O'Fallon coach breaks down his team's basketball win over Carbondale
Now in his 29th season at Edwardsville High, coach Mike Waldo had a lot of people to remember after notching his 600th win with the Tigers earlier this week.
Waldo and the 3-0 Tigers made it 601 wins Friday with a 66-37 dismantling of the Highland Bulldogs at the Highland Thanksgiving Tournament.
“First of all, it means we had a lot of really good players and kids,” said Waldo, who has a 601-204 record in 29 seasons at Edwardsville and a 682-255 career record as a high school head coach, counting five seasons at Marquette. “Not only the guys that got to play in the games, but all the guys over the years that played scout team for us and just did everything they could do every day to help the team do well, even though they knew they weren’t going to get to play.
“What a great bunch of kids we’ve had over the years.”
Waldo needs 18 more wins this season to reach 700 for his career.
Edwardsville got 17 points and five 3-pointers Saturday from senior Oliver Stephen and 14 points each from seniors Mark Smith and A.J. Epenesa. Epenesa, an All-American defensive end headed to Iowa, was making his season debut after sitting out the Tigers’ first two games at the tourney.
Junior Jack Marinko added 10 points for the Tigers, who will play Althoff (3-0) for the tourney championship at 5 p.m. Saturday.
Waldo has always had a special bond with his coaching staff, as well.
“We’ve had a lot of good assistant coaches here in the last 28 years, a whole bunch of good teachers, good athletic guys, good people, good for kids,” he said. It makes me think about all the good coaches we’ve had. Of course it makes me think about the great Brian Wilkinson, the greatest basketball man I’ve ever met.”
Wilkinson coached at Edwardsville as an assistant from 1992 to 2012 after previous head coaching stints at Dwight and Granite City South.
“Everything we do on offense is his,” Waldo said.
Waldo rarely shows much emotion, but he did when talking about the importance his family has played in him being able to coach for this long.
“It makes me think about my wife (Diane),” he said. “I’ve been able to do it for a long time, and if you do it for a long time, and you’ve got good players like we’ve got, you’re going to win some games. But my wife takes care of everything at home, raised our kids great and never once made me feel guilty about doing my job.
“What happens is a lot of guys end up getting out of it because of the pressures from other things. I’ve got a great family not because of me, but because of my wife, and that allowed me to get to do this for as long as I’ve been able to. My dad taught me how to work and how to be tough; I hope I am. My mom taught me how to have compassion and be thoughtful. It makes me think about all of those things.”
Jake Kruse led Highland (0-3) with 12 points.
Althoff 86, Waterloo 60
Althoff senior and St. Louis University recruit Jordan Goodwin tossed in 28 points and senior Marvin Bateman contributed 22 as the Crusaders (3-0)—ranked fifth in the nation by MaxPreps.com—knocked off the Waterloo Bulldogs.
With the game tied 24-24, Althoff ran away on a 12-0 run keyed by two 3-pointers by Bateman, who finished with five 3-pointers. Althoff had nine threes overall.
Waterloo (0-3) got 20 points from senior guard Ben Huels and 16 from Grifftin Lenhardt as four Bulldogs finished in double figures. Ross Schrader had 12 points for Waterloo and Dylan Hunt had 10.
O’Fallon 55, Carbondale 42
While they are extremely tall by basketball standards, the O’Fallon Panthers (2-1) look like a team of track sprinters moving the ball and defending all over the court.
That quickness paid off big time in a win over Carbondale (1-2), which the Panthers accomplished. Junior guard Jalen Hodge fired in four straight 3-pointers in the first quarter and finished with 17 points, while Ronnie Anthony contributed 11.
“He found the hot hand, and he got open a few times,” O’Fallon coach Brian Muniz said of Hodge. “Just getting on top is huge for us because then they’ve got to chase us. I think that helped us boost our confidence when we struggled to score the first few minutes of the game. He got us going offensively.”
Alex Orr and Tabari Dunlap scored nine each for the Panthers, who forced 18 turnovers and limited the taller Terriers to one shot on many possessions.
“That’s one of our advantages, that we are quick with all five guys or the six or seven we’ve got out there,” Muniz said. “We’re pretty quick, and we use that with our max effort to do what we did today—and that’s take it to a team that’s bigger than us and keep them off the boards ... just kind of irritate them.”
Kani Acree scored 15 points for Carbondale, and Winslow Martin had 11.