East Alton-Wood River junior Mike Stimac goes up for two of his career-high 34 points in the third quarter of Monday night’s game against Piasa Southwestern.
WOOD RIVER – Southwestern’s scorchers turned Memorial Gym into a friendly shooting gallery Monday night.
The sizzling Piasa Birds made 30 of 44 shots, or 68 percent, in outscoring host East Alton-Wood River, 85-74. Southwestern, winning for the seventh time in its last eight games, is 12-9. EA-WR, dropping its sixth in succession, is 8-14.
“We did a nice job with our offensive sets and ran our transition game well,” Southwestern coach Jason Darr said.
Nobody played it smoother for Southwestern than 6-foot-6 sophomore Tyler Rose. He scored a career-best 30 points. Rose connected on 12 of 15 shots in outdoing his previous high of 25 points against Lebanon earlier this season.
“I couldn’t have done it without my teammates,” the modest Rose said. “I’ve never had 30 points in a game at any level. Everything was working for me tonight.”
Darr added, “Tyler had a lot of shots go in and our offense was clicking. We have some weapons offensively.”
Ethan Gallaher contributed 18 points, Andrew Fry scored 14 points and Blake Lawson netted 13 points as the Piasa Birds hit shot after shot. They were 15-for-22 the first half in building a 37-26 lead.
“They shot lights out,” EA-WR coach Kyle Duncan said of the Piasa Birds. “They played really well and I thought we played hard and made some shots, too. But every once in a while, we’d have a mental lapse.”
The Oilers’ Mike Stimac, a 6-1 junior center, certainly didn’t have any lapses in scoring. He poured in a career-high 34 points, two more than he had against Dupo.
Stimac hit 11 shots, including two treys. He also sank 10 free throws and tallied 25 of his points in EA-WR’s 48-point second half. The Oilers had a 29-point fourth quarter.
“He was all over the place,” Duncan said, pointing to Stimac’s 12 rebounds, six assists and three blocked shots. “Mike has been doing that all season for us. I can’t say enough about him.”
Darr said, “Stimac is a quality big guy and he never quits playing.”
Rose added, “He’s a great all-around player.”
Tanner Pate (12 points), Nic Daily (10 points) and Zac Butkovich (10 points) also bolstered the Oilers. EA-WR connected on eight treys and made 23 of 53 shots to go with 20 free throws. Yet Southwestern’s blistering shooting was too much for the Oilers.
“We’ve been pushing and working hard,” Rose said of the Piasa Birds’ stretch of success that included a third-place finish in the Macoupin County tournament.
Southwestern has upcoming dates with North Greene and Jacksonville Routt before tangling with Roxana next week in an intriguing South Central Conference matchup. EA-WR welcomes Civic Memorial on Jan. 14.
“We keep preaching that good things are going to happen if we keep playing hard,” Duncan said.
SOUTHWESTERN 85, EA-WR 74
Southwestern 20 17 22 26 – 85
EA-WR 10 16 19 29 – 74
Southwestern (12-9) – Gallaher 18, Rose 30, Johnson 7, Baumgartner 2, Lawson 13, Fry 14, Jarden 1. 2FG-25 3FG-5 FT-15 PF-21
EA-WR (8-14) – Stimac 34, Buck 2, Butkovich 10, Pate 12, Daily 10, Marks 2, Lafferty 4. 2FG-15 3FG-8 FT-20 PF-25