ROXANA — The Civic Memorial Eagles are getting pretty good at local rivalry games.
After topping Marquette Catholic and Jersey earlier in the season, the Eagles added the Roxana Shells to the list, beating them 67-55 on Friday at Milazzo Gymnasium in Roxana.
The win lifted CM to 7-2 on the season. The Shells dipped to 7-3 with the loss.
“We've got a lot of confidence right now,” CM guard David Lane said. Lane led all scorers with 21 points. “We couldn't feel any better coming off this win. We're going to go into the holiday tournament, heads high and hope to do our best.”
It was a huge third quarter that spurred the Eagles to victory. The game was tied 14-14 after one quarter and 27-27 at the half before CM erupted to outscore Roxana 26-15 in the third quarter, grabbing a 53-42 lead.
“I thought in the first half we competed well. We handled their pressure and got some easy baskets, but in the third quarter we came out flat the first two or three minutes and then we had two or three minutes where we were really flat,” Shells' head coach Mark Briggs said. “It was like we had to get the jack out of the car and fix the flat tire. We responded after that, but then it was too late.”
The Eagles were able to get some offensive rebounds in the third quarter and get some easy putbacks. Sophomore JaQuan Adams played a big role in the third, scoring 11 of his 20 points. David Lane sank three of his five 3-pointers in the game during the third stanza, too.
“We settled down a little bit,” CM head coach Doug Carey said of the third-quarter surge. “Eventually we're going to make those shots. We have guys who can shoot the ball and we started knocking them down. We were a little more patient in the second half. I think we can shoot the ball, but we haven't shown that a lot this year. Tonight we showed that in the second half.
“(Adams) played a great second half. He was on the boards, he was knocking down shots. He got in foul trouble in the first half. He probably only played five or six minutes. He was well rested and ready to go. He's pretty athletic and he can get to the glass.”
Another key aspect of CM's game was Brett Lane's defense on Roxana leading scorer Trace Gentry. Gentry was limited to four points on Friday, all in the fourth quarter and he was held without a 3-pointer. Gentry entered Friday averaging 18.1 points per game.
“Brett does a great job for us, he's our stopper,” Carey said. “He's always guarding the other team's best player and when he gets worn out we bring in Justin Williams and he does a pretty good job, too. (Lane) did a very good job on Trace. I think Gentry got frustrated quite a bit there.”
Briggs talked of the work of junior Zach Golenor, who stepped up Friday and led the Shells with 18 points.
“With basketball it takes five guys to be successful and Zach Golenor stepped up tonight,” Briggs said. “That's the thing, once these two guys (Gentry and Golenor) learn to play with each other and the other guys learn to play with them we'll continue to grow.”
CM began the game on a 5-0 run. Adams had a free throw and a field goal and David Lane made a bucket. Roxana clawed back though, tying it 9-9 on a score by Blake Vandiver. A traditional 3-point play by Golenor had the Shells ahead 14-11 with 44.7 seconds to go in the first, but Brandon Hampton nailed a trey in the waning seconds to knot it at 14-14.
The Eagles owned a 27-22 advantage with 1:53 remaining in the half, but Roxana fought back again. Buckets from Golenor and Cody McMillen and a free throw by Vandiver made it 27-27 entering the break.
McMillen and Golenor led all scorers with 10 points apiece at the break. Briggs praised McMillen's play in the first half. He got a lot of easy baskets in the paint to help pace the Shells.
“McMillen was sound in most phases of the game tonight,” Briggs said. “He had great hands tonight, made some big shots in some big time pressure. For Cody, he's really taking some quantum leaps and growing up.”
David Lane thought CM played more crisp on offense in the second half and with Adams returning from first-half foul trouble, the Eagles were better able to limit McMillen. McMillen finished with 16 points.
“We had to be smarter and take care of the ball a little better,” Lane said. “We had to have better possessions on offense. We were rushing it a little bit and taking some pretty bad shots. Coach told us to slow it down. (With Adams out in foul trouble) they put some extra pressure on us and McMillen got some open layups when he wasn't on the floor.”
The Eagles opened the second half with a 7-0 spurt to take a 34-27 lead. The Shells were never able to draw even the rest of the way. With Adams back, David Lane said it opened up the perimeter shooting. They knocked down four 3-pointers in the third quarter. Lane had three of them.
“It takes a lot of pressure off the perimeter because people are worried about him inside,” Lane said. “It really opens up the 3-point shot.”
CM and Roxana will now enjoy Christmas before heading to their respective holiday tournaments. The Eagles are in the Columbia/Freeburg Holiday Tournament, starting Dec. 26 while the Shells travel to the Duster Thomas Hoops Classic in Pinckneyville beginning Dec. 28.
CIVIC MEMORIAL 67, ROXANA 55
CM 14 13 26 14 — 67
Roxana 14 13 15 13 — 55
EAGLES (7-2) — Brandon Hampton 7, David Lane 21, Brett Lane 10, JaQuan Adams 20, Justin Williams 5, Geoff Withers 4. 2FG — 18 3FG — 8 FT — 7 PF — 12
ROXANA (7-3) — Blake Vandiver 7, Trace Gentry 4, Cody McMillen 16, Zach Golenor 18, Chance Foss 8, Chris Pulley 2. 2FG — 18 3FG — 5 FT — 4 PF — 15