While they didn’t have injured 6-foot-11 sophomore center Jeremiah Tilmon on Saturday, the East St. Louis Flyers still turned in a solid effort against the state’s sixth-ranked Class 4A team.
The Normal Ironmen remained unbeaten at 13-0 following a 70-62 victory over the Flyers at the Highland Shootout as Elon recruit Tyler Seibring and highly regarded Alex Peacock combined for 45 points.
“That’s a good team,” said East St. Louis coach Tony Young, whose team was tied with Normal in the third quarter and stayed within striking distance for most of the fourth. “It always boils down to the same thing, we’ve got to get better. This is the first time we’ve played without Jeremiah all year but that’s not an excuse for what happened out there.
“We’ve just got to continue to attack defensively. We had opportunities to get stops and we broke down a few times and they made us pay off those.”
The 6-8 Seibring had 23 points while Peacock, who has interest from Southern Illinois University Carbondale and Southern Illinois University Edwardsville, had 22. The Ironmen also took advantage at the free-throw line, sinking 27-of-32 foul shots.
Young said Tilmon suffered a knee injury while being undercut on a dunk Friday night during the first quarter of a 73-39 win over Granite City.
“He hyper-extended his knee off of a fast break,” Young said. “He’ll be all right, we’ve just got to rest him. At this point these games aren’t more important than his health. He tried to play today, he said ‘Coach I’m good, I can go.’
“The reality is I know he’s hurting, but he’s a soldier and he wanted to get in there and play for his team.”
In a game that featured aggressive defense at both ends, the Flyers (10-5) got 17 points from junior guard Marquise Chairs, 12 from Tyrone Riley and 10 from Karon Randolph.
“We challenged him and we’ve been challenging him all week,” Young said of Chairs. “He actually stepped up to the plate today when we needed him.”
A shot by Riley tied it 39-39 in the third quarter, but each time the Flyers got close the Ironmen would go on another run.
“That’s a veteran team we played against,” Young said. “Those guys are all seniors.”
Highland 53, Ft. Zumwalt North 52: Highland’s Brode Portell was fouled on a 3-point attempt with 0.5 seconds remaining and his team trailing by two. Portell sank all three free throws to give the Bulldogs an emotional comeback win, scoring six of his eight points in the fourth quarter.
Highland got 18 points from Austin Elledge while Ft. Zumwalt Norths’ Zach Glotta had a game-high 26 points.
Mater Dei (9-6) got 18 points from senior center Nolan Gerling.
“We came in here and we gave it a shot,” Mater Dei coach Ron Schadegg said. “We weren’t afraid to come over and compete against a very good basketball team. They’re a tough team, I know that, but if we made baskets I think we’re right where we need to be.”
Junior guard Amanda Ponce led the way for Highland with 13 points.
“I liked our defensive effort,” Highland coach Mike Arbuthnot said. “I liked the start that we had, we were trying to do a few different things this afternoon and I liked the way we came out and executed early.”