Allen Hits Four Threes, Tigers Top Redbirds 52-23 In SWC Boys Game
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ALTON - Malik Allen hit on four threes in scoring 14 points as Edwardsville got off to a fast start in going on to a 52-23 win over Alton in a Southwestern Conference boys basketball game Friday night at the Redbirds Nest.
The Tigers got off to a 13-4 lead after the first quarter, and kept building the lead throughout in getting the win. As usual with Edwardsville, it was a practice that made perfect.
"We really executed a lot of things early that we've been working on in practice,' said Tigers head coach Dustin Battas, "and that got us off to a good start."
The start of the game was delayed due to the Redbirds' girls team playing their first game since Dec. 29 because of COVID protocols, a 70-26 win over Hazelwood West. The Tigers handled the late start very well, and jumped off to the lead.
"We had a bit of a delay, but once we got started, our guys were ready to go," Battas said.
Allen is starting to emerge as a key player for Edwardsville, and Battas is very happy with his progression.
"Malik is starting to understand our offense and defense and him making shots is a big boost for our offense," Battas said.
Jordan Bush had what Battas called a "tremendous" game with seven assists for the Tigers, while Bryce Spiller also hit key shots without committing a turnover on the night. It came against a resurgent Redbird team that had won three in a row in ending a long losing streak at the Prairie Farms Collinsville Holiday Classic.
"Alton has really gotten better," Battas said, "and they're a hard team to play against because they try so hard and they're really well-coached."
The Tigers jumped out to their 13-4 first-quarter lead, then expanded the advantage to 27-8 at halftime and then to 43-14 after the third quarter, with the fourth-quarter ending in a 9-9 tie to give Edwardsville its win.
Allen led the Tigers with his 14 points, with Bush adding nine points, Spiller netting eight points, Isayah Kloster scored five points, Hersch Greene and A.J. Tillman each had four points, Shaun Pacatte and Jake Siebers each scored three points and Jonathan Stump scored two points.
Adrian Elliott, Jr. led the Redbirds with eight points, while Roger Elliott scored six points, Byron Stampley hit for four points, Jeremiah Van Zandt scored three points and Alex Macias had two points.
The Redbirds are now 3-14 and start off play at the Belleville East Chick-Fil-A Classic on Monday night against McCluer High of Ferguson, Mo., and will be playing in the tournament this week. After the East tournament, Alton hosts East St. Louis on Jan. 28 in a 7:30 p.m. tip.
The Tigers advance to 9-9 and play in the Jersey Mid-Winter Classic next week, taking on Granite City at 6 p.m. Monday, meeting Cahokia Wednesday, and winding up the tournament against the host Panthers on Friday night. Battas, as always, is looking to keep things simple for his team.
"We're just hoping to keep getting better every day," Battas said, "and playing our best basketball of the season. Tournaments are good because you have to play against different styles. Granite City is a very good team, and they'll a tough opponent on Monday."
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Dan Brannan also contributed to this story
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