With the score tied and with Bloomington senior Chris Payton on the bench, the East St. Louis Flyers were in a good position after one quarter of their game at the Highland Scott Credit Union/Optimist Basketball Shootout Saturday.
It didn’t last long.
Senior Griffin Moore canned three NBA range 3-point jumpers to ignite the Purple Raiders, who outscored East St. Louis 38-21 in the second and third quarters and went on for a convincing 76-63 victory.
Bloomington (12-4), which led 35-33 at halftime, broke the 6-7 Payton loose in the second half. Headed to SIU-Carbondale, the 6-foot-7 Purple Raiders star scored 11 of his 24 points as part of a 21-6 surge as Bloomington blew the game open.
Sign Up and Save
Get six months of free digital access to Belleville News-Democrat
“We knew whoever they put us against that it would be a tough matchup. We felt like we had something to prove,’’ Payton said. “ Up by two at halftime we felt good because we knew what they were running and that we could adjust to it.
“They were forcing the ball inside to (Terrance) Hargrove and we felt that if we could hold him in check that we would be alright.’’
East St. Louis (11-5), which made just two turnovers in the first half, came apart in the third quarter. The Flyers turned the ball over on five of their first seven possessions and had 11 of their 18 turnovers in the period.
Meanwhile with Payton, Caleb Donaldson (16 points) and Moore, remaining red hot from the floor, the Purple Raiders lead continued to mount.
“They (Bloomington) made adjustments and we made adjustments. Some of those 3-point shots where from where Stephen (Curry) shoots them from,’’ Flyers coach Mark Chambers said. “We just made mistake after mistake in the third quarter. Things we haven’t done all year.
“It was probably our worst quarter of the season.”
Bloomington was 29 of 51 from the floor (56.9 percent) and made eight of 12 from beyond the 3-point line. Hargrove led the Flyers with 17 points, while Cornelius LeFlore added 15.
Nashville 57, Effingham 48
Bouncing back from a last second loss at Pinckneyville on Friday, Nashville (16-2) broke out to 17-10 lead and never looked back as it defeated the Flaming Hearts.
Ranked first in the Class 2A state poll, the Hornets (16-2) got 21 points from senior Bryce Bultman and 10 from Matt Anderson.
Landon Wolfe led Effingham (9-4) with 20 points.
Normal West 49, Edwardsville 27
Carson Camp led a balanced attack as Normal West easily handled the cold-shooting Tigers in the opening boys game of the day.
Camp had 12 points for the Wildcats (6-10) which led 25-10 at halftime. Nick Hemken paced Edwardsville (3-11) with eight points. The Tigers were just 11-of-42 from the field (26.2 percent).
Poplar Bluff 56, Highland 41
Tyler Cline scored 20 points and Dominique Hardimon added 16 as the Mules defeated the cold-shooting Bulldogs in the opening game of the second session.
Poplar Bluff (10-2) raced out to a 13-8 lead after one quarter and never trailed as Highand, despite playing on its home floor, suffered through a woeful shooting night. Highland (16-3) was just 13 of 47 from the floor (27.7 percent).
“It was just one of those nights when the shot just didn’t fall,’’ Bulldogs coach Brian Perkes said. “I was pleased with our effort. I thought our effort was good. But you aren’t going to beat many teams scoring only 41 points.
Sam LaPorta led Highland with 10 points.
Christian Brothers College (CBC) Prep 67,
Columbia, (Mo.) Rock Bridge 66
Missouri all-stater Caleb Love scored 23 points and Josh Wallace added 16 as the Cadets (11-7) edged Rock Bridge in a tight contest.
Isaiah Mosley, one of four players iin double figures, paced Rock Bridge (8-2) with 19 points.
Milwaukee Nicolet 71,
Ranked as the No. 1 junior in the nation by some scouting services, Nicolet sensation Jalen Johnson didn’t disappooint as he recorded a triple-double as he led his team to a nine-point win.
Playing with a sprained right ankle, Johnson finished with 19 points, 13 rebounds and 11 assists. Teammate Jamari Siblley led Nicolet (10-1) with 24 points.
Junior Luke Kasubke led Chaminade (7-5) with 28 points.
Highland 47, East St. Louis 42 (girls)
Megan Kronk and Bella LaPorta combined for 26 points and the Bulldogs held off a late Fyerettes charge as host Highland won the girls game at Highland High School.
Kronk led the way for Highland (16-4) with 16 points, including the go-ahead 3-point jumper with just under two minutes left.
Lamad’j Milton led East St. Louis (6-11) with 13 points while Chamya Darough and Mya Glanton added 10 points each.