High School Sports

Marist knocks O’Fallon to losers’ bracket

Chance Armstrong scored a game-high 18 points, but it wasn't nearly enough for the O'Fallon Panthers, who lost a first-round Centralia Holiday Tournament game, 66-41 to Chicago (Marist) Monday night.

No other Panther player approached double figures except for Jarvus Smith, who scored seven.

"We're a one-man show right now," said O'Fallon coach Rick Gibson. "A lot of the other kids are passing and just kind of waiting around for Chance to do something."

O'Fallon shot 37 percent from the field, including just 2-of-15 from three-point range. Marist, meanwhile, was 62 percent of 42 shots taken, including 5-of-7 from beyond the arc.

The Panthers turned over a large part of last season's 17-win team. Armstrong, in fact, is its only returning starter. Gibson said skill hasn't been hard to find, but confidence is getting harder with each loss.

Monday's tournament loss dropped O'Fallon to 1-9.

We're a one-man show right now. A lot of the other kids are passing and just kind of waiting around for Chance to do something.

Rick Gibson, O’Fallon head basketball coach

"We've got a lot of kids who played at the freshman and junior varsity levels, but have no real varsity experience," he said. "But we're tow months into this now and those kinds of excuses don't really work anymore. We need to find a nucleus to this team.'

Morgan Taylor matched Armstrong's 18 to lead Marist, which will advance to a second-round game against Centralia Tuesday at 7:45 p.m. O'Fallon falls to the loser's bracket where it will face Sullivan. That game starts at 9:15 p.m.

Key Moment

O'Fallon closed the Marist lead to 25-20 with a pair of free throws by Armstrong. But Marist got consecutive three-point baskets late in the second quarter from Taylor and Malik Onyeali to take a 11-point lead into halftime.

The Panthers closed back to within eight, but an 8-2 Marist run cushioned the lead and a 16-4 run to close the game put it away.

Key Performances

Chamar Hawkins also reached double figures for Marist with 14 and Kevin Lerma pitched in 10 more. Six other players scored for the Redhawks.

Armstrong also led O'Fallon with five rebounds. Alex Orr had four rebounds and three assists.