O’Fallon Township High School girls basketball coach Ryan Massey has always been impressed with the work ethic of guard Marta Durk.
The 5-foot-9 Durk has displayed the poise and leadership of an upperclassmen since she was a sophomore, averaging more than 12 points per game along the way.
She has taken her game to another level this season. Currently averaging a career-best 17.2 points per game, Durk has helped O’Fallon to a 14-5 record as they look for their sixth straight win in a semifinal contest at the Scott Credit Union Highland Tournament.
“Marta has always had the ability to take the ball to the basket to go a long with a nice mid-range 12-15 foot jumper,” Massey said. “But she has really taken her game to an higher level this year because she has increased her range. As a basketball coach, you like to see kids who put the time in do well and have success. Marta is one of those players.”
That work ethic helped Durk go top the 1,000-point mark for her career in a recent game against Alton. She was honored at the Panthers Dome last week in O’Fallon’s win over East St. Louis where she scored 23 points.
Durk has scored 20 or more points in her last four games, including a 28-point outburst on Tuesday as O’Fallon held off Mater Dei 81-75 at the Highland Tournament.
Wellen joins the 1,000-point club
Highland senior Madison Wellen became the latest metro-east player to join the 1,000-point club when she made a free throw during the Bulldogs 72-20 win over Carlyle at the Highland Tournament on Monday.
The 5-9 Wellen is averaging 19.3 points for a Highland team which is ranked third in the Class 3A state poll.
“Madison has really had an excellent career at Highland and along with Alex (LaPorta) and the other seniors have really become leaders of this basketball team,” Highland coach Mike Arbuthnot said Monday. “She has put the time in and for her to score 1,000 points shows a lot. She means a great deal to this basketball program.”
Columbia breaks two streaks on same night
The Columbia Eagles had dropped four of its last five games heading into a Cahokia Conference showdown with the Central Cougars last week. One of the top small school programs in the state, Central hadn’t lost a Cahokia Conference game since January of 2011.
But with a steal and a layup by Madelyne Juenger with under 20 seconds remaining which resulted in a 46-44 Columbia win, both streaks ended. A 56-game Central Cahokia Conference winning streak was over.
“We had a great practice the previous day and we really focused on our defensive effort,” Eagles coach Scottt Germain said. “The girls played the best defense that we have played all year.”
The win put Columbia (14-7, 6-1) into a tie with Central (11-10. 6-1) in the Cahokia Conference standings.
The Edwardsville Tigers continued to roll past elite opponents as they defeated Chicago Whitney Young High School 68-48 earlier this week at the MLK Shootout at Miller Academy in St. Louis
Junior Kate Martin led Edwardsville (19-0) with 17 points. Ranked first in the Belleville News-Democrat Large School poll, Edwardsville is in the midst of a slate of opponents that included St. Joseph’s Academy on Wednesday followed next week with games against Belleville East and Belleville West.
Play in the Scott Credit Union Highland Tournament continues this week. Semifinals are set for Thursday and Friday with the title game at 2:30 p.m. Saturday.
The Collinsville Mid-Winter Classic will conclude on Friday and Saturday with two games each, while the Carrollton Tournament, which includes Class 1A defending state champion Hardin-Calhoun, Class 1A top ranked Lebanon and Civic Memorial, begins Saturday.
BND Girls Basketball Rankings
Rankings for metro-east teams; voting by area coaches and News-Democrat staff. First-place votes are in parentheses; records through t
Large school rankings (Class 3A-4A)
Also receiving votes: Belleville West (13-7); Central (10-9), Collinsville (8-7), Columbia (14-7), Triad (8-6), Jerseyville (12-7); Waterloo (8-9), East St. Louis (7-8)
Small school rankings (Class 1A-2A)
Also receiving votes: New Athens (12-8), Madison (10-4), Gibault 10-9), Red Bud (11-8)