Boys Basketball

Althoff drops Marion to remain atop conference standings

Althoff basketball senior talks about win over Marion

The Belleville IL Althoff Catholic High School Crusaders boys basketball team defeated the Marion IL High School Wildcats boys basketball team in an Illinois High School Association boys basketball team in Southern Illinois, near St. Louis, MO. Ma
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The Belleville IL Althoff Catholic High School Crusaders boys basketball team defeated the Marion IL High School Wildcats boys basketball team in an Illinois High School Association boys basketball team in Southern Illinois, near St. Louis, MO. Ma

Marvin Bateman drained five first-quarter 3-pointers to ignite the fuse that carried the Althoff Crusaders to an 84-66 victory over the Marion Wildcats on Friday.

Bateman missed his first 3-point attempt less than a minute into the game, but in a 3-minute-24-second span shortly after that the 6-foot-5 senior knocked down five in a row, turning an 8-2 Crusaders’ deficit into a 17-13 advantage.

The Crusaders (15-9, 7-2 South Seven) never trailed again, rolling to a win that snapped a four-game losing streak and left them alone atop the conference standings following Cahokia’s 67-66 loss at Carbondale on Friday night.

“I came in early today, got some shots up, came out feeling good,” said Bateman, who finished with a game-high 22 points. “And my teammates did a great job finding me. After that it was just up to me to make the shots.”

Crusaders coach Greg Leib complimented his team for recognizing that Bateman had the hot hand.

“The kids did a nice job of feeding Marvin,” Leib said. “He shoots like that all the time. Even when he’s not hitting, we keep feeding him because he is such a potent shooter.”

He also is glad to see his team back atop the South Seven standings.

“I know in the scheme of things it doesn’t seem to mean a lot,” Leib said, “but it’s nice to still be in the running for the conference championship because it is something the guys wanted to accomplish.”

Key sequence

Leading 24-19 following Bateman’s big first quarter, the Crusaders broke the game open in the second period, where they outscored the Wildcats 21-10.

Senior Dante Ray led the surge with 10 points. Edwyn Brown pitched in with five. Althoff’s lead would not dip below 13 points in the second half.

“We really got our defense going there,” said Leib, “and from that, we were able to get some runouts.

“Our guys did a real nice job of making some good decisions in the open court. Dante and Bryson (Strong) both got some nice hustle points for us.”

Strong, whose importance to Althoff has increased since it lost All-State selection Jordan Goodwin for the season because of shoulder surgery, had eight points and five rebounds in the win.

After a long post-game discussion with his team, first-year Marion coach Dave Brown did not have much to offer.

“The team we were out there tonight is not who we are,” said Brown, whose team dropped to 15-11 and 2-7 in the conference. “We just did not defend very well. We need to regroup and get ready for the next game.”

Key performers

Brown finished with 20 points and a team-high 10 rebounds for Althoff, while senior point guard CJ Coldon had 19 points.

Senior guard Justin Shadowens led Marion with 22 points. Freshman Jackson Connor had 12.

The Wildcats top scorer, Shadowens scored 13 of his points in the second half when the game seemed out of reach.

Althoff is back in action Saturday night in Breese to play Mater Dei.

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