CENTRALIA — Belleville East was far from perfect in its season opener Monday night, but the Lancers did enough good things to get started on the right foot.
Senior Cameron Hunter's free throw with 1.7 seconds to play in the second overtime was the difference as the Lancers rallied past Mahomet-Seymour 73-72 in the Centralia Thanksgiving Tournament.
Hunter sank the first of two free throws. After his second attempt rimmed out, the Bulldogs called timeout with 1.4 seconds left. East senior Domonic Blaylock stole the inbounds pass as time expired.
"It's the first game and both teams made some mistakes," Lancers coach Abel Schrader said. "We're playing a lot of guys with not much varsity experience. They pretty much had it any way they wanted to offensively with us. We were not very good defensively. We've got a lot to get better at.
"But I give our kids credit. They were down eight points (in the fourth quarter) and they could have shut it down and lost by eight or 10 points. And they didn't. They fought harder."
Senior Darreon Reddick led the Lancers with 25 points, 21 of them coming in the second half. Senior Austin Cox had 14 points and Blaylock had 12. The trio combined to go 21-for-29 from the floor.
"We've got a bunch of seniors who have never played," Reddick said. "So we've got to jell together. It's a bad first game, but we'll get it together when we start jelling together."
Senior Sam Hohlfelder put on a dazzling offensive display with 38 points and four 3-pointers for the Bulldogs despite not starting because of an off-the-court issue.
"It would have been nice to get the win," said the 6-foot Hohlfelder, who was 13-for-22 from the field. "But Belleville East was tough. They were really quick and we didn't match up with their quickness very well. But I think we'll get better. ... It's a tough one to lose."
Hohlfelder said he felt sharp during the pregame.
"I felt pretty confident. I wasn't missing shots in warmups, and I thought it would carry over in the game," said Hohlfelder, who averaged just over 14 points last season. "I really struggled with inconsistency. I tried to work hard over the summer to develop some consistency.
"I know this isn't going to happen every game. We play a really tough schedule and we have a lot of talented guys on our team."
Mahomet-Seymour, which led 28-23 at halftime, took a 53-45 advantage on junior Andrew Franklin's basket with 2:39 left in the fourth quarter.
East trailed 55-48 when it went on a 7-0 run. Blaylock's 3-pointer cut the Bulldogs' lead to 55-53 before Reddick's basket tied the game at 55 with 40 second remaining.
Mahomet-Seymour had a chance to win in regulation, but senior Grant Farchmin missed a 10-footer at the buzzer.
East nearly won in the final second of the first overtime, but freshman EnRico Sylvester's 3-pointer was no good.
In the second overtime, Reddick's 3-pointer with 1:43 to play knotted the game at 69. Junior Conner Diedrich hit one of two free throws to put Mahomet-Seymour on top 70-69, but Hunter gave the Lancers a 71-70 lead with a jumper at the 1:21 mark.
Blaylock's free throw made it 72-70, but Hohlfelder made two free throws to tie the game at 72 with 45.6 seconds to play.
Finally, Hunter was fouled as he went for a layup, and his ensuing free throw finally gave the Lancers their winning margin.
Reddick was 9-for-15 from the field and Cox was 7-for-9. Blaylock finished 4-for-4 as East was 29-for-51 overall (57 percent). That helped the Lancers overcome 20 turnovers.
Centralia 52, Mascoutah 33
The Orphans were in control from start to finish as they opened their season with win over the Indians. Mascoutah scored just three points in the second quarter and trailed 28-10 at halftime.
Senior Jake Wood led all scorers with 19 points for Centralia. Senior Trevahn Williams had six to lead the Indians, who were 8-for-34 from the field (24 percent).
Centralia outrebounded Mascoutah 32-16.
Contact reporter David Wilhelm at email@example.com or 239-2665.