EDWARDSVILLE — The Edwardsville Tigers seized an early lead, and they never let go of it.
Shawn Roundtree scored 18 points and Trevor Clay added 16 points as the Tigers led from start to finish in beating the Belleville East Lancers 47-40 Tuesday in the semifinal round of the Class 4A East Moline United Sectional.
"We're completely focused," Roundtree said of the Tigers holding the lead for all but a few minutes in their three playoff games so far. "We know the next game isn't promised, so wanted to come out from the jump of each game and set the tone. That's very important in these games."
The game was played at Vadalabene Center at Southern Illinois University Edwardsville, which was the next best thing to a home for the Tigers.
"It feels only right that we get to play in front of our home crowd," said Roundtree, whose team traveled to Quincy for the regional and now will travel to East Moline. "We're very grateful that we had an opportunity to do that."
The Tigers (28-2) advance to play the Normal Community Ironmen (23-8) at 7 p.m. Friday in the championship game of the Class 4A East Moline United Sectional.
The Ironmen edged Rock Island 56-55 in overtime on Tuesday.
The Lancers, who lost to the Tigers for the third time this season, ended their season at 20-10.
The Lancers were led by Cameron Hunter with 17 points and 10 rebounds and Brady Schanuel with 12 points and five rebounds.
"They guard two guys on the perimeter and everyone else, they sit in the lane," East coach Abel Schrader said of the Tigers' defense. "It's tough, and we didn't make any shots collectively. I thought Cameron Hunter played hard and fought after rebounds. It just wasn't our night."
The Lancers shot 38 percent (18-for-48) for the game. They were 1-for-14 from 3-point range.
"Offensively, we did not play very well, but Edwardsville is known to do that to teams," Schrader said. "If you can't score from the outside, (Edwardsville coach Mike Waldo) is going to put some guys in the right spots to make you force some shots. And, they took Darreon (Reddick) away."
Reddick ended up with four points and two assists.
Edwardsville's Darius Crochell drew the defensive assignment on Reddick.
"I thought Darius did a really good job on (Reddick), and that's not easy," Waldo said. "That takes a lot of heart, a lot of smarts and a lot of toughness.
"I think defensively is the reason we were able to win because we had trouble scoring."
Both teams were plagued by cold shooting in the first quarter. The Lancers were 1-for-10 shooting in the opening period, while the Tigers were 3-for-11.
The Tigers grabbed a 3-0 lead on a 3-pointer by Clay. Reddick hit a shot in the lane to draw the Lancers within 3-2, but that would be their only field goal of the first quarter.
Roundtree, who stayed in the game after picking up his second foul with 2:03 left in the first quarter, hit a 3-pointer with four seconds left in the opening period to push the Tigers' lead to 11-3.
"When I get in that situation, I just have to play smart," Roundtree said.. "I think Coach Waldo knows that I'll make the right choice, still play aggressive but not pick up my third foul."
Waldo said he trusts that Roundtree knows how to play with foul trouble.
"Well, Shawn hasn't fouled much all year, and the fouls he got, he just got put in bad positions and actually was a little unlucky," Waldo said. "Shawn is a smart player, he has good discipline and I didn't have any problem leaving him out there."
Schanuel came off the bench to score all six of the Lancers' second-quarter points.
"We maybe should have stuck him in there more," Schrader said of Schanuel, who logged 13 minutes in the game. "He plays hard, he fights after balls. He got the ball on the post and made some nice post moves for us."
Schanuel's spark wasn't enough as the Tigers got a 3-pointer from Clay and then a short bank shot from Roundtree to go up 20-9.
Roundtree outscored the Lancers all by himself with 11 points in the first half.
Hunter had a steal that resulted in a breakaway layup to start the third quarter, but Armon Fletcher answered with a dunk.
The Lancers closed the gap to eight points by the end of the third quarter and then drew within six points on a layup by Hunter early in the fourth quarter.
A rebound basket by Fletcher and layup by Clay put the Tigers back up by 10, 31-21.
The Lancers were unable to get closer than nine points the rest of the way.
Darian Brown converted a three-point play with 1:07 remaining to help the Tigers seal the win.
Contact reporter Steve Korte at firstname.lastname@example.org or 239-2522.