SCOTT AIR FORCE BASE — The Belleville West Maroons long week on the links ended in triumph Saturday at Cardinal Creek Golf Course.
Fresh off a third-place showing at the Southwestern Conference Tournament on Tuesday and a runner-up finish at the Bob Goalby/Jay Haas Invitational on Thursday, the Maroons posted five scores under 80 and went on for a four-stroke win at the 15-team Mascoutah Invitational.
Utilizing its depth, the Maroons used rounds of 74 from Cade Dibadj and Nick Singsank and 78s from Parker Beine and Michael Len to finish with a team score of 304 to edge three-time defending champion Althoff.
For coach Clayton Fisher, the Maroons best effort of the season couldn't come at a better time.
With the challenge of taking on state powers Quincy and Edwardsville at the Class 3A Alton Regional looming Tuesday, West needs to be at its best.
"Hopefully this gives us a boost of confidence. I would think Quincy and Edwardsville have to be favored to get out (of regionals). That leaves three or four schools fighting for that third spot,'' Fisher said. "The strength of this team all year has been its depth and in the postseason that's huge.
"If one of your players has an off day, somebody else needs to step up and we've got players who can do that. I feel really good about our top six players."
Defending Class 2A state champion Althoff was led by junior Michael Johnson, who took medalist honors on the par-72 Cardinal Creek layout with a 71. Jimmy Murphy added a 79 while two freshmen, Matthew McCarthy and Connor Eghigian, fired rounds of 78 and 80, respectively.
Centralia (316), Columbia (321) and Marion (326) rounded out the top five teams.
Althoff coach Dan Polites said West just played better.
"My congratulations to the Maroons. We played well to beat them at the Goalby/Haas event on Thursday, but Clayton has his players playing well right now. To have five scores below 80 is just excellent,'' Polites said. "I was very pleased with my two freshmen. I don't think either of them had ever seen Cardinal Creek and to shoot the scores they did was good to see."
Polites was also pleased with the performance of Johnson. A possible threat to contend for an individual state title in two weeks at Weibring Golf Course in Normal, Johnson played his usual solid golf to finish at 1 under.
"I hope so,'' Johnson said when asked if he could finish in the top 10 at state. "Today, I was pleased with the way I played. I hit the ball well and gave myself chances to make some birdies. It was just a very consistent round."
Chance Reuter, of Nashville, fired a 73 to place second, defeating Freeburg senior Arttu Linden (73) in a scorecard playoff.
Dibadj (74) and Singsank (74) rounded out the top five individuals.