High School Sports

Maroons prove to be no match for surging Redbirds

Perhaps still smarting just from the loss in the title game of the Centralia Tournament, the Alton Redbirds week of domination against the Belleville schools continued Friday at Alton High School.

Senior Bryan Hudson scored seven of his team-high 14 points in the second quarter as the Redbirds broke the game open with a 21-9 run and went on for a 69-42 rout over Belleville West.

With West 6-foot-9 senior Will Presson sidelined with an injured elbow and 6-6 sophomore Tyler Dancy in foul trouble, the 6-7 Hudson dominated the middle while the Redbirds used their half-court trap to create countless Maroons turnovers in the period as Alton (13-2) turned a one-point lead into a 34-21 advantage at halftime.

It didn’t get any better in the second half for West (5-8, 2-4) as Alton’s speed and quickness proved to be too much for the overmatched Maroons to handle.

“I thought we played pretty well and the tempo of the game was about the way we wanted it in the first quarter. But from then on we really struggled passing and catching the basketball,’’ Maroons coach Joe Muniz said. “What really bothers me is that a lot of our turnovers were unforced. It was like watching a tennis match when all the shots go out of bounds.

“Alton is a very good basketball tearm. But we didn’t help our own cause very much by the way we threw the ball around.’’

The 27-point win over the Maroons completes a week which saw the Redbirds outscore the Belleville schools 146-72. Alton defeated Belleville East 77-30 on Tuesday.

With Austin Seibert and Eugene Jones each scoring six points, West trailed 13-12 after one quarter. But with Hudson doing damage inside and Carlos Anderson, Lavonte Hobbs and Maurice Edwards hitting short-range jumpers and scoring in transition, Alton seized command with its big second quarter.

Still Alton coach Eric Smith wasn’t totally happy.

“I thought we were sluggish early in the game and we weren’t running our offense very well. I think we took 13 3-point shots in the first half. We usually take 3-5 a game,’’ Smith said. “Our half-court trap was effective, in that it made them (West) play faster than maybe they would have liked.

“The second half I thought we did a better job of running the offense and getting better shots.’’

With Anderson and Hobbs scoring four points each, Alton went on a 12-3 run midway through the third period and built a 54-31 lead.

Jones had 13 points to lead West while Seibert chipped in with 12.

Contact reporter Dean Criddle at dcriddle@bnd.com or 618-239-266s1.