Photo by Caleb Motsinger
Junior center Bryan Hudson scored fifteen points in the Redbirds loss to Edwardsville at home.
GODFREY – Armon Fletcher and Shaun Roundtree of Edwardsville proved quite deadly for the Alton Redbirds on Friday night.
The two Tigers teamed for 46 points in guiding Edwardsville past Alton 72-57 before a packed house at AHS. The Tigers, ranked No. 8 in the Associated Press Class 4A state poll, are 23-3 overall and 10-2 in the Southwestern Conference. The Redbirds, rated No. 7, are 20-5 and 8-4.
“They (Tigers) have some quality players and Division I kids,” Alton coach Eric Smith said. “Fletcher and Roundtree both played well, but that wasn’t anything we didn’t expect.”
He added, “The biggest thing was that they controlled the tempo of the game and we didn’t get enough stops. We didn’t turn them over enough.”
Roundtree, a 6-foot senior guard, scored a game-best 25 points. Fletcher, a 6-5 senior bound for Southern Illinois University Carbondale, contributed 21 points. Trevor Clay also pitched in 15 points for the Tigers, nearly flawless on offense.
Edwardsville hit 25 of 39 shots, or 64 percent, and made just seven turnovers, six in the second half. Alton couldn’t depend on a big comeback like the Redbirds did in the first game, when they rallied from an 18-point deficit for a 59-56 victory in Edwardsville.
“We played hard and smart and much better than we did against Alton the last time,” Edwardsville coach Mike Waldo said. “I thought it was one of our better games of the season. We executed well on offense and did a lot of things right.”
D’Antae McMurray scored 19 points to lead the Redbirds, who made 24 of 51 shots. Bryan Hudson (15 points) and Carlos Anderson (13 points) contributed to the cause. Yet the Birds were without catalyst Michael Williams-Bey, a 5-10 senior guard. He’s recovering from a rib injury.
“He’s good on both ends of the court,” Waldo said.
Smith said of Williams-Bey absence: “It’s tough when your leading scorer and the guy that starts your defense can’t play. It kind of changes the complexion of things that you want to do.
“And tonight, the thing that we missed most from him was his toughness that he brings to this team.”
Alton led 7-2, then Edwardsville took command and shot ahead 23-20 by the end of the first quarter. The Tigers held on to a 40-36 halftime advantage, thanks to 15-for-24 shooting before the break. Fletcher scored 14 points the first half and Roundtree had 11.
That crisp shooting never wilted and the Tigers added a deft touch at the foul line. They made 10 of 12 free throws in the fourth quarter to hand the Redbirds their most lopsided defeat of the season.
With two wins next week, the Tigers can secure the outright conference championship. They clinched a tie for it with their victory in Alton.
"We'd like to win the conference," Waldo said. "It'd be great."
The Redbirds, set to welcome Belleville West on Tuesday and play Friday at O’Fallon, are two games behind Edwardsville.
“We have two huge games next week and then get ready for the regional,” Smith said. Edwardsville is seeded first and Alton second in the four-team Quincy 4A Regional.
EDWARDSVILLE 72, ALTON 57
Edwardsville 23 17 12 20 – 72
Alton 20 16 6 15 – 57
Edwardsville (23-3, 10-2) – Clay 15, Fletcher 21, Cochrell 9, Roundtree 25, Brown 2. 2FG-22 3FG-3 FT-19 PF-10.
Alton (20-5, 8-4) – McMurray 19, Edwards 8, Hudson 15, Anderson 13, Wigfall 2. 2FG-20 3FG-4 FT-5 PF-20