Senior Malcolm Hill scored 36 points Friday and the Belleville East Lancers needed every one of them as they held off host Alton 67-62 in a Southwestern Conference game.
The win boosted the Lancers' record to 22-3 overall and 11-1 in the SWC. They lead second-place Edwardsville (23-2, 10-2) by one game in the league standings with two to play.
The 6-foot, 7-inch Hill scored 16 points in the second quarter as the Lancers built a 34-25 lead at halftime. The determined Redbirds (12-15, 5-6) closed within 46-45 after three quarters, but East withstood the charge and could clinch a tie for the SWC championship with a triumph Tuesday against visiting Collinsville.
Junior Darreon Reddick contributed 19 points to the Lancers' cause while junior Cameron Hunter dropped in 10.
"We were fortunate tonight," first-year Lancers coach Abel Schrader said. "Alton played extremely hard and it's always tough to win here."
East was 22-for-40 from the field and 23-for-26 from the free-throw line. Hill was 11-for-19 from the field, including two 3-pointers, and was 12-for-13 from the line.
Sophomore Carlos Anderson led Alton with 18 points. Seniors Tyrome Parker (15), A'basa Brown (12) and Aaron Womack (12) also reached double figures.
Marquette 60, Central 55
In a rematch of a game Central won in the sectional last season on the way to winning the Class 2A state title, Marquette (20-7) gained a bit of revenge with a solid road victory in Breese.
Central (19-9), which got a game-high 25 points from junior guard Jacob Timmermann, came out strong and led 22-14 after one quarter, but was outscored 11-3 in the second. DeAntae McMurray led Marquette with 16 points while Deion Lavender and Keshon Young tossed in 12 apiece.
Waterloo 41, Mascoutah 24
The visiting Bulldogs stymied the Indians in a Mississippi Valley Conference game.
Mascoutah (9-5 overall, 3-6 MVC) was held to single digits in all four quarters and no player reached double figures.
Waterloo (15-10, 5-3), which led 20-10 at halftime and 37-16 after three quarters, got a game-high 19 points from 6-7 senior Justin Kretchmer. Junior Johnny Albers had eight points.
Carlyle 69, Red Bud 45
Matt Hilmes exploded for a career-high 37 points as Carlyle (22-7 overall, 9-1 in league play) clinched the Cahokia Conference-Mississippi Division title by hammering Red Bud. John Becker and Cody Huels added eight points each for Carlyle, while Josh Snyder had 20 points for Red Bud (4-25, 1-10).
Columbia 58, Freeburg 48
Cole Foster scored 18 points as he and Michael Hunsaker combined for 34 as Columbia (15-13 overall, 7-3 in league play) delivered a Cahokia Conference-Mississippi Division win over Freeburg. Justin Diecker had 12 points for Freeburg (9-18, 3-7) and Dalton Crunk added nine.
Steeleville 68, New Athens 57
Darin Winkelman scored 24 points and A.J. Jeffers added 20 as Steeleville (18-10 overall, 8-2 in the conference) handed Cahokia Conference-Kaskaskia Division champ New Athens (20-7 overall, 9-1) its first league loss this season.
Tyler Meyer and Blake Ragland had 16 points each for New Athens.