BETHALTO — It took some gritty guarding to drive home the points for the Civic Memorial High girls’ basketball team in Bethalto on Monday.
Score one for the defense.
The Eagles began sluggishly, then rushed past rival Roxana, 62-28, in a nonconference game. CM improved to 12-4 and Roxana fell to 9-8.
“Our defense got our offense going,” said CM sophomore Allie Troeckler, who made sure the Eagles scooted on both sides of the court. She scored a game-best 18 points and was instrumental in keeping the Shells’ high-scoring Maddy Sheraka in check.
The 5-foot-8 Sheraka, a senior averaging 18.6 points per game, was limited to seven points on 2-for-16 shooting. Troeckler made 9 of 14 shots, including six the first half.
“Our defense started out slowly, then it improved,” Troeckler said. “We began putting pressure on them and it made things more comfortable.”
Roxana, getting eight first-quarter points from Hannah Rexford, led 14-11 after eight minutes. Yet the Shells tallied just 14 points the rest of the way on 3-for-19 shooting. Their 23 turnovers hampered them.
“We came out, played a good first quarter and we showed a lot of confidence,” Roxana coach Tammy Talbert said. “Then we started turning the ball over and we lost our confidence. We tended to panic and couldn’t get our composure back.”
The Shells went six minutes without scoring in a two-point second quarter. They scored only seven points in the third quarter and five in the final one. Erica Sheets and Rexford led them with eight points apiece. Six of Sheets’ points came on free throws.
Overall, Roxana made 9 of 34 shots.
“We had a lot better effort in the second half,” CM coach Jonathan Denney said. “I don’t know what it is, but there are some games we don’t come out with maximum effort. That's an issue.
“The talent is there, but sometimes the effort comes and goes. I thought Roxana did a great job of hustling early in the game and we were a little lackadaisical.”
Roxana owned a 16-13 advantage two minutes into the second quarter, then CM used a 10-point binge to shoot ahead 23-16 by halftime. The Eagles led 28-16 before the Shells scored again. They trailed 47-23 after three quarters.
“We didn’t do a good job getting the ball into Maddy’s hands and Troeckler did a good job defensively on her,” Talbert said. “I was pleased with what we did in the first quarter, then we panicked a little when they started pressuring us.”
Denney added, “Allie really played good defense on Maddy and she (Troeckler) does a lot of good things for us. She’s a very good defender.”
Katelyn Turbyfill pitched in with 11 points to complement Troeckler, while Alaira Tyus and Kalyn Troxell both netted eight points. CM connected on 25 of 52 shots, including six treys. The Eagles were especially effective in a big third quarter when they hit 10 of 13 shots in scoring 24 points.
“It’s all about effort and we had a tremendous effort in the second half,” Denney said.
Next up for the Eagles are a pair of key Mississippi Valley Conference games. They play at Mascoutah on Thursday and welcome league-leader Highland on Jan. 15. Roxana entertains Pana in a South Central Conference contest Saturday afternoon.
CM 62, ROXANA 28
Roxana 14 2 7 5 – 28
CM 11 12 24 15 - 62
Roxana (9-8) – Sheraka 7, Sheets 8, Scroggins 2, E. Rexford 1, H. Rexford 8, Palen 2. 2FG-9 3FG-0 FT-10 PF-15
CM (12-4) – Troeckler 18, Turbyfill 11, Troxell 8, Coffman 6, Eaton 7, Tyus 8, Buckley 4. 2FG-19 3FG-6 FT-6 PF-17