A trio of Alton High wrestlers have advanced to the three-class IHSA finals next weekend in Champaign.
Phyllip DeLoach (138), Nicholas DeLoach (145) and Qiante Wagner (152) of the Redbirds made it through the finals of Saturday’s Normal West Class 3A Sectional. All three will grapple in the large-school portion of the state finals at the University of Illinois State Farm Center, formerly the Assembly Hall.
It was Phyllip DeLoach claiming a sectional championship at 138 pounds. The junior, owner of a 44-1 record, decisioned Oswego’s Nick Aguirre 12-9 in the championship bout.
Nicholas DeLoach was runner-up in his class. The junior, now 22-3, lost to Nick Foster of Belleville West 3-2 in the finals. Wagner, a junior with a 44-4 record, also took second in his division. Nate Higgins of Belleville West decisioned Wagner 13-8 in the finals.
Edwardsville’s Sam Andresen (145), Chris Prosser (152), Cameron Throneberry (182) and Matt Kent (220) also qualified for state. Kent, a senior with a 46-5 record, finished first in his class.
Roxana’s Jeremy O’Gara (113) and East Alton-Wood River’s Drew Sobol (106) captured sectional championships at Robinson and advanced to the small-school finals in Champaign.
O’Gara, a senior sporting a 36-5 record, pinned Vandalia’s Chaston Womack in 2:31 of their title match. Sobol, a freshman with a 34-4 mark, defeated Benton’s Oliver Davis 6-5 in the finals.
The Shells’ Dalton Brito was runner-up at 126 and Luke Curtis took third at 170. EA-WR freshman Zac Blasioli, third at 152, joined Brito and Curtis in securing dates at state. Brito is 38-9, Curtis is 27-18 and Blasioli is 34-6.
Roxana, the champion of last week’s Mount Olive Regional, will compete in Litchfield Dual Team Sectional competition on March 25. The Shells will wrestle West Frankfort and Vandalia will tangle with Shelbyville.
Civic Memorial’s Drake Boverie (120) and Brayton Williams (152) qualified for state, as did Jersey’s Brandon Critchfield (120).
Boverie, a sophomore with a 25-6 record, took second in his division. Critchfield, 33-9 and also a sophomore, was fourth. Williams, 29-9 during his junior season, took third in his weight class.
Alton 72, Hazelwood Central 70 – The host Redbirds reached the 20-win plateau for the first time since 2007-08 by holding off 18-4 Hazelwood Central in a nonconference game. Michael Williams-Bey scored 19 points and Darrius Edwards registered 13 points for the 20-3 Redbirds.
Williams-Bey sank a pair of free throws with five seconds remaining to give the Redbirds a successful weekend. They won at Collinsville 57-56 on Friday.
“I guess when you come out 2-0, it’s a good weekend,” second-year AHS coach Eric Smith said. “There’s a big difference between this year and last year. We didn’t get these types of wins last year.”
Alton made 31 of 41 free throws against Hazelwood Central, which took 28 foul shots.
The Redbirds play host to Belleville East on Tuesday and Edwardsville on Friday in a pair of pivotal Southwestern Conference games. Alton and Edwardsville share the league lead. East and O’Fallon both are one game behind the Birds and Tigers.
“We can control our own destiny,” Smith said of the upcoming week and the heated SWC chase.
Greenville 45, Southwestern 42 – Visiting Greenville gained a share of the South Central Conference championship by prevailing in Piasa. The Piasa Birds, 15-11 overall and 4-3 in the SCC, play Hillsboro and Pana this week to conclude their league slate.
Alton 45, Collinsville 44 – The Redbirds overcame a 14-point deficit in the first half to triumph at Vergil Fletcher Gym and finish 7-7 in the Southwestern Conference.
“It’s a huge win for our girls and our program,” Alton coach Bobby Rickman said. “The defense was the key for us. It was there in the second half.”
LaJarvia Brown's steal and layup with 302 seconds remaining provided the margin of victory. She scored 11 points. Freshman Jasmine Bishop scored 14 points to lead the 14-12 Redbirds, assured of a winning season and their best campaign since 1984-85.
“We fought back after a tough first half and got back our confidence,” Rickman said. “I hope we take that energy into the postseason.”
Alton meets Granite City in a semifinal game of the Warriors’ Class 4A Regional at 8 p.m. Wednesday. Top-seeded Edwardsville faces Quincy at 6 p.m. The winners advance to next Friday’s title game.
Collinsville, which led 26-14 at half, is 10-15 and 5-9.