It was just eight days ago that the Granite City Warriors battled back from six points down to defeat the East St. Louis Flyers at the holiday tournament in Collinsville.
But they ran into a different East St. Louis team on its home floor Friday night. The Flyers beat Granite City 75-50 to put an end to a five-game losing streak that included that loss to the Warriors last week.
“I knew it was going to be like this,” said Granite City head coach Steve Roustio. “I tried to tell my guys we were going to come in here and find a lot of guys who were hungry. They got their revenge on us, that’s for sure.”
Granite City might have lost more than standing in the Southwestern Conference. Senior guard Kenny Berry, one of the St. Louis region’s top scorers at 21.1 points per game, went down in a pile midway through the second quarter and had to be carried off the floor.
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Roustio said Berry had earlier hyper extended the same knee and is preparing for the worse.
East St. Louis improved to 7-9 with the win, while Granite City fell to 8-6.
After losing three in a row at Collinsville, the Flyers dropped close games to CBC and Edwardsville.
“I wouldn’t say this one game has taken the pressure off, but it is a starting point and something to build on,” said East St. Louis coach Phillip Gilbert. “The guys came out and defended the home court. I’m proud of them for that.”
East St. Louis’ defense dominated the game from the start and held Granite City to just four field goals in the first half. Berry was held to three points before being injured.
The Flyers, meanwhile built leads of 20-7 at the end of the first quarter, and 40-21 by the end of the half. Terrence Hargrove scored all eight of points in the first quarter and Kenny Roberson brought the homecoming crowd into the game with a steal and one-handed dunk as part of a 14-0 East Side run.
“The kids were real active today,” said East St. Louis coach Phillip Gilbert. “We’ve worked hard in practice on hitting our free throws and getting stops. We didn’t hit our free throws tonight, but we did get our stops and created a lot of offense for ourselves.”
East St. Louis opened the second half with a 12-0 run, six points coming from junior Arthur Carter.
Granite City’s lone highlight of the night came from Tra’ron Allen who picked up a loose ball rebound, scored with a dunk on the other end of the court and drew the foul. But Allen, the Warriors’ second best scorer at 11.5 points per game, was later ejected when things got physical in a scrum for a loose ball.
“Let’s face it, basketball can at times be a finesse game and at times be more of a physical game,” said Roustio. “It was definitely the later tonight.”
Carter scored a game-high 14 points. He was the only one of 15 East St. Louis scorers to reach double figures. Roberson had nine.
Tra’ron Allen scored 13 for Granite City and Ron Allen added 10.