Belleville West rallied in the second half to defeat Alton in the semifinals of the 75th annual Centralia Holiday Tournament on Saturday.
The two teams on top of the Southwestern Conference were within two points at halftime, but the Maroons rallied ahead to win 72-53.
The victory sent West to the tournament championship game for the second year in a row. The Maroons haven’t won the annual event since 2003, when coach Bill Schmidt led them over Centralia for the title. They had previously won it in 1981 under Roger Mueller and in 1962 under Jerry Turner.
Saturday’s championship game against the Champaign Central Maroons tipped off just before deadline for the Belleville News-Democrat print edition. The result and details can be found at bnd.com.
Senior Malachi Smith and junior EJ Liddell led West in the semifinal win over Alton with 22 points each. Smith completed the double-double with 11 rebounds. Junior forward Keith Randolph also had a double-double with 11 points and a game-high 12 boards. Liddell, who scored 26 points in a quarterfinal win over Confluence Academy on Friday, just missed a double-double with nine rebounds.
The Maroons, who carried an 11-1 record into the finals, outrebounded the Redbirds 46-17. They also held Alton to 35 percent from the field. The Redbirds entered the game with a 9-1 record.
O’Fallon 44, Arlington (Tenn.) 39
The Panthers advanced to the consolation bracket championship game with the win over Arlington.
Jalen Hodge led O’Fallon with 17 points, while Ronnie Anthony scored nine with a team-high six rebounds.
Cahokia 42, Mount Vernon 36
The Comanches also shook off a hard first-day loss to advance to the consolation game championship.
They got scoring from eight different players, including Cortez Brown’s team-high 14. Mount Vernon was led by Amir Spann, who scored 15 points.