BASKETBALL: Cahokia beats Belleville West in OT to claim trophy
The Cahokia Comanches played 10 total periods of tournament basketball, separated by seven hours of down time and a quick nap.
The reward for all their overtime work? A Centralia Holiday Tournament consolation championship.
Cahokia rallied from a 15-point third-quarter deficit in the title game to beat the Belleville West Maroons 54-51 in extended play. They had earlier beaten Jacksonville in the consolation bracket semifinal.
“To play at 10 a.m. then have to come back and play at 6 ... We got a nap on the bus, but the day took a lot out of the guys,” said Cahokia coach Darian Nash. “This will be a spring board. We always seem to turn one way or the other at the tournament.
“Hopefully we’ve made the turn and can keep it up as we start playing in conference.”
West had to perform on the same schedule, winning a 10 a.m. consolation semifinal game over O’Fallon. The Maroons must have missed their nap, though — head coach Joe Muniz said they ran out of gas.
They shot just 35 percent, turned the ball over 11 times and were outrebounded by the smaller Comanches.
“I thought our energy wasn’t as good as it was in the first half,” said West coach Joe Muniz. “They got a lot of loose balls and we turned the ball over a lot more in the second half. It wasn’t anything they did, it’s more what we did.”
The Maroons opened a 34-19 lead early in the third quarter and held on until Elijah Rice hit Cahokia’s sixth 3-pointer of the second half to tie the game. Chris McRoberts scored under the basket to give the Comanches their first lead of the game with 1:20 left in regulation.
The Maroons had a chance to salvage the win when junior center Tyler Dancy blocked a Thomas Bell shot with a minute left to set up a final shot. Freshman E.J. Liddell missed a pair of free throws and Jack Lanxon’s three-point attempt at the buzzer bounced off the rim.
Dancy scored the first points overtime, but field goals by McRoberts and Bell made the difference for Cahokia.
“It wasn’t the last 30 seconds of regulation that did us in,” Muniz said. “It was what we did throughout the third and fourth quarters that let them back in the game.”
West lost guard DeAndre Jackson early in the game when an elbow to the forehead during a loose-ball scrum sent him to the hospital for stitches. Without him, West struggled to protect the ball.
Nash credited his young team for turning the Maroons’ miscues into points.
“We still have a lot to learn and we still make mistakes,” he said. “But I was happy with the way we were able to take advantage of their mistakes and make some shots.”
Bell came off the bench to lead Cahokia with 13 points and 10 rebounds. Davis added 12 with five boards.
For West, Dancy scored 17 points, blocked five shots and pulled down nine rebounds. Liddell had 16 points and seven rebounds.
Cahokia improved to 5-9 with its four tournament wins. It returns to South Seven Conference play Jan. 8 at home against Carbondale. West (3-7) will play host to O’Fallon in a Southwestern Conference game Jan. 5.
Belleville West 64, O’Fallon 37
Belleville West dominated O’Fallon on Wednesday morning for the right to play for the consolation championship.
O’Fallon shot just 24 percent from the field, landing just 13 field-goal attempts. The Panthers were one-for-16 from 3-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) outrebounded the Panthers 44-22.
Liddell scored 18 points despite sitting most of the second half. 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 eight points. Deion Norfleet and Nick Heltne each came off the bench to score seven.
Cahokia 59, Jacksonville 55
The Comanches closed a six-point deficit in the fourth quarter to tie Jacksonville and eventually win in overtime.
Jackson landed five of his six field goals from 3-point range and was a perfect 4-for-4 from the free-throw line. He ended up with a game-high 21 points.
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 Comanches’ 38 percent, but Cahokia forced the Crimsons into 14 turnovers.