CARLINVILLE — Blake Marks went wild — for a half -- Monday.
The sharpshooting East Alton-Wood River guard poured in a bucketful of first-half points — 26, to be exact — against Bunker Hill in the 50th annual Carlinville Holiday Boys' Basketball Tournament.
Then the Minutemen, trailing by 7 points at the break, figured out how to curtail Marks and post a 60-50 win over the Oilers.
The 6-foot-1 Marks finished with 32 points, but it wasn’t enough for 4-7 EA-WR, which slipped to 0-2 in the tournament. Bunker Hill improved to 7-5 overall and 2-0 in the eight-team tourney that continues today and concludes Wednesday.
“That Marks found a way to score against us in the first half. He even made a 30-footer,” marveled Bunker Hill head coach Jay Goltz. “He’s the toughest player we have played against so far this season. He can score from the inside or outside.”
Marks’ 26 opening-half points, including the Oilers' first 15 points, even eclipsed Bunker Hill's scoring. EA-WR led 31-24 at half.
However, the Minutemen junked their traditional zone defense for man-to-man guarding the second half and it worked. They limited the Oilers to 19 points, with Marks getting 6 of them. Bunker Hill outscored them 20-9 in the fourth quarter to put the finishing touches on its victory.
“We had a little fatigue in the second half,” EA-WR coach Kyle Duncan said. “And we also made some mistakes down the stretch.”
Thanks to Stormmy Coffman, Dane Sellers and some clutch free throw shooting, the Minutemen overtook the Oilers, who lee 41-40 after three quarters. Coffman and Sellers both scored 18 points, and Bunker Hill converted 26 of 42 free throws, including 13 of 22 in the fourth quarter.
“They (Minutemen) made more free throws than we took,” a puzzled Duncan said. EA-WR hit only 6 of 18 foul shots, and the Oilers missed all 8 of their free throws in the second half. They were 19 of 48 from the field. The Minutemen were 14 of 46.
Marks finished the game with 11 of 27 shooting, including 4 treys. He sank 6 of 13 free throws before he fouled out with 1:16 remaining. Marks wound up 9 points shy of the single-game tournament scoring record. Bunker Hill’s Terry Bruckert tallied 41 points in 1976.
Riverton’s Michael Tisdale owns the tourney scoring mark with 118 points in 2005. Marks has logged 62 points in two games, and the Oilers still have a pair to play, including a 2 p.m. Red Pool date Tuesday against Mount Olive.
Teammate Hunter Hall (7 points) added to the Oilers’ total against Bunker Hill, though all of his points came in the fourth quarter. Four more EA-WR players combined for 11 points.
“We were really battling them and so was Blake,” Duncan said. “But there’s only so much he can do. His legs weren’t there in the second half.”
Goltz sought to wear down Marks, so he put 5-10 junior Christian Summers on him for most of the second half. The Minutemen began the half playing a box-and-1 defense, then went man-to-man. The change seemed to lift them.
“I hope I never have to do it again,” Goltz quipped about the man-to-man defense. “My kids like to play man-to-man defense, but I’m a zone defense guy.
“But we had no other choice today.”
Duncan said the Oilers need to develop a way to finish their games more efficiently. They led 18-10 at the end of the first quarter and once sported a 10-point advantage in the first half.
“I think we had them (Minutemen) on the ropes, then some things didn’t go our way,” he said. “We have to overcome that when it happens. Bunker Hill was due for a run in the second half and they got it. They knocked down their free throws and we didn’t do a great job getting to the foul line.”
(Red Pool play)
BUNKER HILL 60, EA-WR 50
Bunker Hill 10 14 16 10 – 60
EA-WR 18 13 10 9 – 50
Bunker Hill (7-5) — Stormmy Coffman 18, Chase Williams 9, Austin Yates 4, Dane Sellers 18, Sean Yates 2, Christian Summers 9. 2FG-8 3FG-6 FT-26 PF-21
EA-WR (4-7) – Blake Marks 32, Justin Englar 2, Zane Butkovich 3, Luke Wells 2, Hunter Hall 7, Zach Wells 4. 2FG-13 3FG-6 FT-6 PF-29