There was no denying the firepower of the Althoff Crusaders at the Collinsville-Prairie Farms Holiday Classic.
All five starters reached double figures Wednesday as the top-seeded Crusaders (11-1) devastated Decatur MacArthur 85-55 to win the championship of the 32nd annual tournament.
It was the Crusaders’ second title in Collinsville and their first since 2008. Their 30-point margin of victory made for the most one-sided championship game in tourney history.
“Since my freshman year when we lost, I always said I wanted to win this for our team, Coach (Greg) Leib and all the other players that lost here,” said Althoff junior Jordan Goodwin, who was named the tournament’s Most Valuable Player. “Last year, we lost to a good Collinsville team. The year before, we lost to a good Lincoln team.
“But I think this is our year.”
Senior Brendon Gooch led the Althoff onslaught with 21 points and 10 rebounds, while junior Marvin Bateman had 19 points and five 3-pointers. Bateman started for senior Keenen Young, who forgot his uniform and was unable to participate in warmups.
Last year, we lost to a good Collinsville team. The year before, we lost to a good Lincoln team. But I think this is our year.
Althoff junior Jordan Goodwin
Goodwin, meanwhile, had 18 points, 14 rebounds and eight assists. Junior C.J. Coldon had 13 points, four assists and three steals and senior Tarkus Ferguson had 10 points and 11 rebounds. Althoff outrebounded the Generals (9-3) 44-30 and recorded 22 assists.
“It’s all about sharing the ball,” Bateman said. “We all like to look for open teammates, and that’s what we did today. Whoever has the hot hand, we’re not too selfish to pass it.”
The large crowd buzzed as Althoff’s blitzkrieg attack started early. It built a 23-10 by the end of the first quarter as Goodwin had two dunks, the second coming on a lob from Ferguson.
The Crusaders led 46-28 at halftime and 75-40 after three quarters. For the third time in its four tournament games, Althoff enabled a running clock in the fourth quarter.
In short, the Generals never had a chance.
“They get up and down and have been playing together for a long time. You can tell,” MacArthur coach Ron Ingram said. “They’re real aggressive, they shoot the ball well, they’re very athletic. That’s a very good basketball team.
“I started coaching at Manual High School, and I’m used to seeing that at Manual. That team reminded me of some Manual High School teams that used to play except that (Althoff) shot better. Manual was mostly strictly defense. These guys could put some points up against some college teams.”
Junior Randy Thaxton had 12 points off the bench to lead MacArthur. Sophomore Amir Brummett also reached double figures with 11 points.
Leib said Althoff’s stellar play has been “a carryover from last season” when the Crusaders finished second in the Class 3A state tournament in Peoria.
“We’re playing hot right now and the guys are shooting in rhythm,” he said. “We’re making the extra pass and finding the open guy. We’ve got four or five guys in here who passed up on 10 points each just by making that extra pass. That’s what helps us be more effective. ... We just played well and hit some shots.”
The previous most lopsided championship game in tournament history had been in 2002, when Peoria ripped Althoff 78-52.
Goodwin said it’s the Crusaders’ goal to jump on opponents from the outset.
“Always,” Goodwin said. “Keenen always says, ‘Let’s go out and get the game over so we can go home.’ We just want to keep winning. This tournament was a big tournament for us.”
Althoff averaged 82.2 points, shooting 55 percent (116-for-213) from the field and 41 percent from beyond the 3-point line (39-for-95). Its average margin of victory was 28.8 points.
They get up and down and have been playing together for a long time. You can tell. They’re real aggressive, they shoot the ball well, they’re very athletic. That’s a very good basketball team.
MacArthur coach Ron Ingram on the Crusaders
Ingram said the Crusaders are every bit as good as the numbers indicate.
“It’s the whole package, man,” Ingram said. “They play like some NBA ballplayers. That Goodwin kid is a very good basketball player, but they’ve got other players on that team that make him look good, too. They’ve got players that fit in real well with that system.”
Leib was in such a good mood after the game that he no longer was displeased with Young about forgetting his uniform. After all, it worked out OK.
“Ten years ago, I would have been so mad I wouldn’t have coached. I kid you not,” Leib said. “I’ve learned. OK, kids make mistakes. There will be consequences at practice.”
Goodwin headed the all-tournament team as the MVP, averaging 21 points and eight rebounds in Althoff’s four victories.
Other members of the team were: Bateman, Ferguson and Coldon of the Crusaders; Javon Pickett of Belleville East; Kenny Berry of Granite City; Ronnie Midgett of Collinsville; D’Angelo Hughes of Springfield Southeast; Jake Jobe of Quincy; Isaiah Bowers of Lincoln; and Keymonta Johnson of MacArthur.
Jobe set a record for most 3-pointers in a game with 10 as Quincy defeated two-time defending tournament champion Lincoln 57-38 to capture third place.