ROXANA — The Roxana Shells picked up a decisive 70-41 victory over the Staunton Bulldogs on Friday at Milazzo Gymnasium in Roxana.
With the win, the Shell improved their season record to 9-9 overall and 2-2 inside the South Central Conference. Staunton fell to 6-11 and 0-5 on the season with the loss.
"Our guys played with a lot of confidence, that's what your supposed to do at home," Roxana head coach Mark Briggs said. "The guys are getting better at making their own adjustments in the game, slowing the game down and playing with a little more poise. We're learning along the way and we're getting better. We're 9-9 now, so there's improvement. We played outstanding. We can't shoot much better than we did tonight."
The visiting Bulldogs stayed neck-and-neck with the Shells throughout the first quarter and kept the game within a two-point margin until Staunton's 6-foot-4 senior Colin Fairman left the game with an ankle injury.
The Bulldogs fell behind the Shells 15-12 at the end of the first frame. Roxana senior Trace Gentry led the Shells on a scoring spree throughout the second quarter and sent Roxana to the locker room up 31-18.
"It's hard to say how much it hurt us when Fairman went down," Staunton head coach Steve Moore said. "The kid is one of the top rebounders in our whole area. I think he averages around 12 a game. When he went down it seemed to take the wind out of our sails a little bit. That's not to take anything away from Roxana, they shot the ball well tonight. My biggest disappointment was the transition defense, it's not been an issue all year and we did some uncharacteristic things."
Staunton senior Josh Franke took to the net for the Bulldogs, scoring a total of 25 points to keep his team in the game, but he couldn't carry the offensive weight alone.
"Franke played exceptionally well," Moore said. "As for the rest of the team, we didn't shoot well tonight. We can't have one player score 25 points while the rest of the team combines for 16 points and be successful. Franke shot the ball well and rebounded well, I just think he had too much weight on his shoulders tonight. He couldn't get us a victory by himself."
The Shells tandem of Zach Golenor and Gentry combined for 43 points and sank a total of nine 3-point shots between them. Roxana enjoyed a 20-point lead at the end of the third quarter and began to look to the bench. The Shells increased their lead throughout the fourth quarter and earned the win with a final score of 70-41.
"The transition game was the difference," Briggs said. "We started getting it down the floor and were able to develop some easy baskets. Trace Gentry not only shot well, but he hit the glass for us, that was the difference. We can't play much better than we did tonight."
The Shells won't have time to enjoy the win anymore than Staunton will have time to regroup as both teams will delve into the Litchfield Invitational beginning today and ending on Jan. 24. Roxana kicks off its tourney action with Round 3 vs. rival East Alton-Wood River at 5:30 p.m. Monday in Litchfield.
ROXANA 70, STAUNTON 41
ROXANA 15 16 17 22 — 70
STAUNTON 12 6 12 11 — 41
ROXANA (9-9, 2-2) — Trace Gentry 24, Zach Golenor 19, Chance Foss 4, Jacob Maguire 2, Luke Fisher 3, Randy Skiff 4, Jordan Hawkins 2, Cody McMillen 6, Blake Vandiver 4, Trey Kelly 2. 2FG — 18 3FG — 10 FT — 4
STAUNTON (6-11, 0-5) — Josh Franke 25, Blaine Ray 3, Corey Scroggins 2, Colin Fairman 2, Austin Tallman 3, Austin Gusewelle 1, Dallas Foster 5. 2FG — 13 3FG — 4 FT — 3