BELLEVILLE — It wasn't another four-overtime heart-stopper, but the Belleville West-Belleville East boys basketball game Tuesday night definitely didn't lack for excitement.
Senior Malcolm Hill scored 33 points, 24 in the second half and overtime, and junior Darreon Reddick hit the go-ahead basket with 14 seconds to play in OT to give the Lancers a come-from-behind 66-65 victory over West in the Chick-fil-A (*168*) Classic at Belleville East.
The 6-foot-7 Hill became East's career scoring leader with a fourth-quarter free throw that gave him 1,770 points, surpassing 1997 graduate Clint Sitzes, who finished with 1,769. Hill, a starter since his sophomore year, scored two more points in OT and has 1,772.
"It's a good achievement to have, but that's not really what I'm aiming for," said Hill, a University of Illinois recruit. "At the end of the day, my all-time goal ever is to hopefully be called in the Hall of Fame in the NBA.
"Other than that, this is a good accomplishment, but I'm not going to celebrate about it. I just hope we play good in the regular season so we can make it far in the playoffs. Individual records don't mean anything to me at this point."
The game had a similar feel as the unforgettable battle waged by the teams in the Class 4A Belleville East Regional final on March 7, 2009, when the Lancers won 126-115 in four overtimes.
First-year East coach Abel Schrader was an assistant coach at West that year, but was on a scouting trip and did not witness the game.
"I'm sure, from a fan's standpoint, that was a pretty fun game to watch," Schrader said of the latest tight game between the longtime rivals. "It was back and forth, both teams made some runs, both teams had some pretty good players out there.
"It's fun to be a part of, and obviously we're happy that it turned out in our favor."
Hill tangled throughout the game with close friend Nick Van Osdale of West, with both making clutch plays that dazzled the capacity crowd.
Van Osdale finished with 23 points, but an injury to his left knee in the second half compromised his quickness and forced the Maroons (11-4) to use 5-8 senior D.J. Owens on Hill.
"Nick's pretty banged up," Maroons coach Joe Muniz said. "They're both good players. I thought we guarded Malcolm really well until Nick got hurt. When Nick got hurt, he was playing on one leg and it was pretty hard for him. He couldn't contain him.
"We're giving up 10 inches with D.J., but that little sucker has a heart of gold and he's going to keep fighting."
Reddick and junior Cameron Hunter chipped in with 12 points apiece for East (15-2). Senior Markkies Goodwin had 20 points for the Maroons, mostly on layups.
West led 13-11 after one quarter, but East tied the game at 30 at halftime. The Maroons built a 45-37 lead on Goodwin's rebound basket late in the third quarter, then surged ahead 52-42 on Goodwin's layup with 6:38 to play in the game.
East then went on a 10-0 run to tie the game at 52, with Hill scoring eight points in the spree.
Van Osdale's 3-pointer from the left wing put the Maroons on top 55-52 with 2:39 left, but Reddick nailed a 3-pointer from the left corner to tie the game at 57 with 1:44 remaining.
With the score knotted at 59, West had the ball and was looking for the final shot, but Hill stripped Van Osdale and scored on a dunk to put the Lancers ahead 61-59 with 45 seconds to play.
West then was charged with a turnover, and Hill was fouled. He made his first free throw to make it 62-59 with 26 seconds left, but missed his second attempt. Van Osdale's deep 3-pointer from the right wing with eight seconds left made it 62-62.
"Nick is a great player and he hit the shot at the end when it seemed like we were going to win it," Hill said. "But overall, it was a great game. In overtime, neither team was giving in and we ended up pulling it out."
Overtime began strangely, as the players lined up incorrectly for the jump ball. Hill grabbed the tip and scored a layup into West's basket.
The points counted for the Lancers since the rulebook states that all plays are official until the error is corrected. Referees stopped play after Hill's basket and gave the ball to West. The Maroons attacked their basket --the one Hill had just scored in.
Van Osdale's layup put the Maroons ahead 65-64 with 46 seconds left in overtime, but Reddick connected on a short jumper with 26 seconds left to make it 66-65. Van Osdale's shot in the lane with four seconds left was no good, and Hunter grabbed the rebound and handed the ball to Hill.
Hill was fouled and missed two free throws with 3.2 seconds left. West gained possession after a scramble and called timeout with 0.8 seconds left. After the break, a long inbounds pass from the side was broken up by Hunter.
"We were just one play away," Muniz said. "One stop, one basket, whatever it may be. We were just one play away. That's a pretty good team over there and we lost to them by 19 last time --on our home floor. I don't think our kids can lose confidence in how we're playing."
East whipped West 74-55 on Dec. 11 at West.
Contact reporter David Wilhelm at firstname.lastname@example.org or 239-2665.