In a game of scoring runs it was the Alton Marquette Explorers who had the final say Thursday against the Althoff Crusaders.
Marquette junior guard Brett Terry scored eight of his 12 points to key a 15-5 scoring run in the third quarter and the Explorers held off a late Althoff rally for a 55-49 nonconference win at Althoff High School.
Althoff (5-5), getting a rare four-point play from sophomore Ethyn Brown and a pair of baskets from Greg Wells in the second quarter, took a 26-21 lead at halftime.
But with Terry scoring on three straight jumpers early in the third quarter, Marquette (10-1) took advantage of the cold-shooting Crusaders to take a 36-31 lead heading into the final period. Althoff was just 1-of-17 from the field in the third quarter.
“You’re not going to win many games doing that,’’ Althoff coach Greg Leib said of the third quarter drought. “We had good looks and open shots, but they just didn’t drop. It seemed like we had shots roll in and out and hang on the rim a couple of times.
“We had a great week academically during final exams. The kids did great. Tonight ... not so good. But they are just kids.’’
With senior Nick Hemann scoring eight of his 14 points and guard Chris Hartrich making 8 of 9 from the free throw line in the final quarter, Marquette held off the Crusaders.
Althoff cut an eight-point deficit to 51-49 with under 15 seconds left, but Hartrich, one of two seniors in an otherwise young Marquette lineup, all but iced the win when he made two free throws with 9.4 seconds left to increase the lead to 53-49.
“I looked at what we had on the floor tonight a couple of times and we had three sophomores and two seniors playing a lot of minutes. We just don’t have the experience we’ve had in the past but we’ll get better,’’ Marquette coach Steve Medford said. “This is the first time we’ve played a team with this kind of speed and length and they hurt us with their quickness.
“Altoff is a good basketball team. They beat Centrralia and beat Marion already and so for us to come in here and win a game like this ... we’ll take it.’’
Wells led a balanced Althoff attack with 12 points while Daulton Burgner added nine and Patrick Readye and Jack Bruening chipped in with eight points each in the losing effort.