Kevin Renner scored a game-high 19 points Friday as the Althoff Crusaders held on for a 53-48 victory at Marion in the South Seven Conference opener for both teams.
Althoff (3-2) saw a 31-19 halftime advantage shrivel to 51-48 before Renner, a junior guard, made two free throws with two seconds to play to secure the Crusaders' victory.
Marion (4-1) was coming off a championship in its own Pyramid Plus Tournament, which was culminated by a victory over Collinsville.
"Coming out of the tournament with the quality wins they had in that, we feel very fortunate to have a win tonight," Althoff coach Greg Leib said. "I think Marion's a really good ballclub, and we caught them a little cold at the right time. They got a little hot at end of the game, but we were able to withstand it."
Freshman Brendon Gooch added 12 points for the Crusaders. Gooch was 5-for-8 from the free-throw line in the fourth quarter.
Senior Tim Mertens, playing his first game after the completion of the football season, had eight points.
Althoff led 12-11 after one quarter, then outscored the Wildcats 19-8 in the second quarter to grab a 31-19 lead at halftime.
"That was the ballgame there," Leib said.
Marion steadily whittled away until running out of time.
"We rebounded pretty well ... and had a few runout baskets that way," Leib said. "The kids attacked the basket. We shot quite a few more free throws than them simply because we attacked the basket."
Okawville 71, Woodlawn 63, OT
The Okawville Rockets opened their state-of-the-art new gymnasium in the best way possible this week, capping a 4-0 run through their own Thanksgiving tournament Friday by knocking off defending Class 1A state champ Woodlawn in the title game.
Woodlawn (3-1) was ranked first in the 1A state poll and Okawville (4-0) was seventh, attracting a crowd of more than 1,000 people.
Okawville senior Connor Obermeier brought the huge crowd to its feet when he nailed a 3-pointer at the end of regulation to force overtime.
Okawville's Jacob Brammeier hit eight straight free throws in the overtime period and 13-of-15 overall on the night. He finished with a team-leading 27 points for the Rockets while Jeremy Weeke added 16 points and 12 rebounds.
Jake Hensler added 18 points for Okawville.
"It was a great high school game," Okawville coach Jon Kraus said. "They're really good and I think we've got the potential to be pretty good. We did the same thing last year; we beat Woodlawn and they went on to win the state championship."
Okawville lost to Madison in the regional championship.
Leading by one with 16 seconds left, Woodlawn forced a turnover that led to a layup and pushed its lead to three points. Obermeier spoiled the Cardinals' victory part by hitting a clutch 3-pointer just ahead of the buzzer and the Rockets pulled away in overtime.
"They were in control of the game and Connor just hit a real big shot," Kraus said.
Gibault 58, Pinckneyville 46
Wes Degener scored 17 points and Brendan McFarland added 13 as Gibault used a strong second half to push past Pinckneyville. Nick Row and Jacob Weiler added eight points each for the Hawks.
New Athens 54, Marissa 37
Blake Ragland's 14 points led three New Athens players in double figures as the Yellow jackets blew past Marissa on the final night of the Okawville Post-Thanksgving Tournament. Nick Ozier had 13 points for New Athens and Tyler Meyer added 11. Brandon Conway led Marissa with 14 points and Austin Place had 12.