Boys Basketball

Edwardsville coach pleased his team is staying focused

Edwardsville basketball star talks win over O'Fallon

Mark Smith talks Edwardsville basketball win over O'Fallon. The Tigers opened the third quarter with a 9-0 run and never looked back in a 75-58 victory over the Panthers.
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Mark Smith talks Edwardsville basketball win over O'Fallon. The Tigers opened the third quarter with a 9-0 run and never looked back in a 75-58 victory over the Panthers.

Edwardsville head coach Mike Waldo complimented his top scorers, seniors Mark Smith, Oliver Stephen for their focus, especially as top rebounder A.J. Epenesa travels the country at high school all-star football games.

Epenesa, committed to play football at the University of Iowa, registered two tackles at the U.S. Army All-America Bowl in San Antonio on Saturday. He’ll be back in a Tigers’ basketball uniform against Alton on Friday, then miss the next two games after that for the Polynesian Bowl in Honolulu, Hawaii.

Smith and Stephen have been entertaining college basketball recruiters, even as they have helped lead the Tigers to No. 3 on the Illinois Class 4A high school poll. Their minds have stayed on the task at hand, Waldo said.

“So much now, everything is ‘Michigan-bound this guy, Illinois State-bound this guy, Michigan State-bound this guy, Top 10 in this,’ and if you’re not careful, I think what guys do is always think about what they’re going to do next,” Waldo said. “When you’re always thinking about what you’re going to do next ... Let’s think about what you’re going to do now.”

Waldo referenced the popular 1971 song by Carly Simon, “Anticipation.”

“These are the good ol’ days,” Waldo said. “I don’t think my guys listen to Carly Simon, but I think my guys really do a good job of appreciating getting to play and trying to do well now, and I think that helps us.”

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