C.J. Coldon already has football scholarship offers from several Division I schools, including Miami (Ohio) and Northern Iowa, but as the Althoff junior guard showed Friday he can flash plenty of basketball skill as well.
Coldon erupted for a career-high 22 points and Althoff used a 15-0 run in the second quarter to blow open what had been a close game, cruising to an 87-66 South Seven Conference victory over Cahokia.
“We’ve known it, he’s known it,” Althoff coach Greg Leib said when ask if Coldon’s football skills as a receiver and defensive back overshadow his basketball ability. “He just made plays and that’s how this team rolls. It could have been Keenen (Young), it could have been Tarkus (Ferguson), it could have been Goody (Jordan Goodwin) or (Brendon) Gooch or Marvin (Bateman).
“It depends on who’s hot at the time. C.J. took advantage of a lot of situations where they were keying on other people and he put pressure on their defense by driving the basket.”
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Althoff (20-2 overall, 7-0 in conference play), ranked second in the state in Class 3A, takes on third-ranked 4A Chicago powerhouse Kenwood at 8:45 p.m. Saturday at the Bank of O’Fallon Shootout.
Goodwin threw down a tomahawk dunk just three seconds after the opening tip and Althoff threatened to run away with it early. The Crusaders led 9-2, 17-6 and 20-10, but the feisty Comanches (11-13, 1-6) refused to go away.
It was fun. They came out and watched us so we had to put on a show for them.
Althoff’s C.J. Coldon on Morgan Park coming to watch the game
Cahokia’s Jakorey Davis heated up quickly, sinking three 3-points and scoring 11 points in the first half to help cut the Althoff lead to 28-27.
But after Davis went to the bench with his third foul, the Crusaders jammed the offensive gas pedal to the floor.
Utilizing a pair of 3-pointer by Gooch, Althoff blazed through a 15-0 run to push its lead to 43-27. The Crusaders ended the first half on an 18-4 run, with Bateman sinking a 3-pointer just before the half ended to make it 46-31.
As Althoff has shown several times over the past two seasons, its ability to flip the switch and pile up quick offense is always in its arsenal.
“Coach Leib has just been on us,” Coldon said. “He told us to turn it up so we had to flip the switch, but we shouldn’t have a switch. We should leave it on at all times.”
The run was impressive, but Coldon knows consistency will win a lot more games.
Coach Leib has just been on us. He told us to turn it up so we had to flip the switch, but we shouldn’t have a switch. We should leave it on at all times.
Althoff guard C.J. Coldon
“Yeah, but that’s going to come back and bite us in the butt,” he said of the team’s hot and cold streaks. “We’ve got to keep it in, get up and stay up on teams. When we’re on, we’re on.”
Goodwin tossed in 19 points and Gooch added 17 with Bateman mixing in four 3-pointers among his 13 points. Thomas Bell topped Cahokia with 22 points while Davis had 11 of his 18 points in the first half and Chris McRoberts scored 10.
With nothing to do the night before their game against Hazelwood Central at the Bank of O’Fallon Shootout on Saturday, the Morgan Park Mustangs and star guard Charlie Moore made an appearance at the Althoff gym.
Althoff beat Morgan Park in the semifinals last season and coach Nick Irvin’s squad finished third after winning back-to-back state titles in the previous two seasons.
“It was fun,” Coldon said. “They came out and watched us so we had to put on a show for them.”
Leib said Morgan Park had contacted him about coming to the game.
“I said you come to the game and as long as you buy something at the concession stand, you get in free,” Leib said. “I’m glad to see them here and I wish them good luck tomorrow. It’s going to be a lot of fun I think.”
Leib said the quick start Friday may have worked against his team in a way.
“We jumped out so hard and got after it really well early,” he said. “Then they settled down and we settled for jump shots. I thought our defense picked up in the second quarter and really carried us the rest of the game.
(Before), they were getting to the bucket when they wanted, however they wanted. After about halfway through the first quarter I thought the guys did a pretty good job of containing them and keeping them out that paint.”
Cahokia was bothered by 18 turnovers and constantly dealt with having its shots blocked or altered by Althoff’s interior defense.
“We didn’t execute. We didn’t run our system,” Cahokia coach Darian Nash said. “We got away from the game plan. We let opportunities gets away. It’s a young team that made some mistakes, got caught up in the hype. I told them what the atmosphere would be like.
“They got us on transition ... we turned the ball over and gave them those transition opportunities.”