BELLEVILLE — Given a new outlook from a different position, Brandon Book responded Wednesday, and so did the Southwestern Illinois College defense.
A two-time Class 2A first-team all-state selection while at Central, Book connected on five 3-point shots and along with sophomore Dylan Chatman revived a sluggish SWIC offense as the Blue Storm rolled to a 70-39 win over Shawnee College.
In breaking a rare three-game losing streak, SWIC (19-8) used a 26-10 scoring run over the final 14 minutes of the first half to take charge.
Book, moved to the small forward spot, and the 6-foot-2 Chatman combined for five 3s to spark the run, which ended with the Blue Storm holding a 10-point halftime lead.
"Brandon Book has to get shots for us to be successful and so we moved him from the four-spot (power forward) to the small forward tonight and he had a big night for us," Blue Storm coach Jay Harrington said. "Dylan got shots from the middle tonight and when he does that, he's tough to stop.
"We're hurting with JaQuail (Townser) having the bad hand, Keanu (Post) with a bad back and Luke (Norman) with the bad back, and he might be done for the season. But tonight we had some kids step up and play well. We struggled early, but we played well late.''
Book led SWIC with 17 points while Chatman added 11. Former Cahokia High player Jarian Norris chipped in with nine points. Post and Tre Anderson added eight points apiece.
Looking to end a slide which has seen it drop four of its last five games, including three in a row at home, the Blue Storm was sluggish in the early going as it trailed 10-4 just six minutes into the contest.
A 3 by Book and four straight free throws from Anderson tied the game at 12 and when Norris sank a free throw, SWIC had its first lead at 14-13 with 7:52 remaining in the half.
The Blue Storm was just getting warmed up.
A 3 from Chatman followed by two Anderson free throws put SWIC up 20-13.
Book, who led SWIC with nine first-half points, then nailed his third 3-pointer and seconds later, Chatman connected on a 3 as the Blue Storm took its biggest lead at 27-13.
SWIC led 30-20 at halftime.
"I thought our defense was very good all night,'' Harrington said. "We put in two new defenses last night (Tuesday) and we did a great job with them.''
SWIC 92, Shawnee 31
Sophomores Danielle Duncan and Janelle Cannon both hit four 3s and the Blue Storm finished with 14 3-pointers in all as it rolled to the Great Rivers Athletic Conference win.
The Blue Storm (18-5) was sizzling from the outset.
With Duncan, a former O'Fallon standout, and the All-American Cannon combining to hit six straight 3s in the first half, the game was never close.
"We can really shoot the basketball and we did that tonight,'' Blue Storm coach Mike Juenger said. "The one thing that concerns me is that we got a little lackadaisical.
"With Vincennes coming up on Saturday we need to be ready to play.''
Leading the nation in scoring at 23.2 points per game, Cannon led SWIC with 30 points. Duncan added 16 points while freshman point guard LaTeesha Deloach added 12, nine of them coming on 3-pointers.