Photo by Caleb Motsinger
D'Antae McMurray pushes the ball down court Saturday during the Senior All-Star boys basketball game at Alton High. McMurray led all scorers with 26 points, earning the game's MVP award.
There were points, points and more points.
The Senior All-Star boys basketball game Saturday night at Alton High evolved as a frenzied scoring show. The Upstate guys posted a 122-109 victory over the Downstate ones in front of nearly 500 fans.
De’Antae McMurray of Alton High led all scorers with 26 points and earned the MVP award for the Downstate squad. However, the Upstate team had more production in the wide-open game.
The winners led 40-22 in the first half and 57-52 at the break. McMurray hit for eight successive points to start the second half, but the Upstate team regained its touch and shot ahead 88-75 with 10:54 to play.
“There was a lot of scoring and it was like an AAU game,” said Edwardsville High assistant coach Allen Duncan. He served as head coach for the Downstate squad.
Duncan added, “The attitude of the players was good and I know they enjoyed it.”
McMurray, headed to Southwestern Illinois Community College in Belleville, said: “It was a lot of fun, even if it was a long game. A lot of the guys play AAU ball together, so we clicked from the start.”
Deion Lavender, the winner of the dunk contest, pitched in 15 points for the Downstate team. Denzel Smith (22 points) and Upstate MVP Peyton Allen (21 points) spurred the winners.
“It was fun for me,” said Lavender, bound for SIUC.
Most likely, it was enjoyable for everybody. Include AHS coach Eric Smith in that group.
“It was an awesome experience to have it here,” he said. “It was fun watching the kids play.”
Alton wins tourney – The Redbirds defeated Granite City, 12-2 and Jersey, 4-0, to finish first in their own tournament. Jersey went 1-1 in the Alton Invitational and is 13-9. The Panthers are aiming for their first non-losing season since they went 15-15 in 2004. They won 14 games in 2010.
Morgan Butler threw a six-hit shutout against Jersey after Jordyn Roady thwarted Granite City in a five-inning affair.
The Redbirds scored eight runs in the fourth inning to hammer the Warriors.Georgia Dodson was 2-for-4 with a triple and had three RBIs in that game.Haley Longo was 2-for-4 with a pair of RBIs.
Butler fanned four and walked two against Jersey. She went 2-for-3 with two RBIs to aid her cause. Teammate Katelyn Presley smacked a solo home run as the Birds built a four-run lead by the second inning.
The 17-8 Redbirds resume Southwestern Conference play Tuesday when 10-10 Collinsville comes calling. Alton is 5-4 in the SWC.
Southwestern sweeps -- The Piasa Birds used stout pitching to defeat Calhoun, 3-0, and Gillespie, 3-1, in action at Hardin. Gillespie also beat Calhoun, 11-1.
Spencer Heineman fired a five-hit shutout against Calhoun and Adam Keene followed with a four-hitter versus Gillespie. Southwestern welcomes Carlinville on Monday.
Pitchford Invite – Alton finished 19th in the 32-team Tom Pitchford Invitational that ended Saturday in Chicagoland.
Allan Bower posted a 3-2 record at No. 1 singles, while teammates Carl Stradal and Jackson Schieter were 3-2 at No. 1 doubles.
The Birds scored 15 points in the tourney, regarded as a mini-state one. Hinsdale Central (76 points) finished first, followed by Lake Forest (50 points) and New Trier (48).
SIUE 2-2, Eastern Illinois 0-0 – The Cougars improved to 26-21 overall and 18-5 in the Ohio Valley Conference by sweeping past visiting Eastern Illinois. The Panthers are 37-15 and 17-6.
Haley Chambers pitched a one-hitter and fanned 12 in the first game and Edwardsville High graduate Rachel Coonrod supplied a run-scoring single. Erin Greenwalt, another EHS grad, tossed a one-hitter in the second game and lifted her record to 10-8. Chambers is 15-13 overall but 11-2 in the OVC.
UT Martin 3, SIUE 2 – Alex Saikal blasted a home run and Nick Lombardo hit a double, but the Cougars lost at UT Martin. SIUE is 17-27 overall and 13-13 in the OVC.
Cougar wins title -- Triad High graduate Elizabeth Hampl of SIUE finished first in the hammer throw (200 feet) during the OVC Championships at SIUE's Korte Stadium.Hampl also placed sixth in the shot put.
Freshman Julian Harvey, an Edwardsville High product, won the high jump (6-9.75) the first day of the OVC competition.
Southeast Missouri secured the men's and women's titles. SIUE men's team scored 116 points to take third. The women tallied 74 points to place sixth.