ROXANA – Greenville showed Friday why it’s the leader of the pack in South Central Conference boys’ basketball.
The Comets coasted by Roxana, 58-28, in a SCC affair at Milazzo Gym and extended their winning ways to 13 games. Greenville is 15-1 overall and 4-0 in sitting atop the 10-team conference. Roxana is 8-8 and 1-2.
“That’s the first game we’ve been blown out in all year,” Shells’ coach Mark Briggs said. “We got our jaw kicked in by them.”
A jaw-dropping defense spurred the Comets, whose lone loss this season is to Okawville in the Carlye Tournament. They limited Roxana to two points in the first quarter and led 23-12 by halftime. It didn’t get any better the rest of the way for the Shells, who made only 10 of 36 shots. A dozen second-half turnovers enabled the Comets to stage a romp.
“I thought we played them pretty well in the first half, but we did a poor job of executing in the second half,” Briggs said. “They have good overall length on defense and they made us earn everything. I don’t think we had bad looks at the basket. We just couldn’t make our shots.”
Randy Skiff, the Shells’ lone senior, led them with nine points, including their first seven. Yet they trailed 16-7 at that juncture.
Junior Trace Gentry, regarded as the Shells’ top gun, was limited to four points on 1-for-14 shooting. He also made two free throws.
“It’s a team thing with our defense,” 17th-year Greenville coach Todd Cantrill said of the Comets’ sticky guarding. “Jacob Hall really did a good job on Gentry and shadowed him all night.”
Gentry scored all four of his points in the third quarter.
“Hall’s height and length disrupted Trace,” Briggs said. “But they play good defense and play well together. There’s a reason they are 15-1.”
Cantrill said, “We’ve been doing a good job defensively all season and we take a lot of pride in it. “The kids have bought in to what we want them to do.”
Meanwhile, Greenville guard Will Schaufelberger couldn’t miss. The 5-foot-10 senior sank five 3-pointers and scored a game-best 19 points on 6-for-8 shooting. He netted 11 points, thanks mainly to a trio of treys in the Comets’ 23-point third quarter. Greenville stretched its advantage to 46-19 going into the fourth quarter and set in motion another victory. The Comets made 22 of 45 shots, including eight treys.
“We’re just trying to get better every day,” Cantrill said of Greenville’s success. “You play only nine conference games, so you need to take advantage of each game every night. Roxana is well-coached, and it means a lot to us to get a road win.”
Briggs said the Shells, who start two juniors, a sophomore and a freshman with Skiff, are looking to the future and it seems promising.
“We want to get better and make a run the second half of the season – maybe get to the regional final,” he said.
Roxana plays Tuesday at Madison and welcomes Staunton next Friday before participating in the Litchfield Tournament that opens Jan. 17. The Shells are cast in a pool with arch-rival East Alton-Wood River and Taylorville. Greenville, winner of the Vandalia Holiday Tournament, is the top seed at Litchfield.
GREENVILLE 58, ROXANA 28
Greenville 10 13 23 12 – 58
Roxana 2 10 7 9 – 28
Greenville (15-1, 4-0) – Schaufelberger 19, Hall 3, T. Hutchinson 4, Lawrence 2, Rainey 7, Faulkner 10, Intud 5, Holden 2, Meadows 3, R. Hutchinson 3. 2FG-14 3FG-8 FT-6 PF-7
Roxana (8-8, 1-2) – Gentry 4, Foss 3, Golenor 6, Hawkins 3, Skiff 9, Vandiver 3. 2FG-6 3FG-4 FT-4 PF-9