Strong team defense coupled with unselfish ball movement helped the Belleville West Maroons to a 71-41 win over Salem in the 74th Centralia Holiday Tournament on Wednesday.
West used relentless ball pressure to take a commanding 21-6 lead after the first quarter and a 39-17 halftime lead.
“I think our ball pressure was really good tonight” said Belleville West coach Joe Muniz. “We forced them into playing quicker than they are used to and it helped us get out in transition for some easy shots for us.”
Easy shots helped West shoot 50 percent (28-56) from the field with Elijah Powell leading the way with 14 points, five rebounds and four steals. Tyler Dancy also turned in a strong performance with 13 points and eight rebounds of his own.
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“I think we shared the ball well tonight and did a great job passing the ball in transition to get guys easy scores,” Muniz added.
Belleville West (6-3) advance in the winners bracket to face Thornton Fractional North at 6 :15 p.m. Thursday. Thornton’s size and athleticism will be a tough match up for the Maroons.
“Thornton is super athletic and long, and they are really good at supplying pressure in a lot of different ways,” Muniz said. “They are very long and that is going to make it difficult for us to make some plays, but we are very excited and look forward to the match up.”
The winner the game will play in the tournament semifinals.
Alton 62, Addison Trail 44
The Redbirds shot 9-for-21 from three-point range and 50 percent from the field in total to advance in the winners’ bracket.
Kevin Caldwell led Alton with 18 points. Maurice Edwards had six assists and a pair of steals.
Alton (6-2) will face Champaign Central at 2 p.m. Thursday. Addison Trail (5-4) will face Mount Vernon.
Champaign Central 60, Mount Vernon 21
Gill A’kieon scored 18 points and top class of 2018 prospect Tim Finke had nine rebounds to lead Champaign Central (6-4) to the rout. Mount Vernon (1-7) was 7-of-23 from the field. The Maroons, meanwhile, built a 34-12 lead at the half.
Champaign Central advances to a winners’ bracket game with Alton. Mount Vernon will face Addison Trail in the losers’ bracket Thursday.
Chicago-Marist 51, Jacksonville 29
Junior Morgan Taylor shot 7-for-11 from the field and Justin Brown hauled down 13 rebounds to lead the undefeated Redhawks to the win.
Marist advances at 13-0. Jacksonville (5-5) goes to the losers bracket game at 8:30 a.m. Thursday.