BELLEVILLE — Belleville East limited visiting Belleville West to 11 second-half points and turned a halftime deficit into a blowout victory Tuesday night.
Senior Malcolm Hill had a game-high 22 points and two dunks, junior Cameron Hunter had 12 points and senior James White came off the bench and chipped in with 10 as the Lancers dismantled the Maroons 66-46 before a large crowd.
It was the Lancers' second victory over West in a week and their third win this season against their longtime rivals.
"We stepped it up on the defensive end," said the 6-foot-7 Hill, an Illinois recruit who was 10-for-15 from the field. "We really wanted to lock down because we didn't want it to be a close game like it was last week."
East beat West 66-65 in overtime last Tuesday in the first round of the Chick-fil-A Classic at Belleville East. The potential for another tight finish existed until the Lancers outscored the Maroons 21-7 in the third quarter and 17-4 in the fourth period.
West, which shot 34 percent from the field in the game (16-for-57), was 4-for-25 in the second half (16 percent).
The Lancers, meanwhile, shot 58 percent (29-for-50), including 68 percent in the second half (17-for-25).
"We certainly came out with a little more drive," Lancers coach Abel Schrader said of the second half. "Belleville West played very good in the first half. They had their way with us. We knew we had to come out and do some things defensively. We certainly got some stops and we limited their points in the second half."
East improved to 18-2 overall and 8-0 in the Southwestern Conference, while West fell to 13-5 and 5-3. The Maroons' other two losses this season are against metro-east powers Edwardsville and Cahokia.
"If they play like this all the time, they're hard to beat," Maroons coach Joe Muniz said of the Lancers. "Our guys play in the only gear they can play in for 32 minutes. They've got a gear that's unbelievable. You can't go ice-cold, and we did.
"It's a disappointing loss, but we're still a good team."
West led 18-14 after one quarter and 35-28 at halftime. The Lancers, who fell behind by 10 with 3:15 to play in the second quarter, pushed ahead for good at 41-40 on Hunter's basket in the lane with 2:41 remaining in the third quarter.
There was no stopping East from that point. Hunter's basket started a 17-2 run that ended with Hill driving through an open lane and finishing a one-handed dunk that made it 56-42 with 6:44 to play.
"I saw a hole and I just wanted to save one dribble and rise up," Hill said. "I don't think I've ever jumped that high before."
Hill added another dunk with 3:05 left, converting off a steal at midcourt and giving the Lancers a 64-44 lead.
"He's a Division I player and he's a high Division I player," Schrader said. "He's got that ability when he wants to and when he's focused and playing hard. He's pretty hard to stop."
Muniz had seen it all before.
"How many forced shots did he take? Not many," Muniz said. "Guarding him in transition's a whole heck of a lot harder than guarding him in the halfcourt. It's hard enough guarding him in the halfcourt, but when he's got a full-blown lead to the basket, it's hard to stop him in transition.
"I've seen Malcolm play for four years. He's a good player and he does what good players do. He makes other players better."
Senior Nick Van Osdale led the Maroons with 17 points, but Van Osdale was 4-for-20 from the field and missed his last 11 shots.
"He's not 100 percent. There's no doubt about that," said Muniz, referring to a knee injury Van Osdale suffered last week in the game against the Lancers.
Hill picked up his third foul with 3:39 to play in the second quarter and went to the bench. Van Osdale made two free throws to give the Maroons a 31-23 lead, and the margin grew to 33-23 on a putback by senior Markkies Goodwin (14 points).
West, however, had to settle for a 35-28 lead at halftime.
"It wouldn't have affected how many points we scored in the second half," Muniz said. "(But) instead of extending our lead, they dropped it back down to five. I don't know if we relaxed; I don't know what we did.
"But that doesn't excuse the fact that we just didn't make point-blank shots around the basket. We were pretty cold."
Senior Khalil Smith-Traylor returned for East after missing the last four games because of personal issues and scored eight points, all in the second half. Junior Darreon Reddick also scored eight points, all of them coming in the third quarter.
Contact reporter David Wilhelm at firstname.lastname@example.org or 239-2665.