GODFREY — O'Fallon showed resiliency in its season opener Monday, but it was Jacksonville that got the desired result.
Seniors Payton Dugan and Dalton Keene scored 14 points apiece, senior Josh Peak chipped in with 12 and junior Tyler Ring had 10 as the Crimsons overcame the Panthers 66-62 in the Alton Tip-Off Classic.
"They played well; they're a good team," O'Fallon coach Rick Gibson said. "We made runs, but we would get ourselves in the hole and make that run. You use up your energy to make that run and then it kind of seemed like we would relax.
"We were like, 'OK, we've got it tied. We've got it won,' and we kind of relaxed. Then they would go on a 6-0 run and it's back up to seven or eight."
O'Fallon sophomore Donovan Franklin led all scorers with 23 points off the bench, while senior Todd Porter had 15 and sophomore Parker Roustio had 12. But no other Panther had more four.
Jacksonville went on an 11-0 run in the second quarter that O'Fallon finally overcame in the third quarter when it took a 31-30 lead.
But the Crimsons reeled off nine consecutive points later in the quarter to forge a 44-35 at the 2:39 mark.
O'Fallon still trailed 55-47 with five minutes left in the game, but Roustio hit a 3-pointer from the corner, Porter scored in the lane, Franklin had a basket after a wild scramble and followed with a steal and layup that put the Panthers ahead 56-55 with 3:45 to play.
Keene, however, answered with a putback a few seconds later to make it 57-56, and Jacksonsville never trailed again.
"We just weren't very good defensively," Gibson said. "Game one, you know there's going to be a lot of mistakes at both ends of the floor, and there were. But the good thing about game one is you get game two."
The Panthers (0-1) trailed 65-62 after Roustio drained two free throws with 33.6 seconds to play in the game.
A double-team by O'Fallon then appeared to force a turnover at midcourt, but during the hoopla, the Crimsons called a timeout from the opposite side of the floor.
Jacksonville senior Brandon Barlow was fouled after the break and made one of two free throws to seal the outcome.
"Of course, being on my side, I see it one way," Gibson said. "And I'm sure if you're a Jacksonville fan, you see it the other way. I know officials, they're shaking rust off just like players and coaches are shaking rust off.
"I don't know what it was. In my eyes, we had them trapped and we got a turnover, but they ruled the other way. You would like to have that play back and have it in our hands with a chance to come down and tie the game, but that's not what beat us."
The first half ended in upbeat fashion for the Panthers as they scored the final four points of the second quarter to trail 30-24.
The Crimsons (1-0) had a 30-22 lead when sophomore Nick Kaufmann drove the lane and was fouled by senior Logan Domina.
Kaufmann, a nephew of former Jacksonville and University of Illinois star Andy Kaufmann, was helped off the court with an injured left ankle, and Peak --also a nephew of Andy Kaufmann -- was summoned from the bench to shoot the two free throws.
Peak missed both attempts, then was called for his third foul as he tried to knock away the ball away from Franklin.
With no time on the clock, Franklin swished both free throws to bring the Panthers, who twice had trailed by 10, within six.
"It was a bone-headed move on my part," Jacksonville coach J.R. Dugan said. "I bring probably one of our best free-throw shooters into the game with two fouls to shoot free throws. That's my fault. I thought for sure he'd make both free throws, and I had a sub for him at the end of the bench after he made the second one.
"I'll take the blame on that."
Gibson was impressed by the 6-foot-5 Franklin, who was 7-for-12 from the field and 8-for-9 from the free-throw line.
"He's definitely a talent for a sophomore," Gibson said. "He's going to be good. We just need to get him where he's doing the same thing in practice that he's doing in the game. If we can get him going as hard then as he does in the game, he is going to be something special."
Alton 79, Northwest Academy 67
In the second game, the host Redbirds (1-0) pulled away in the second half and handed new coach Eric Smith his first victory.
Senior A'basa Brown led Alton with 24 points and senior Tyrome Parker had 16, including a fan-pleasing dunk in the fourth quarter. Senior Larry Givens had 13 points off the bench.
Contact reporter David Wilhelm at email@example.com or 239-2665.