Boys Basketball

East St. Louis-Althoff II is marquee matchup at Highland Shootout

Althoff basketball coach talks tournament loss to Edwardsville

Greg Leib talks about the Althoff Crusaders' 83-75 loss to the Edwardsville Tigers on Friday night in the championship game of the Collinsville-Prairie Farms Holiday Classic boys basketball tournament.
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Greg Leib talks about the Althoff Crusaders' 83-75 loss to the Edwardsville Tigers on Friday night in the championship game of the Collinsville-Prairie Farms Holiday Classic boys basketball tournament.

Ticket sales for the Highland Shootout remain brisk, even if it doesn’t have the headliners it had last year.

But the defending Class 3A state champion Althoff Crusaders are back and will be part of another marquee matchup against East St. Louis on Saturday at 8:15 p.m.

Fewer than 100 tickets remain for this year’s annual shootout, which includes 14 teams and seven games beginning at 10 a.m. To order tickets, visit highlandshootout.com.

“We’ve always had big-time players at this thing, but usually just two or three top level players,” Highland Shootout organizer Matt Powers said. “Now we’re getting close to a dozen a year. We can’t always get Jayson Tatum and Michael Porter Jr., in the gym together like we did last year, but this year is still pretty big.”

Saturday’s finale will feature East St. Louis center Jeremiah Tilmon and Althoff guard Jordan Goodwin, the top two recruits in Illinois, according to 247sports.com. It will be a rematch of a Dec. 29 Collinsville/Praire Farms Holiday Classic game in which Althoff defeated East St. Louis 83-80 in overtime.

Althoff's Jordan Goodwin had a career-high 46 points and also grabbed 19 rebounds Friday in the Crusaders' 86-76 win over Cahokia.

Goodwin, averaging 31.3 points per game, scored 31 points with 11 rebounds in the previous meeting against the Flyers, while teammate C.J. Coldon added 22 points. East St. Louis got 26 points and 13 rebounds from Tilmon and 20 points from senior Arthur Carter.

“It’s part two,” East St. Louis coach Phillip Gilbert said. “It’s going to be rockin’ and rollin’. That’s something this city needs. It’s going to be a good, good game.”

Gilbert said Goodwin, who is averaging 31.3 points and 1.3 rebounds, is “a great player.”

It’s part two. It’s going to be rockin’ and rollin’.

East St. Louis coach Phillip Gilbert on the rematc with Althoff

“You’ve just got to find ways to slow him down. We’re going to do our absolute best. We don’t back down from anybody; my guys are a team. We’re going to find ways to match his intensity and play our brand of basketball,” Gilbert said.

The Flyers are coming off a 66-54 Southwestern Conference loss to Edwardsville, a team that has beaten Althoff twice this season.

East St. Louis’ top scorers are Tilmon (15.9 points, 10.4 rebounds per game), sophomore Terrence Hargrove (13.3 points, 10.1 rebounds per game) and Carter (12.9 ppg).

“Geez they’re a load, but that’s what makes you a better team and makes you a better program by playing quality teams,” Althoff coach Greg Leib said. “They’re just so danged tough, and they’re relentless. I love their toughness. They’d be on anybody’s A-list to get in their foxhole at any time.

“Coach Gilbert instills that in them and you really can’t take anything for granted.”

I don’t care, unless you’re trotting Bill Walton out there, you’re going to have some problems with Tilmon.

Althoff coach Greg Leib on dealing with East St. Louis star center Jeremiah Tilmon

Dealing with Tilmon and the Flyers’ depth and aggressive defense made it tough on Althoff in the first meeting.

East St. Louis senior Jeremiah Tilmon on Thursday made his college choice official with a press conference in the school library. The 6-foot-10 post player will play for the University of Illinois Fighting Illini at Champaign next year.

“I don’t care, unless you’re trotting Bill Walton out there, you’re going to have some problems with Tilmon,” Leib said. “He has a great game, a hybrid game. He’s got a new kids’ game with some old-school fundamentals, and that makes it difficult to score on him.”

Two of Althoff’s three losses are to Edwardsville, including in the championship game of the Collinsville Tournament. The other is against 4A state-ranked Chicago Curie. The Crusaders have a South Seven Conference game Friday night in Marion before the Shootout.

Coldon (13.2 ppg) is a senior guard who recently committed to play football at Wyoming. Seniors Marvin Bateman (12.2 ppg, 27 total 3-pointers), Dante Ray (9.7 ppg) and Edwyn Brown (7.9 ppg) are the Crusaders’ other top players.

