ALTON OPENS SWC WITH OT WIN — The Alton Redbirds opened Southwestern Conference play with a dramatic victory on Tuesday.
The Redbirds traveled to Belleville East and bested the Lancers 60-58 in overtime on an eight-foot buzzer-beating jumper by Chayvon Buckingham. The win was the first of the year for Alton, which improved to 1-3 and kicked off the SWC at 1-0. East dipped to 2-4 and 0-1 on the season.
Three Redbirds fouled out in the fourth quarter, including leading scorer LaJarvia Brown with five minutes remaining in regulation. Cheriena Mitchell and Jewel Wagner also fouled out.
Alton head coach Bob Rickman was pleased to see his squad overcome the loss of the three players and show the fortitude to get the win.
“First of all I am so proud of how the girls responded,” Rickman said. “When LaJarvia fouled out they could have just given up, but we didn't. Then we lose two more players and they just battled to come back to play overtime.”
Konnie Miller led the Redbirds with 13 points in the win, while Megan Paulda chipped in with 12 points, Brown scored 10 points and Wagner added nine.
“Picking up the conference opener is a huge boost for this team,” Rickman said.
Alton is back in action at 7:30 p.m. Thursday, playing host to East St. Louis in another SWC showdown.