Tyler Dancy, after missing the final two games of the weekend’s Chick-fil-A Classic with a strained tendon in his foot, scored 19 points in his return to the Belleville West lineup Tuesday.
Three days after losing to the Lancers without him, the Maroons got their revenge, 87-62.
And the 6-foot-7 senior made the difference.
“Tyler is a rim protector, he’s a big body, he wears people down and you’ve got to account for him,” West coach Joe Muniz said.
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Dancy’s presence in the paint also limited the Lancers access to the goal. East took 23 of its 53 shots from the field from behind the three-point arc.
His presence also helped the Maroons eliminate the turnovers that cost them a 14-lead in Saturday’s loss to East in the Chick-fil-A Classic third-place game.
“People like to talk about how Tyler is such an important factor around the basket, but he’s also a big part of our press break,” Muniz said. “He’s a major part of how we handle pressure.”
The Maroons (11-6) next face Edwardsville and the Lancers (11-8) face East St. Louis on Friday.
Belleville East got off to a 22-15 lead in the first quarter behind a pair of 3-pointers by Rico Sylvester and another by Javon Pickett, the game’s leading scorer with 20.
But West junior Willie Matthews drained his own 3-pointer to aprk a 15-2 run that put the Maroons on top 36-27.
Pickett ended the rally with a mid-court steal and rafters-shaking dunk, but West still carried a six-point lead into halftime.
The Maroons widened the gap to 10 when Liddell jammed a missed shot by Dancy off the rim, then blew it open with their second big run of the night. Fox and Elijah Powell each hit 3s during the 14-3 rally that put West on top 63-45 and in control by the end of the third quarter.
West also got 17 points from sophomore E.J. Liddell, 15 from senior forward Dalton Fox, and 10 from sophomore Keith Randolph.
“We did a really, really good job sharing the ball tonight,” Muniz said.
In addition to Pickett’s 20, Sylvester scored 16 points for East, Jordan Yates had 13 and Malachi Smith scored 11.