Picking up where they left off during the regular season, the Althoff Crusaders wasted little time in claiming another victim on Wednesday at the Class 3A Mascoutah Regional.
Playing for the first time in 11 days, the top-seeded Crusaders wasted little time in shaking off the rust, jumping out to a 20-2 lead and coasting to a 66-35 win over Mascoutah in a semifinal contest at Mascoutah High School.
Althoff committed three turnovers in its first five offensive possessions, but when Jordan Goodwin and Brendon Gooch scored 15 seconds apart with just over four minutes left in the first quarter, the Crusaders were off and running.
Scoring at will, Goodwin tallied 13 of his 19 points in the opening quarter, while Gooch added a pair of baseline jumpers and reserve Marvin Bateman added a 3-point jumper as Althoff took control against an over-matched Indians squad.
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“You are always concerned going into the first game of the regional, especially since it had been 11 days since we had played a game. At this time of year, the kids are tired of practicing, they are tired of me and they just want to play,’’ Althoff coach Greg Leib said. “ It didn’t take too long to shake off the rust. I think we came out and played well.’’
Sophomore C.J. Coldon added 12 points for Althoff (24-3), which advances to the title game Friday, where it will take on South Seven Conference rival Cahokia at 7 p.m. The Comanches defeated Columbia 62-46 in the second semifinal game Wednesday.
Mascoutah (11-18) was never in the game after the first four minutes. Shooting poorly and unable to handle the size and quickness of Althoff, the Indians committed six turnovers in the first quarter.
It would only get worse for coach Cody Reynolds’ team in the second quarter. With five different players scoring at least one basket each, Althoff increased its advantage to 38-11 at halftime.
“I believe that we just played a team which is good enough to contend for a state championship. They (Althoff) are just so athletic and long that we just couldn’t contend with them. Their athleticism made us rush shots and we just didn’t make anything tonight,’’ Reynolds said. “But I’m proud of my team.
“We had some tough times this year, but the kids didn’t quit, and we were able to win four out of five late in the season and beat a good Waterloo team in the first round of the regional on Monday. This was a very good group of kids to work with.’’
Senior Tim Parks led Mascoutah with nine points.
Leib went to his bench early and often throughout the game with a total of 11 Crusaders scoring at least one basket.
“I thought we moved and shared the basketball well again tonight. This is a very unselfish basketball team,’’ Leib said. “I was also very pleased with our defense. If Mascoutah hits some of those shots early, maybe it changes things a little bit.”
Cahokia 62, Columbia 46: The Comanches used their quickness and defense to hold Columbia to just two first half field goals then found their own shooting touch in the second half to advance into the title game.
Montez Crumble hit three 3-point field goals in the third quarter and led a balanced Comanches attack with 12 points, while Jeremy Franklin added 11 points and 6-10 senior DeVonte Williams added 10 points.
Cahokia led just 21-14 at halftime but outscored the Eagles (18-11) 24-18 in the third period to take a 13-point lead heading into the fourth period.
Columbia, despite getting 13 second half points from junior Korbin Farmer, would get no closer than nine points the rest of the way.
“That’s a very good team, and they are young and are going to be even better next year. We’d like to get something going to where we could play against them,’’ Comanches coach Darian Nash said of Columbia.
“It took us a while to get going but I thought we came out and played with poise. We also got some good looks at the basket and made some shots in the second half. Their big kids hurt us inside when we got in foul trouble, but our experience paid off in the end.”
Farmer led Columbia with 15 points, while junior guard Jonathan Holmes added 12.
“We just had trouble adjusting to their length and quickness in the first half. Lets face it, the IHSA has dealt us a tough blow with the pairings, and I don’t think they really care,’’ Eagles coach Mark Sandstrom said. “We’ve got a good group of kids and a lot of them are going to be back again next year.”
“We’ve got to see if we can’t upgrade our schedule and get us more prepared for the competition we’ll see in the the postseason.’’