SHILOH — The Belleville West Maroons and the playing conditions at Tamarack Country Club proved to be exactly alike on Monday at the St. Clair County Golf Tournament -- both were scorching.
Senior Cade Dibadj shot an even par 71 while five Maroons teammates shot rounds of 79 or better as West went on for a 12-stoke win in the eight-team event playing in temperatures that topped 90 degrees.
Ignoring hot, humid summer conditions and a well-manicured but tricky Tamarack Country Club layout, West displayed both its individual talent and its depth as it finished with a 296 team score as it ended Athoff's five-year championship run in convincing fashion.
The Maroons also got a three-over 74 from David Crosby and rounds of 75 from Parker Beine and 76 from Michael Len.
Also contributing solid rounds by not counting in the West team score were Austin Cleveland (77) and Trevor Brown (79).
"That is what I'm most proud of today. We had six players come in under 80," West coach Clayton Fisher said. "Cade (Dibadj) was consistent as always and Parker (Beine) was right there with him. But this was David (Crosby's) first of the year and Michael (Len) had been out with an illness. It was great to see him play so well.
"I've said it all along. We should be a good golf team this year because a lot of these kids have been varsity players for three and four years.''
Althoff, which finished with a team score of 308, was led by individual champion Michael Johnson who got off to a great start then played steady golf down the stretch as he shot a one-under par 70. Sophomore Mathew McCarthy added a 77 for the Crusaders who played well despite finishing 12 strokes in back of the Maroons.
"We played pretty well. A 308 is a good score on this golf course. We just didn't get the fourth score we needed today,'' Althoff coach Dan Polites said. "I was pleased to see Michael (Johnson) play well and take medalist honors. Sometimes you lose and sometimes you just get beat. Today we just got beat. West played very, very well.''
As did Michael Johnson of Althoff. One of the top Class 2A players in the state for the past three years, Johnson went through a tough summer after going through some adjustments to his swing.
But on Monday, the classy Crusaders senior proved he may be ready for his best high school season yet.
"This summer I tried to make some changes in my golf swing and it was a rough time. I didn't play well so I've gone back to what had worked for me before,'' Johnson said. "I played well today.
"My first two holes I made a par and an eagle and so I got off to a great start. It got away a little bit late, but I was able to hit some good shots combing in. It feels good to play well again.''
O'Fallon, getting a round of 76 from senior Billy Goodman was third with a score of 320, while Mascoutah (334), Belleville East (350), Freeburg (352), Lebanon (366) and Marissa (387) rounded out the field.
The tournament title was the second in five days for West which won the tough Triple Lakes Invitational on Thursday. West also finished second to powerful Quincy in the 22-team Alton Tee-Off Classic last week to kick off the season.
"Two championships and a second place. I couldn't have asked for a better start,'' Fisher said. "We just want to keep improving as the season goes on.''
Contact reporter Dean Criddle at 239-2661 or firstname.lastname@example.org