EJ Liddell scored 35 points and Belleville West limited Kansas University point guard recruit Quentin Grimes to 23 points Wednesday afternoon as the Maroons defeated College Park (Texas) 85-65 in the Washington Invitational.
“It was a great win,” West coach Joe Muniz said in a telephone interview. “I thought we played really well defensively. Jaylin Mosby, Justin Edwards and Curtis Williams did a phenomenal job on the Grimes kid. He scored 23, but they were a hard-earned 23. ... He was tired at the end.
“He kind of went off a little bit in the third quarter (with 12 points), but he had some cheap baskets. But when we had to guard him in the halfcourt, we did an awesome job. You’re not going to stop a scorer like him completely, but what we needed was for him to be around 20 points. We didn’t want him getting 30 or 40.”
West (2-0), which defeated Pekin 87-42 in the tournament opener Tuesday, had all five of its starters reach double figures against College Park (1-1). Junior Keith Randolph had 16 points and 12 rebounds, senior Malachi Smith had 11 points and juniors Mosby and Lawrence Brazill III had 10 points apiece.
The Maroons survived 65-percent shooting from the free-throw line (17 of 26).
Muniz said Liddell was “a man amongst boys out there.”
“He just keeps getting better,” said Muniz, who was thrilled to see Randolph make a major contribution. “They did not have an answer for EJ or Keith. Keith is a much better player this year than he was last year. Last year, he was playing behind Tyler (Dancy), so we had a three-headed monster for two positions.”
The Maroons will play Chicago Uplift in the semifinals at 4:30 p.m. Friday. Uplift also has a Kansas recruit in 5-11 junior Markese Jacobs.
“This is a good tournament,” Muniz said. “When we walk out to play Edwardsville in the first game of the (Southwestern) conference season (Dec. 2), we definitely will have played some good competition.”