29, 34-5, only to see the Buffaloes make a mini-run late, scoring the final 10 points to make it 34-15 at intermission.
A 7-2 run to start the third quarter allowed Meade to make one final attempt of getting back into the game at 36-22, but Cimarron responded with its own 10-1 run to extend it out to 46-23 late in the third.
The 16-point final margin was as close as Meade could get in the last period.
Ediger finished with a game-high 21 points, hitting 9-of-13 field goals, including 2-of-3 from 3-point range. She got double-figure scoring support from junior guard Ashtynn Burns with 14 and 6-2 sophomore post Eva Koopman, who tallied 13 off the bench.
"I thought we came out with a lot of defensive intensity," said the 5-8 Ediger. "They're one of the top teams in the league and we wanted to see where we're at. We really want to play an up and down speed, that's our game."
Meade's Tara Wiens had 14 points to lead the Lady Buffs, including 7-of-7 at the free throw line, while Alyssa Rudzik chipped in with 10.
The Bluejays hit 24-of-47 field goals for 51 percent while Meade was 16-of-41 for 39 percent. The Lady Buffs made 8-of-19 from behind the arc. Normally a good free-throw shooting team, Meade was just 15-of-31 at the stripe for the game.
The win keeps the Lady Bluejays unbeaten at 5-0 while Meade drops to 3-2 overall and 1-1 in the league.
"I'm usually pretty hard on her (Morgan Ediger)," said coach Ediger. "But I thought she was terrific early and the other girls really fed off that. She wasn't the only one, though, that played well."
Coach Ediger said he was encouraged by the continued improvement of the 6-2 Koopman, one of the state's best high and long jumpers in track. She was 4-of-6 from the field and 5-of-10 at the line for her 13 points. She also grabbed five rebounds.
"They were fronting her and she just maintained her patience," Ediger said of Koopman. "She keeps getting better and better all the time, and that will make us that much better, too."
Both teams had enjoyed success in the just recently completed Bluejay Invitational, which was won by Cimarron, a 58-55 winner over Bucklin, while Meade captured third place after beating Sublette, 48-25. The Lady Buffs had lost to Bucklin in its semifinal contest.
Cimarron hits the road for a Thursday Hi-Plains League contest at Elkhart, a team that won the Rolla Showcase on Saturday.
Meade 2 13 17 19 -- 51
Cimarron 23 11 17 16 -- 67
Meade (51) — Olvera 2-7 2-2 8, Lewis 1-6 0-0 3, Rudzik 4-5 0-1 10, Isaac 2-9 0-0 6, Thompson 1-3 0-0 2, Wiens 2-2 0-1 4, J. Rudzik 0-1 0-0 0, Friesen 3-4 7-7 14, Moshier 1-4 2-4 4. Totals 16-41 11-15 51.
Cimarron (67) — Dupree 3-5 1-6 8, Burns 3-7 7-10 14, Meis 0-0 0-0 0, Blattner 0-2 0-0 0, Hoskinson 3-7 0-0 6, I. Koopman 1-1 0-0 2, Waters 1-5 1-2 3, Ediger 9-13 1-3 21, K. Bailon 0-1 0-0 0, E. Koopman 4-6 5-10 13. Totals 24-47 15-31 67.
3-point goals--Meade 8-19 (Olvera 2-5, Lewis 1-5, A. Rudzik 2-2, Isaac 2-5, Friesen 1-1, Moshier 0-1), Cimarron 4-14 (Dupree 1-3, Burns 1-4, Blattner 0-1, Hoskinson 0-1, Waters 0-2, Ediger 2-3). Rebounds--Meade 30 (Moshier 6), Cimarron 29 (Hoskinson 7). Turnovers--Meade 33, Cimarron 19. Fouls--Meade 21, Cimarron 19. Fouled out--Meade (T. Wiens, Moshier).