1 of 2
Photo by Bill Roseberry
(Right) Granite City senior Ron Allen looks to get around the Civic Memorial defense on Jan. 12 in Bethalto. He is averaging 9.8 points per game. He has scored in double figures six times, including his season best 20 at CM.
2 of 2
Photo by Theo Tate
(Above) Granite City senior Tra’ Allen is the Warriors’ second-leading scorer at 14.8 points per game. He scored 35 points against Belleville East on Jan. 15, a career high for him.
Ron and Tra’ Allen helped the Granite City Warriors boys’ basketball team get back on the winning track on Saturday against Gateway STEM in the seventh-place game of the Triad Mid-Winter Classic.
The twin brothers helped the Warriors break their longest losing streak of the season.
They combined to score 41 points to lift Granite City to an 87-38 win over the Jaguars that snapped a five-game losing streak.
Now, with one month remaining in the regular season, the Allen brothers are determined to end their high school basketball careers on a winning team. Granite City is 9-10 with eight regular season games remaining, including Friday’s road contest against Alton.
“We have a lot of potential,” Ron said. “When the guys start finding that potential, that’s when we’re going to start being that team nobody wants to lose to or that team that everyone is afraid of. Once we bring it together, then we’re good.”
Ron and Tra’ have been valuable to the Granite City boys’ basketball program since they started playing varsity as sophomores. They have combined to score more than 1,100 career points. This season, the Allen brothers are among the top scorers for the Warriors.
Ron and Tra’ have been playing basketball together since they were in sixth grade.
“We’re twins and we’re brothers and we’re competitive with each other,” Tra’ said. “If he gives me that look, I pick it up. If I give him that look, he’ll pick it up. I love him.”
Tra’ now has 700 points after finishing with a team-high 23 points against Gateway on Saturday. He’s the Warriors’ second-leading scorer behind senior Kenny Berry at 14.8 points per game.
Tra’, who is also averaging a team-high six rebounds per game, said he just wanted to turn in a successful senior basketball season on both ends of the court.
“It’s my last year,” Tra’ said. “I don’t want to have any regrets.”
Two weeks ago, Tra’ turned in the best performance of his high school basketball career, scoring 35 points against Belleville East at Memorial Gymnasium. He scored 27 in the second half.
“We had some teams in the past where if they were in a situation like (the game against Belleville East), they wouldn’t have played as hard as Tra’ Allen,” Granite City coach Steve Roustio said. “I can promise you that. I give him a lot of credit because that’s a lesson that I’ve been trying to teach these kids. The only time you really lose is if you quit and that kid did not quit.”
Tra’ has scored in double figures 10 times this season. He finished with 24 in the Warriors’ last meeting with the Redbirds on Dec. 11.
Basketball is the only sport Tra’ plays.
“I gave it all I could with basketball,” Tra’ said. “I’m in love with basketball.”
Ron was coming off an outstanding football season last fall, where he earned all-Southwestern Conference honors on both sides of the ball. He finished with 468 yards rushing and 113 yards receiving with three touchdowns, 14 tackles and three interceptions.
“It felt good for coaches picking me all-conference for second-team running back and third team for defensive back,” Ron said.
After he played his last high school football game against Edwardsville on Oct. 23, Ron immediately prepared for the basketball season.
“It was a hard transition on my knees, but I fought through it,” Ron said.
Ron has scored in double figures six times this season, including a season-high 20 against Civic Memorial on Jan. 12. He began his senior season on Nov. 23 with a 10-point effort against Triad in the first game of the Stove Top Stuffing Thanksgiving Tournament. Ron is averaging 9.8 points per game.
The Warriors got off to a 5-1 start before losing nine of their next 13 games. Out of its eight remaining games, seven of them are in conference play.
Tra’ said his team has to improve on defense in order to finish with a winning season.
When the Allen brothers played their first season with the varsity as sophomores two years ago, the Warriors won just two games.
“We just have to pick it up on defense,” he said. “We have to believe and have the same energy that we had in the beginning of the season toward the end of the season and close this thing out.”