The Marquette Catholic Explorers defeated the Freeburg Midgets 67-48 on Wednesday in a non-conference boys' basketball affair. As a bonus, 5-foot-8 senior guard Shandon Boone eclipsed 1,000 points for his career in just his second season with the Explorers.
Boone transferred from CBC prior to his junior season and has enjoyed two stellar campaigns with Marquette. On Wednesday, Boone netted 27 points, highlighted by five 3-pointers to spur the Explorers to victory.
“He can do a lot of things for us, but I say it's a very unselfish 1,000 points,” Marquette head coach Steve Medford said. “He's a great kid and been a great leader for our team and it's just an amazing feat, because you never look at a kid like him and think, 'Is he selfish trying to get those 1,000?' That's not the case with Shandon. I'm pretty proud of him.”
Medford, a good player in his own right, starred as an undersized guard at Jersey High and went on to play at Lindenwood University. He admitted that he sees similarities between himself and Boone and it has helped their relationship, but he believes Boone has eclipsed where he was at this point of his career.
“We've had a really good relationship,” Medford said. “I talk to him all the time, but it's a different game nowadays from when I was playing. That was 15, 20 years ago, but we do relate in a lot of ways. I see a lot of similarities to the way I played and the way Boone plays; the way he shoots the ball, but I think he's better. I've told him that. He's better than I was and I think he deserves a shot at playing at the next level and I think he's good enough to play at the next level.”
Boone is getting some looks from junior college and NAIA programs and Medford thinks there will be other programs that put him on their radars as the season nears its end.
“He's got a few JUCOs looking at him and he's got Graceland, a NAIA school out of Iowa that's looking at him right now,” Medford said. “I think he's a scholarship player and I'm going to try and get a few more feelers out for him. He deserves it.
“The problem we have is the same problem I had, he kind of gets overlooked because of his height. That's a problem and I hate it, but it's the reality of the business.”
Marquette improved to 19-8 on the season with the victory over Freeburg. Ben Sebacher scored 12 points, Nick Messinger punched in 11 and Reagan Snider chipped in with 9 to complement Boone.
The Explorers now welcome Breese Central at 7:30 p.m. Friday for senior night. The Cougars are 23-5 and ranked No. 3 in the latest Class 2A state poll.
Marquette enters the Class 2A Dupo Regional next week as the No. 2 seed out of the Sub-Sectional. The Explorers play at 7 p.m. Tuesday vs. Monday's winner between East Alton-Wood River and Dupo.
If the seeds play out, Marquette could meet Breese Central in the Pinckneyville Sectional semifinals the following week. That will be in the back of Medford's mind when the Explorers face the Cougars on Friday.
“I don't put a lot of (stock) into it, but there are a few things in that game,” Medford said. “They don't do a lot, but they know how to play. I think the big key is how well we guard the ball screen and they do a lot of good stuff with the ball screen offense and they're going to create good mismatches against us.
“Tomorrow it might be more of, 'Hey, let's just go out and play and see how they attack it.' Obviously the competitor in me wants to win, but I also know there can be some good come out of it if we don't take care of business.
“There's still a lot to do and they are the farthest thing from our minds, but if everything falls out and we were to take care of Roxana — obviously Roxana is going to be a big, big test — that would be a rematch. (Central) has kind of been a thorn in my side. If we were to get taken out by them it would be the third time in four years I've been taken out by them in my time here.”