The Low Down
Improvement continues to be the name for the game for the Alton High girls basketball team. The Redbirds hiked their record to 12-10 by upending Belleville West, 61-54, on Monday in a Southwestern Conference game at the West Gym.
The Birds took a 5-5 record into Saturday's home game with O'Fallon. They also have road SWC dates remaining with Belleville West, Edwardsville and Collinsville. The game at Collinsville, originally scheduled for last Tuesday, has been rescheduled for 1:30 Saturday, Feb. 15, in Vergil Fletcher Gym. It was postponed because of weather.
Junior guard LaJarvia Brown scored 25 points and junior forward Megan Paulda added 13 points in the Redbirds' win over Belleville West. Alton led 33-21 at half and 52-35 after three quarters.
Jordann Wilson pitched in nine points and Jewel Wagner pitched in eight points to give the Redbirds their most impressive win of the season. Wilson is a junior guard and Wagner is a sophomore forward. Alton doesn't start any seniors.
Shay Fluker led Belleville West with 25 points. The Maroons fell to 15-7 overall and 5-4 in the SWC. West had forced league-leader Edwardsville to go into overtime the previous week in bowing to the Tigers.
NOTES AND QUOTES
First-year AHS coach Bobby Rickman was ecstatic about the victory and enthusiastic about the Redbirds' revivial. They haven't won as many as 13 games in five years and Alton hasn't experienced a winning season since the mid-1980s.
"It was a big win for us and the confidence our girls are getting," he said. "We had three great quarters defensively. Belleville West's fourth-quarter pressure and our foul trouble got to us.
"But I'm proud of how our girls held on."
Alton originally was scheduled to play city rival Marquette Catholic on Saturday afternoon for fifth place in the 40th annual Carrollton Tournament, but the Redbirds and Explorers likely will play the game later. Civic Memorial and Calhoun clashed for the tournament championship Saturday night, while Jersey and host Carrollton tangled for third place.
In the meantime, Rickman wants the Redbirds to keep getting better and prepare themselves for the upcoming Class 4A Regional competition. Class 1A and 2A regionals start Monday and the 3A-4A ones commence on Feb. 17.
Rickman said, “They are getting it and defensively, I like the things they are doing. They get all the credit for how they have adapted to our system.”