CENTRALIA Belleville West advanced to the consolation championship game of the Centralia Holiday Tournament with a dominating 64-37 win over O’Fallon Wednesday morning.
The Maroons opened a fast 15-2 lead and never looked back. They’ll face Cahokia, a 59-55 overtime winner over Jacksonville in the other consolation bracket semifinal. That game tips off at 6 p.m.
O’Fallon shot just 24 percent from the field, landing just 13 field goal attempts. The Panthers were one-for-16 from three-point range. West was only slightly better at 38 percent, but pulled down 16 of its 44 rebounds on the offensive end to set up second and third shots.
The Maroons (3-7) out-rebounded the Panthers 44-22.
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We had great team defense, though. If one guy got beat, there was somebody else to back them up ... The other key was they had pretty much one shot and we got the rebounds.
Joe Muniz, Belleville West head coach
“The thing that we did the best was guard them. That was a concern coming in because they are smaller, quicker,” said West head coach Joe Muniz. “We had great team defense, though. If one guy got beat, there was somebody else to back them up. We made them hit contested shots.
“The other key was they had pretty much one shot and we got the rebounds."
O’Fallon (1-10) advanced to the consolation semifinal with a win over Chicago Sullivan late Tuesday night. The team bus departed Centralia’s Trout Arena until about 11:30 p.m. and brought them back less than nine hours later.
Were the Panthers just bus-lagged?
“We can make excuses all day long, but Belleville West had more to do with what happened today than the quick turnaround,” said O’Fallon coach Rick Gibson. “West really out-played us in every aspect of the game. They played great defense, they passed the ball well and they rebounded. They were the better team.”
We can make excuses all day long, but Belleville West had more to do with what happened today than the quick turnaround.
Rick Gibson, O’Fallon head coach on coupling a late game Tuesday with a 10 a.m. Wednesday start
Freshman E.J. Liddell scored 18 points despite sitting most of the second half. Tyler Dancy scored 13. Senior Andy Behrmann scored nine points to go with a game-high nine rebounds.
Senior Chance Armstrong was the only Panthers’ starter to score a field goal. He ended up with a team-high 8 points. Deion Norfleet and Nick Heltne each came off the bench to score seven.
The Commanches closed a six-point defecit in the fourth quarter to tie Jacksonville and eventually win, 59-55, in overtime.
Jackorey Jackson landed five of his six field goals from three-point range and was a perfect 4-for-4 from the free throw line. He ended up with a game-high 21 points.
Thomas Bell also sank four from beyond the arc to contribute 18 points to Cahokia’s cause. Eugene Gully scored just three, but had five rebounds and three assists.
Jacksonville shot 58 percent from the field compared to the Commanches’ 38 percent, but Cahokia forced the Crimsons into 14 turnovers.
Cahokia improved to 4-9 with the win.