EAST ST. LOUIS — For the first three quarters Friday, the East St. Louis Flyers' offensive execution was near perfect.
But then came the fourth quarter.
Ranked sixth in the Class 3A state poll, the Flyers saw a 23-point lead shrink to three before holding on for a 90-85 win over Belleville East in a battle of metro-east basketball giants.
Trailing 57-34 midway through the third quarter and 64-45 heading into the fourth period, the Lancers chipped away behind the 3-point shooting of Darreon Reddick, James White and all-state selection Malcolm Hill.
Taking advantage of several missed free-throw by the Flyers and some red-hot shooting, East (19-3, 9-1 SWC) had its deficit down to 88-85 after Hill, who led all scorers with 37 points, and White, drained back-to-back 3-pointers.
The Flyers then turned the ball over again and Hill was fouled with 6.6 seconds left.
The University of Illinois recruit missed the front end of the one-and-one and following a wild scramble under the Flyers basket, the Lancers were called for a technical foul on their bench.
East St. Louis' Travon McCray then put the game away with two free throws and the Flyers (15-6, 7-3) had their 11th straight win under first-year coach Tony Young.
"We didn't execute well down the stretch. I know we played three good quarters, but it's the fourth quarter which counts,'' Young said. "Instead of settling down, we went for the home run too much and we were tired shooting free throws.
"We've got to be able to finish and we didn't do that tonight.''
East coach Abel Schrader, whose team had a seven-game winning streak snapped, was pleased with the comeback. But displeased with his team's defense.
East St. Louis senior DeShawn Munson led the way with his seventh straight triple-double. Doing what he wanted from the start, Munson finished with 29 points, 16 rebounds and 11 assists. He also added eight steals.
"DeShawn Munson is just unstoppable when he takes the ball to the basket," Schrader said. "When he penetrates, unless you step in front of him for a charge, you're not going to stop him.
"I was pleased with our effort in coming back. But we played no defense for the first three quarters. You aren't going to beat anybody giving up 90 points.''
While East stole the show in the fourth quarter, the Flyers were virtually flawless in the first three.
With Munson setting the tone against Class 4A's fourth-ranked team, the Flyers used a 17-3 run midway through the second quarter to turn a one-point lead into a 47-29 halftime advantage.
Senior Johnny McCray was on the receiving end of several of Munson's eight first-half assists. Munson had 18 points, eight rebounds and four assists in the first two quarters.
McCray and Munson combined for 14 of the Flyers' 17 third-quarter points. McCray finished with 28 points.
Reddick added 21 points for East while White had 12.