WOOD RIVER — East Alton-Wood River senior guard Blake Marks crossed a career milestone on Wednesday night in the Oilers' non-conference contest against the Brussels Raiders in Wood River.
Marks scored his 1,000th point, making him one of 14 players in school history to do so. He also paced his team’s offense with 23 points in the 54-35 win. Nineteen of the points came in the first half.
The magic moment came at the 5:59 mark in the second quarter on a free throw concluding a three-point play. Marks referred to the three-point play as “really exciting.” The senior played a limited amount of varsity minutes his freshman year before earning a significant amount as a sophomore.
“I never thought I’d get here,” he said. “I never thought I’d get 1,000 points. I proved myself wrong.”
The senior also recorded 11 rebounds in the virtuoso performance.
“He kind of did it all again,” EA-WR head coach Kyle Duncan said of Marks. “Our younger guys tonight did a better job of playing with him, it shows by the point totals. Overall, he just had one heck of a ball game.”
Although Marks was the only Oiler in double figures, 11 out of 12 players in the game scored. The Raiders (2-6) jumped out to a 5-0 lead in the first two minutes. A basket and a 3-pointer from Marks tied the contest though. EA-WR led 12-11 at the end of the first quarter and Marks scored 10 points in the quarter.
“He (Marks) was seeing a box-and-one the whole night,” Duncan said. “I think he attacked it pretty well. They did a little better job on him in the second half. He put all of the faith in his players and they got the job done as well.”
Marks’ 1,000th point made the score 15-13 in favor of the Oilers in the second quarter. The three points also ignited a 7-2 run and EA-WR led 20-15 at the 4:50 mark. The Oilers continued to build their lead throughout the rest of the second frame and led 34-20 at halftime.
The third quarter was a low scoring affair with EA-WR outscoring the Raiders 7-6. The Oilers outscored Brussels 13-9 in the fourth quarter.
Mason Castleton led Brussels’ offense with eight points.
“We ran a jump defense, we ran a nine and one at him,” Brussels coach Mark Hillen said on Marks. “Us being down a few older players (to injury), it really limited us in being able to help when he did get past our guy. The kids played hard, but with us having some kids out it was very tough to shut down a guy like him. He made some space and created some easy shots, but he made some tough ones, too.”
The Oilers improve to 4-5 with the win. They next play Gillespie at 8 p.m. on Dec. 26 to open the Carlinville Holiday Tournament.
Duncan admitted the win over Brussels is a positive note heading into the tournament.