Althoff’s high-octane offense was too hot to stop Tuesday.
Junior Jordan Goodwin scored 27 points and three others scored in double figures as the visiting Crusaders drubbed Belleville East 79-59 before a large crowd.
The Lancers (7-13) tried different zones and a man-to-man defense to try to subdue Althoff (19-2), but nothing worked as the Crusaders shot 49 percent (30-for-61).
“We were able to get some runoff basket, but I thought we passed against the zone as well as we have all year,” Althoff coach Greg Leib said. “Making that extra pass and getting the ball into the interior, and finding the open guy ... We were just able to get some good looks and make some plays.
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“East is going to be a tough out down the road because they keep fighting and they keep believing. We were just able to get up on them and keep the pressure on.”
Juniors Tarkus Ferguson (16 points) and Brendon Gooch (14), and sophomore Marvin Bateman (12) also reached double figures for Althoff. Bateman had three 3-pointers.
“We’re just sharing the ball,” Ferguson said. “Everybody can score on our team, so we just run the offense.”
Sophomores Javon Pickett (16) and Rico Sylvester (12), and senior Brady Schanuel (12) paced the Lancers.
East trailed 21-7 after the first quarter as Althoff scored four points in the final 13 seconds. Ferguson capped it off with a dunk at the buzzer on a feed from junior Keenen Young, playing his second game of the season since returning from an ankle injury.
“I wish I could say, ‘Yeah, we draw that up. We tip it there, we throw it down there and Tarkus goes and dunks it,’” Leib said. “That’s all the kids. They play ball and work on their game all the time. They have a knack and a feel for one another. Keenen could have shot it, but he passed it off to get a better look.”
The Lancers rallied to within 25-19 on two free throws by Sylvester with 5:05 left in the second quarter, but the Crusaders led 39-27 at halftime and 55-33 with 4:28 remaining in the third quarter. East was no closer than 13 points in the final 6:39.
“Offensive rebounds are a killer,” East coach Abel Schrader. “You give a team like that two or three chances, you can’t compete with them. We kept it reasonable and cut it to 14 or so a couple of times in the third, but it really wasn’t a game in the second half. They’re a really good team. They have weapons from all five spots.”
The Lancers shot 46 percent (21-for-46). The game against the Crusaders continued a difficult stretch of games that began with a loss to East St. Louis on Friday. East will play at Alton on Friday and at O’Fallon on Feb. 13.
“We’ve just got to continue to work,” Schrader said. “We’ve got to continue to get better offensively and defensively, we have to find some answers against teams that are among the best in the area.”
Goodwin has scored 78 points in his last three games at East, including a career-best 35 against McCluer on Jan. 23 in the Chick-fil-A Classic.
Young didn’t score for Althoff, but Leib is ecstatic to have him back.
“He just helps us so much,” Leib said. “He settles us. You’ve got to think, ‘OK, this is his second game, against a city-rivalry team.’ He’s doing great. He’s working hard, getting better, and every day he’s getting a little closer.”