The East St. Louis Flyers completed the next step toward their season-long goal of a Class 3A State Tournament berth at the Mascoutah Sectional on Friday.
Behind a pair of double-doubles by Terrence Hargrove Jr. and Richard Robinson, the Flyers flew past the host Mascoutah Indians, 77-60, and into the Springfield Super-Sectional on Tuesday. They’ll face Springfield Southeast, a 66-43 winner over Lincoln at their own sectional, which was ranked third in the most recent Associated Press 3A state basketball poll. East St. Louis is ranked fourth.
Richard Robinson shot 9 of 15 from the field, including a pair of three-point baskets, to pace East Side with 24 points. The 6-foot-7 senior completed the double-double with 16 rebounds, 13 of them on the offensive end.
Hargrove, who’ll be suiting up for Saint Louis University this time next year, scored 16 points to go with 13 rebounds and five blocked shots. Cornelius LeFlore pitched in 13 points for East St. Louis. Jashawn Anderson scored eight while Traeveion Jones and Elijah Rice scored seven apiece.
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Mascoutah was led by Cedric Rhodes’ 15 points with and Aly Keys pitching in 12. The fourth-seeded Indians reached the finals with a stunning 27-point win over No. 2 Highland in Wednesday’s semifinal. It was their first sectional game since 2007.
Mascoutah’s season ends at 23-12, its first winnings season in 10 years.
East St. Louis improved to 27-6, but has lost just once since falling to Bloomington at the Highland Shootout on Jan. 5.
For the third time this postseason, the Flyers’ advancement will depend on victory in their opponent’s hometown. East Side defeated Breese Mater Dei in the Central High School regional finals, then clipped Mascoutah on Friday to win the sectional.
Tuesday’s Super-Sectional will be held at the Bank of Springfield Center in downtown Springfield beginning at 7 p.m.
Southeast is not unfamiliar with Southwestern Conference teams, though have yet to face the Flyers this season.
The Spartans played defending 4A state champion Belleville West to within a point, 74-73, on Jan. 26. A week later, they defeated Alton by six at the O’Fallon Shootout. They also knocked off the host Kahoks in the championship game of the Collinsville Holiday Tournament.
Southeast (30-2) is led by senior point guard Terrion Murdix, who is averaging 18.4 points and 8.3 rebounds per game. It also gets contributions from senior Stepheon Sims (10.2 ppg) and sophomore James Dent (9.4)