“It’s been a good experience for us at Highland,” Leib said. “Last year it helped prepare us with what we saw in that sectional final with the heightened atmosphere and knowing every possession was so important.

“Our three losses are to top 10 teams in the state, so our process is to get better daily as a team and as individuals.”

Junior Zachery Forest hit a late 3-pointer in overtime Friday to give East St. Louis a 67-66 victory over Springfield Southeast in the third-place game of the Collinsville Prairie Farms Holiday Classic. Forest made a layup at the buzzer in regulat

Other matchups

▪  Vianney vs. Carbondale, 11:30 a.m.: Carbondale has a pair of strong juniors in Kani Acree and Darius Beane, while Vianney’s top player is 6-5 senior Eric Krus (18.9 ppg).

▪  Belleville East vs. Webster Groves (Mo.), 1 p.m.: Led by Illini recruit Javon Pickett (22.6 ppg) and seniors Malachi Smith (13.3 ppg) and Rico Sylvester (11.3 ppg), Belleville East is 3-3 in its last six games and coming off a loss to O’Fallon. Webster Groves (7-2) is led by Courtney Ramey (20.9 ppg) who has offers from some Illinois, Missouri, SLU and other power 5 conference programs.

▪  Highland vs. Kansas City (Mo.) Rockhurst, 3 p.m.: Highland (3-10) stunned then No. 1 Okawville at the Mater Dei Christmas Tournament and are led by sophomores Sam LaPorta (9.7 ppg) and Brady Feldman (8.6 ppg). Rockhurst’s top player is 6-4 senior guard Chris Teahan, the brother of former Kansas standout Connor Teahan.

▪  Champaign Central vs. Chaminade, 4:45 p.m.: Champaign Central (8-6) features the second-ranked player in Illinois the class of 2018 in 6-6 shooting guard and Division I recruit Tim Finke. Chaminade’s (10-1) only loss is to Shootout competitor Champaign Central and their top scorers are 6-7 junior Jericole Hellems (20.1 ppg), 6-6 junior Karrington Davis (19.9 ppg) and 6-4 senior guard Reggie Crawford (18.6 ppg).

▪  Peoria Manual vs. Stevenson, 6:30 p.m.: Stevenson’s top player is 6-7 senior Indiana recruit Justin Smith, a four-star prospect ranked 79th in the nation by ESPN. Senior Willie Herenton is the other top scoring threat. Manual (6-5) lost senior Da’Monte Williams to a torn ACL, the team’s second ACL injury this season. Manual’s top players on the court are senior guard Neshawn Brooks and freshman guard Adam Miller.

▪  Highland vs. Civic Memorial (girls), 10 a.m.: Civic Memorial (15-0 before Thursday) is ranked first in the Class 3A state poll and has beaten fourth-ranked Mississippi Valley Conference rival Highland (12-3) twice this season, 58-53 and 57-45. Troeckler (22.3 ppg) is CM’s all-time leading scorer. Highland is led by Madison Wellen (19.4 ppg) and Alex LaPorta (14.2 points, 14.3 rebounds per game).

East St. Louis senior Jeremiah Tilmon talks to BND Sports Editor Todd Eschman before making his college choice official with a press conference Thursday in the school library. The 6-foot-10 post player will continue his career at the University of

The Althoff Crusaders defeated the Quincy Blue Devils 73-61 as senior Jordan Goodwin scored 28 points and corralled 10 rebounds. Althoff has advanced to the semifinals of the Collinsville-Prairie Farms Holiday Classic.

Zachery Forest talks about his two huge shots that helped the East St. Louis Flyers defeat Springfield Southeast in OT in the third-place game at the Collinsville-Prairie Farms Holiday Classic tournament.

Norm Sanders: 618-239-2454, @NormSanders

At a glance

This is the schedule for the 2017 Highland Shootout:

  • Highland vs. Civic Memorial (Girls), 10 a.m.
  • Vianney vs. Carbondale, 11:30 a.m.
  • Belleville East vs. Webster Groves (Mo.), 1 p.m.
  • Highland vs. Kansas City (Mo.) Rockhurst, 3 p.m.
  • Champaign Central vs. Chaminade, 4:45 p.m.
  • Peoria Manual vs. Stevenson, 6:30 p.m.
  • Althoff vs. East St. Louis, 8:15 p.m.
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