BETHALTO — The Granite City Warriors journeyed to Bethalto short handed on Tuesday and the Civic Memorial Eagles took advantage of it.
CM defeated the Warriors 52-50 with their top two leading scorers watching from the bench. Kenny Berry was sidelined with a bruised knee and Tra' Allen was serving a one game suspension.
The Eagles did just enough in a fast paced contest that saw a total of 39 turnovers, 17 by CM and 22 by GCHS. With the win the Eagles improved to 11-4, while the Warriors dipped to 8-7 with the loss. Granite City had defeated CM 60-39 in a previous meeting on Nov. 28.
“It's a win,” Eagles' head coach Doug Carey said. “I don't think we played very well. I don't think we deserved to win. We had 17 turnovers and they had 22, so really neither team deserved to win when you look at that part of it.”
But GCHS head coach Steve Roustio was satisfied with what he got out of his Warriors. Considering Granite City was leaving 31 points per game on the bench Tuesday, he couldn't complain much. Berry averages 19.8 ppg., while Tra' Allen chips in with 11.6 ppg.
“We wanted to play hard and I thought our guys did that,” Roustio said. “Nobody wants to lose by two, I don't want to lose by two. They made plays, we didn't make plays, but we played hard. Defensively we didn't do what we needed to do, but offensively without 30 plus points, scoring 50 I was happy about that.”
CM got its heroics from an unlikely source late in the game. Senior Brett Lane entered the fourth quarter with zero points and four fouls. He then answered with 10 fourth-quarter points and went 8 of 9 from the charity stripe down the stretch.
“We were sitting on the bench and coach turned around and said, 'Can any of you guys play without being scared and throwing the ball away?' That told me we needed to do something, we needed to pick it up and start playing better,” Lane said. “When he put me in I just tried to get to the basket, get some good shots and just keep the ball moving and help everybody get where we needed to be to score some points.”
Granite City senior Ron Allen, who scored a game-high 20 points, put the Warriors up 48-45 with 2:33 remaining in the game with his fifth 3-pointer of the game. CM got a free throw from JaQuan Adams and a traditional 3-point play from Lane to leap frog back in front 49-48 with 1:43 to play.
Allen nailed a pair of free throws with 1:32 left to propel GCHS back on top 50-49, but Lane answered with 3 of 4 shooting from the charity stripe to push the Eagles up for good at 52-50 with 15 seconds to go. Allen took a contested 3-pointer at the buzzer for the tie, but the desperation shot missed its mark.
Nonetheless, Roustio raved of Allen's performance as the lone senior for GCHS on the floor.
“Ron stepped up,” Roustio said. “He's the only senior on the floor and he was playing with some juniors. Two of them have a lot of playing time, one of them, Malique Mason, probably plays half a game, but the other guys have minimal time.”
Carey said Allen had been a focal point for the defense, but he didn't think the Eagles did a very good job of containing him.
“He played well. He knocked down five threes,” Carey said of Allen. “That really shouldn't have happened because we had his number up on the board, no threes from him, and he got a bunch of them.”
CM led 16-13 after one quarter and owned a 26-23 advantage at halftime, despite Carey saying the team played “scared” throughout the first half, rushing shots due to Granite City's speed.
The Eagles were up 34-29 in the third quarter after Geoff Withers completed a traditional 3-point play with 4:16 left in the stanza. A bucket by Granite City's Jacob Spears and a trey from Allen drew the Warriors even at 34-34 with 1:44 left in the third.
The two squads traded scores to be tied 36-36, before David Lane hit the front end of two free throws to give CM a 37-36 edge after three quarters.
It set up the seesaw fourth quarter and Brett Lane's ultimate heroics.
“He had zero points, zero rebounds, zero everything until the fourth quarter, but he came through there at the end,” Carey said of Lane. “When we needed him he stepped up and he made some plays down the stretch.”
Adams led the Eagles in scoring Tuesday with 14 points, complemented by Lane's 10 points. The Warriors were paced by Allen, but also supported by Jake Roustio's 10 points.
Next up for Granite City is a Southwestern Conference date with Belleville East at 7:30 p.m. Friday at home, while CM enters the Litchfield Invitational as the No. 1 seed at 5:30 p.m. Saturday vs. Hillsboro in Litchfield.
CM 52, GRANITE CITY 50
Warriors 13 10 13 14 — 50
Eagles 16 10 11 15 — 52
GRANITE CITY (8-7) — Torrey Deal 2, Jacob Spears 4, Jake Roustio 10, Malique Mason 9, Ron Allen 20, Jaylin Harper 5. 2FG — 9 3FG — 6 FT — 14 PF — 23.
CM (11-4) — Brandon Hampton 4, David Lane 8, Adam Hill 3, Brett Lane 10, JaQuan Adams 14, Caden Clark 2, Justin Williams 7, Geoff Withers 4. 2FG — 12 3FG — 3 FT — 19 PF — 20.