BELLEVILLE — Darreon Reddick was not going to be denied.
The Belleville East senior erupted for 27 points, 18 of them in the second half, as the Lancers pulled away in the fourth quarter and defeated Althoff 70-60 in the championship game of the Chick-fil-A Classic before a capacity crowd at East.
Reddick scored nine points in the fourth quarter, including a 3-pointer that gave East (13-5) the lead for good at 49-48 and fueled an 11-0 run that decided the contest.
"To win the championship game, I had to turn it up for my senior year," said Reddick, who was named the tournament's most valuable player. "Plus, we were kind of underdogs in this game.
"Everybody's been talking about Althoff the whole year. They're a good team, with a bunch of young guys. So it was a good game, and I was really hyped for it, just to prove ourselves."
Reddick also had eight rebounds and four steals, and senior Cameron Hunter chipped in with 17 points. The Lancers won the Classic for the second consecutive year.
"I thought our guys battled hard," said East coach Abel Schrader, whose team has won six straight. "Darreon played really well, but we also had other guys step up tonight for us. (Reddick) had the mind-set that he was going to play really well, and he certainly did."
Althoff (14-5), which saw its six-game winning streak come to an end, got 21 points from sophomore Brendon Gooch and 20 points from freshman Jordan Goodwin. Senior Kevin Renner scored 10 points, eight coming in the fourth quarter as the Crusaders tried to hang tough against the athletic Lancers.
"Reddick really got in a rhythm," Althoff coach Greg Leib said. "He got some good runs to the basket. We were just half-a-step late getting there, and that's all he needs to take advantage.
"They're a good ballclub. Cameron Hunter did some good things tonight for them and the other guys do their roles and they do their roles well. When you make a mistake on one, they usually make you pay."
After Reddick's go-ahead 3-pointer with 5:44 to play in the game, junior Brady Schanuel had a layup on a runout to make it 51-48, and Reddick's two free throws made it 53-48.
Hunter followed with a three-point play to make it 56-48 before senior Domonic Blaylock's free throw made it a nine-point game with 4:16 left. Althoff could get no closer than seven the rest of the way.
Gooch attempted just one shot in the fourth quarter.
"They were face-guarding him and blocking him out," Leib said. "That's another thing we need to focus a little bit better on."
East got out of the gate in a hurry, scoring the first seven points of the game. Reddick followed a jumper with a 3-pointer that put the Lancers ahead 7-0 with 5:20 left in the first quarter.
Althoff finally scored on a free throw by Gooch that made it 7-1 with 2:54 to play in the period. Gooch's basket with 1:38 left gave the Crusaders their first lead at 9-8.
The Lancers then scored seven of the next nine points to lead 15-11. Blaylock had a 3-pointer and Reddick scored to make it 13-9.
After Gooch made two free throws, Lancers senior Austin Cox tipped in a missed shot by Reddick just ahead of the buzzer, giving East a 15-11 advantage.
The Crusaders went on an 11-0 run to open the second quarter, taking a 22-15 lead. Gooch had a 3-pointer and sophomore Keenen Young had two assists that led to easy baskets.
East then scored six straight points to get within 22-21, but the Crusaders responded with back-to-back baskets to make it 26-21. Hunter had a basket and a free throw to get the Lancers within 27-26 at halftime.
McCluer 63, Belleville West 45
After nearly upsetting Althoff on Friday, West was unable to hang with the quick and athletic Comets, who captured fifth place.
The Maroons (3-13), on an eight-game losing streak, trailed 33-22 early in the third quarter, but clawed within 33-28 on two free throws by junior Nick Givens with 5:19 left in the period.
The Comets (2-10) then went on an 11-1 run to lead 44-29, and they maintained their comfortable margin for the final nine minutes.
McCluer was charged with 27 fouls that led to 43 free-throw attempts by West. The Maroons, however, converted just 25 after going 15-for-17 from the line in a 48-47 loss to Althoff.
Junior Demond White and freshman Tyler Dancy led West with 10 points apiece. Freshman Ryan Warren-Hogue had 17 points for the Comets, who also got 13 from senior Chauncy Turner.
Many of Warren-Hogue's points came in acrobatic fashion as he penetrated the lane and released what appeared to be out-of-control shots. However, he was 6-for-10 from the field and also chipped in with five assists and two steals.
McCluer, coached by Nashville High graduate and Hoyleton native Brent Rueter, made five 3-pointers, all of them in the second quarter. The Comets outrebounds West 42-26.
Madison College Prep 63, Normandy 52
In the third-place game, Madison College Prep scored the first 15 points of the game, only to see Normandy tie the game at 17.
But the Bears (16-3), who finished second to East in the tournament last season, recovered to capture the double-digit win.
Freshman Daniel Farris led Madison College Prep with 13 points, while seniors Terrell Herndon and Shaun Duncan had 11 apiece.
Senior Gerard Fuller had 18 points and senior Tarrick Blair had 11 for the Vikings (6-9).