CARBONDALE — The Carbondale boys basketball team used a couple of big runs in the first half to build a comfortable halftime lead and went on to defeat Althoff Catholic, 60-38, on Friday in South Seven Conference action.
The game was a part of the Alton Redbird Tip-Off Classic, but counted in the conference standings as well.
Clayton Greer started a 12-0 run for the Terriers in the first quarter with a basket. Kani Acree buried a triple, Darius Beane threw down a dunk, and James Baltz converted a three-point play during the streak.
Carbondale (2-1, 1-0) led 14-2 late in the first quarter. The Terriers were very good on defense and held the Crusaders without a field goal for nearly 10 minutes of game time in the opening half.
“It all started with the defense for us,” said Carbondale coach Jim Miller. “I think early in the game we really ratcheted it up. We let the defense take care of the offense. We got good transition baskets after we got stops. It was a very satisfying night.”
The Terriers continued to pour it on in the second quarter. Davaris Macklin began a 10-0 run with a stick-back, and Greer finished the streak with a basket in transition. Acree scored the rest of the points during the run.
Althoff lost nearly all of its experienced players to graduation, and it showed. Coach Greg Leib’s squad struggled mightily to score points in the first half.
“People can say all they want about Althoff, and they’re not as good as they have been, but they’re still Althoff,” Miller said. “They’ve still got tremendous athletes, and he does a great job coaching and preparing them. They are a different team, but I still think they’re a good team. We’re very pleased with the win.”
Carbondale held a 24-3 advantage at the 4:25 mark of the second quarter. Melvin Brock made a bucket on the fast break to end the Althoff drought two minutes later.
“We played pretty hard for a team that went through that, and it’s a process,” Leib said. “There is not much varsity experience out there. The game is faster, and it’s more physical. Carbondale is a good team, and Jim gets them to guard. This was a good test for us. We’re not where we want to be yet. The plan is not to be what we’re looking at right now by the end of February.”
The Crusaders (0-3, 0-1) played better in the second half, but the Terriers were simply too much. Beane fed Acree for a dunk, which gave Carbondale a 19-point lead late in the third quarter.
Acree led all scorers with 19 points, and Greer added 10. Beane, who was in foul trouble most of the game, finished with nine points. Ryan McDonald paced Althoff with eight points.
Carbondale takes on Ritenour in the third-place game at Alton at 6 p.m. today.