GODFREY — The Belleville West Maroons season-opening win came with relative ease on Wednesday in the opening round of the Alton Lady Redbirds Tip-Off Classic.
Displaying a variety of strong offensive moves and a smooth shooting stroke, junior guard Shay Fluker scored 20 points while Jesheon Cooper and Imani Berry combined for 31 points as the Maroons breezed to an easy 61-28 triumph over Cahokia.
Expected to be one of the top trios in the St. Louis area, Fluker, Cooper and Berry didn't disappoint as they paced a Maroons offense which at times showed signs of brilliance and at others looked very much like a team playing its first game of the season.
And that was just in the first quarter. An athletic 5-foot-10 guard, Fluker scored nine of her points to key an 11-2 run as West grabbed a 15-6 first quarter lead.
The Comanches (0-2) would get no closer then seven points the rest of the night.
West coach Clayton Fisher was pleased for the most part at how his team played against an athletic Comanches squad.
"I thought we played pretty well and that our effort was just excellent. I thought we played hard and everyone did a good job that way. Our execution at times was good and at others you could tell that this was the start of our season,'' Fisher said. "Offensively, Jesheon, Imani and Shay are the ones we're going to look to. That's no secret."
One of the top track and field athletes in the metro east, Berry took over the scoring load in the second period. The 5-8 junior nailed a 3-point shot, was fouled and made two free throws then hit a stop-and-pop 12 foot jumper as West continued to expand its lead.
West led 35-10 at halftime.
"We got into a little foul trouble and I thought Imani took over the game in the second quarter there," Fisher said.
"I was pleased with the defense. We knew as long as we didn't let the guards penetrate and dish it off to the wings that we would be fine. We had a couple of breakdowns but for the most part I was pleased.''
Cooper, a 6-5 senior, heated up a bit in the second half, scoring nine of her 16 points.
"Jesheon got a little upset with herself after she missed a couple from close to the basket, but she's coming along. I thought she played hard,'' Fisher said.
"Like I said, I was very pleased with our effort. Now we'll go home and get ready to play a very good Springfield Lanphier team on Friday night.
Junior Dominique Jennings and senior Kiarra Herron led Cahokia with six points each.
Mater Dei 46, Alton 36
The new-look Knights used a strong second quarter to brab a sizable lead then held off a furious fourth quarter rally by the host Redbirds and went on for the 10-point win.
Relying more on the perimeter game than in the recent past, Mater Dei (1-0) led throughout and had a seemingly comfortable 15-point lead midway through the fourth quarter before Alton junior Jordann Wilson rallied Alton.
Wilson hit a pair of 3-point shots, thes second one pulling the Redbirds to within 40-33 with under 3 1/2 minuets left in the game.
But a basket by 5-10 junior Lauren Donnewald and offensive putback by Olivia Thiesing got Mater Dei back on track.
"Alton's got a nice ballclub. They're very quick and athletic and the (Wilson) girl can flat out play the game,'' Knights coach David Kohnen said. "I just thought maybe our young kids got a little too excited.
"But its the 20th of November, not March 10. We've got some work to do. We'll be fine.''
Donnewald led Mater Dei with 13 points, while Wilson led all scores with 21 points.