REDBIRDS OVERTAKE WEST — Once the Alton Redbirds got rolling Tuesday, they proved to be unstoppable.
They trailed early on at Belleville West, then rallied for a 77-67 win in Southwestern Conference play. The 23-4 Redbirds, who improved to 11-2 in the SWC, thus swept the Maroons this season.
Bryan Hudson scored 21 points, while Darrius Edwards pumped in 19 points and Carlos Anderson collected 17 points for the Birds. Those three players combined for 57 of their 77 points. Hudson also grabbed 11 rebounds, while Isaiah Thurmond had nine rebounds. Anderson contributed five assists and five steals.
West, which fell to 7-18 overall, led 22-15 by the end of the first quarter, but got outscored 21-10 in the second quarter as Alton forged ahead 36-32. The Redbirds outscored the Maroons 16-10 in the third quarter and both teams tallied 25 points in the fourth quarter.
Thurmond (nine points) and Maurice Edwards (eight points) added to the Alton effort. The Redbirds also connected on 18 of 26 free throws, with Hudson, Darrius Edwards and Anderson each making five apiece.
Eugene Jones led the Maroons with 17 points. Donovan Whitney (15 points), Tyler Dancy (14 points) and Will Dancy (11 points) also scored in double figures. West dropped to 2-11 in the SWC.
Alton concludes its regular season Friday when the Redbirds play host to O’Fallon. The 17-9 Panthers lost to Edwardsville, 52-49, enabling the Birds to finish second to East St. Louis in the SWC. O’Fallon is 9-4 in the conference.
Following Friday’s game, the Birds will carry their No. 1 seed to the Class 4A Edwardsville Regional. Alton takes on fourth-seeded Granite City at 6 p.m. Tuesday. It’s second-seeded Edwardsville pitted against third-seeded Quincy at 7:30 that night.
Those two semifinal survivors tangle at 7:30 on Friday, March 6, for the regional title. The winner at Edwardsville advances to the Pekin Sectional.
FLYERS HOLD OFF WARRIORS – East St. Louis fought off visiting Granite City, 77-75, to finish first in the SWC. The Flyers are 13-0 in the conference with one game remaining. East St. Louis, 18-6 overall, wraps up league play Friday at Collinsville.
The Warriors, 11-15 overall and 1-12 in the SWC, outscored the Flyers 29-25 in the fourth quarter to get within a shot of an upset win. East St. Louis led 35-27 at half before Granite City mounted its comeback.
Tyrone Riley’s 28 points led the winners. Granite City concludes its regular season Friday by playing host to Belleville West. Then the Warriors play Alton in the Edwardsville Regional.