BELLEVILLE — After a sluggish first half Saturday, the Althoff Crusaders finally started playing with purpose.
Freshman Jordan Goodwin scored 20 points and senior Kevin Renner had 19 as the Crusaders, who trailed by 11 in the third quarter, came back to beat host Belleville West 54-52.
For the majority of the game, Althoff (17-7) still appeared to be smarting from its 71-70 overtime loss to Cahokia on Friday.
"Yeah, but that breaks rule No. 3," Crusaders coach Greg Leib said. "Rule No. 3 is there's no excuses. You've got to come out and compete. West played East St. Louis last night, so you've got to come out and play. We got a little momentum going our way toward the end of the third quarter."
West (5-17), which fell 65-44 to the Flyers on Friday in East St. Louis, led Althoff 12-8 after one quarter and 27-20 at halftime. The Maroons extended their lead to 36-24 on senior Khalil Fowler's layup with 4:10 to play in the third quarter.
Goodwin, who had 14 points in the second half, hit a free throw to make it 36-25, and West senior Cade Dibadj's 3-point attempt spun out, hung on the rim and fell into Althoff's hands.
The Crusaders then extended their run to 12-0 to tie the game at 36 with 12 seconds left.
"One of the turning points of the game was when Cade had a 3 at the top of the key and went all the way in and rolled out," Maroons coach Joe Muniz said. "That would have put us up 14. Not that any one play (decides the game). But it may have deflated their sails a little bit, him hitting that shot."
Goodwin had six points in the drive, including a basket in the paint that tied the game at 36.
Even though West senior Steven Roberts (15 points) hit a 3 to beat the buzzer and give the Maroons a 39-36 lead entering the fourth quarter, the Crusaders were awakened.
They opened the fourth quarter with a 10-3 run to take a 46-42 lead that they protected for the final four-plus minutes.
"West is one of the most dangerous five-win teams in the state," Leib said. "Whoever looks past them in that (Belleville West) regional may have to get their uniform tub cleaned out and disinfected, because West can come out and do some things. They've got some kids playing with a lot of confidence and doing a lot of good things.
"We were just able to get on a run. Jordan Goodwin created a lot of offense with his offensive rebounding efforts out there tonight."
The Crusaders also were 16-for-25 from the free-throw line in the second half, just good enough to stave off the Maroons
The final minutes weren't without some nervous moments for Althoff.
Leading 53-46, the Crusaders left Dibadj open and Dibadj popped a 3 that closed the game to 53-49 with 56 seconds left.
After a West timeout, Althoff committed a turnover at midcourt. Freshman Tyler Dancy, however, missed two free throws with 33.5 seconds to play. Renner, however, followed with two misses for the Crusaders with 30 seconds left.
Sophomore Brendon Gooch blocked a 3 by Dibadj, and West maintained possession with 18.3 seconds left. Dibadj then hit a 3 out of the right corner, cutting Althoff's lead to 53-52 with 12 seconds remaining.
Goodwin was fouled with 1.3 seconds left. He made his first free throw, but missed the second. However, he grabbed the offensive rebound and time ran out.
Gooch had just two points in the game and was 0-for-7 from the field. Dibadj and senior Eugene Jones chipped in with nine points apiece for the Maroons.
"Overall, I thought we played pretty well tonight, but we don't have anything to show for it," Muniz said. "We've got to get consistent for 32 minutes."
Contact reporter David Wilhelm at firstname.lastname@example.org or 239-2665.