Photo by Theo Tate
Senior Kenny Berry helped the Granite City boys basketball team win 13 games this summer. Berry was the Warriors’ leading scorer at 17 points per game last year.
Even though the Granite City boys’ basketball season doesn’t start for four months, Steve Roustio already has high hopes for his team.
“We’re returning three starters and a couple of other kids who got some significant playing time,” the Granite City coach said. “I think we’ll be as good as last year, if not better.”
Granite City turned in a strong summer season, winning 13 games, including three in last week’s Morris Shootout. The Warriors picked up victories over Triad, St. Charles (Mo.), Columbia, Freeburg, Riverview Gardens, Lincolnwood and Mount Vernon. They also competed in a tournament at Springfield.
“It’s been a good summer,” Roustio said. “It’s been very productive.”
The Warriors will wrap up their summer season by participating in Tag Days July 4-5 at Schnucks in Granite City.
“We’ll show up about eight o’clock in the morning at Schnucks,” Roustio said. “All we do outside of Schnucks is basically ask for donations. A year ago, we gave some things away to kids, like basketball stuff, signed photos or whatever. I’m going to do something that’s similar this year, bringing out a bunch of photos and having kids sign and autograph them for the kids and get them some pictures.”
Roustio said Schnucks has been a big help to the boys’ basketball team.
“On the behalf of the basketball program, we’re very appreciative of how kind the Granite City community is,” he said. “Things are getting more and more expensive. We’re looking to buy some new uniforms this year. The uniform is probably, at a good expense, a couple of hundred bucks. Schnucks has been extremely kind, allowing us to do a few Tag Days a year. If it wasn’t for that, it would be very difficult for us to run a summer program.”
Granite City finished 3-2 in the Morris Shootout, a two-day tournament of 32 teams from all over the state. The Warriors beat East Aurora (44-33), Deerfield (47-35) and Neuqua Valley (54-43) in pool play to advance to the Gold Tournament, composed of teams that finished in the top two in pool play. They lost games to Plainfield North and Burlington by the same score, 43-41, in Gold Tournament play.
“Morris is an extremely, talented shootout with super-successful teams,” Roustio said. “There are 32 teams there, eight or 10 of them won a regional and another eight to 10 teams played in the regional championship. These are really good basketball programs.”
Roustio said he was pleased with the way his team performed June 19-20 in the Springfield Tournament.
“It was a 16-team tournament and it was kind of done like Morris,” said Roustio, who took over the Granite City boys’ basketball program in 2008. “We were in the top two in our pool, so we got into the better tournament. Then, we beat Rochester in the first game by 12 to put us into the final four. We were able to play Springfield Lanphier in the final four game and the other two teams were Lincoln and (Springfield) Southeast. Any time you’re in a tournament like that and finish in the top four, that’s pretty good. You’re with the elite and you’re one of the better teams. I was really happy about that.”
Seniors Kenny Berry, Traron Allen, Ron Allen, Raekown Jackson and Darrion Clemons, juniors Jake Roustio, Torrey Deal, Malique Mason and Jaylin Harper and freshman Nick Grote were among the players who competed with the Warriors this summer.
Last year, Berry was the Warriors’ top scorer at 17 points per game and earned all-Southwestern Conference honors. The Warriors finished 11-17 overall and 1-13 in Southwestern Conference play last winter.