O’FALLON – Tune-up time proved productive for the Alton Redbirds on Friday night at the Panther Dome.
The Birds tuned in to what they do best and tuned out O’Fallon for the third time this season. Alton’s 70-54 victory in a Southwestern Conference game sends the Redbirds into postseason play at 22-5. They finished 10-4 in the SWC. O’Fallon is 15-12 and 8-6.
“We want to get some momentum going for the regional,” said AHS junior forward Darrius Edwards. “So we played our hearts out. We’re still thinking about the games we lost to Belleville East and Edwardsville.”
Edwards kept it all positive on the court against O’Fallon. He scored a team-best 15 points, including 10 the first half. Teammate Carlos Anderson pitched in 13 points and Keshon Young netted eight points, thanks mostly to a pair of treys. D’Antae McMurray had nine points.
“Darrius has grown up a lot since last year,” Alton coach Eric Smith said. “And you can see it in his play.”
Smith added, “Keshon does a lot of the little things that you need to do to win.”
Young said the Redbirds are pointing toward the postseason that starts Wednesday.
“I like our chances,” he said.
Alton is at Quincy in a 7 p.m. game of the Blue Devils’ Class 4A Regional. The Redbirds are seeded second behind SWC champ Edwardsville, which battered Belleville East, 57-36, on Friday. The Tigers take on Granite City in the regional opener at 7 p.m. Tuesday.
“We’re a pretty good team and we beat a pretty good team in O’Fallon,” Smith said. The Panthers, who also lost to the Redbirds at AHS and in the semifinals of the Centralia Tournament, are seeded first in the Belleville West Class 4A Regional.
Donovan Franklin’s 16 points spurred the Panthers against Alton. The Redbirds hit 27 of 59 shots, including eight treys.
Postseason play also starts next week in Class 3A competition. Marquette Catholic, 21-6, has earned the No. 1 seed in the Triad Class 3A Regional that begins Monday. Highland battles the host Knights at 7 p.m. in the first game.
Marquette, which was idle the past week, then meets the Triad-Highland winner at 6 p.m. Tuesday. Mississippi Valley Conference rivals CM and Jersey tangle at 8 that night.
The Triad Regional championship game is scheduled for next Friday, with the winner advancing to the Highland Sectional.
CM 56, Waterloo 40 – The host Eagles walloped Waterloo and closed their regular season on a winning note. Jakob Lowrance scored 26 points for Civic Memorial and Jansen Helmkamp collected 11 points. The Eagles play Mississippi Valley Conference foe Jersey at 8 p.m. Tuesday in the Triad Class 3A Regional.
Carlinville Class 2A Regional – The host Cavaliers defeated Hillsboro, 55-50, for a regional title and will play in next week’s Vandalia Sectional. Barry Stewart tallied 14 points for the winners. Hillsboro’s Dylan Miller led all scorers with 20 points.
Bunker Hill Class 1A Regional – The Warriors upended No. 1-seeded Madison, 52-42 in the regional championship game at Hlafka Hall and advanced to the Okawville Sectional. Mitchell Bick’s 19 points paced the Warriors.
Jacksonville Routt Class 1A Regional – North Greene edged Greenfield, 50-49 in a battle of Western Illinois Valley Conference rivals for the regional title. North Greene is headed to the Okawville Sectional, as are Waterloo Gibault and Springfield Lutheran.
Class 1A state finals – Carrollton reached Saturday’s IHSA championship game by shading Moweaqua Central A&M, 40-38 on Friday afternoon. The 25-6 Hawks were scheduled to play Annawan for the IHSA title at 2 p.m. Saturday.
Carrollton now has won six consecutive postseason games, including the Calhoun Regional and North Greene Sectional championships. The Hawks claimed small-school state championships in 2000-01 and 2001-02. They finished second in 1998-99.