The Alleman High School boys basketball team had the Rock Island faithful buzzing after its stellar first half, but Rock Island wasn't about to let its crosstown rival beat them at home.|
Rock Island (15-4, 4-2 WB6) cruised to a 61-42 victory overAlleman in Western Big 6 Conference action at the Rock Garden, but the game was not as one-sided as the final score indicated.
Rock Island was a heavy favorite coming in, but Alleman (6-13, 1-5 WB6) found a way to hang in there despite facing long odds and a short bench because of injuries and illnesses.
"We could have easily came in here and said, `well no one expects anything of us," Alleman coach Pat Rangel said. "We came in wanting to win and had every intention to win. I think we had everyone here scratching their heads and asking what was going to happen."
ThePioneers were missing 60 percent of their startersdue to injuries andflu like symptoms. Even missingall those starters, they only trailed24-20 at halftime.
Rock Island responded to the Pioneers' great effort out of the gate, flipping it into another gear in the second half.
"We responded well (to Alleman's first half)," Rocks coach Thom Sigel said. "Basically, we playedwith a little more energy, but we just had to start guarding them and quit gambling. We trapped earlyand we thought we had to stealall of the chances, and we weren't getting them. That's how they were scoring."
One Rock who was on top of his game was Brian Richardson who shared a team high inscoring with Trey Sigel, each tossing in 12 points. C.J. Carr added 11 points.
"We wanted to make them speed itup and make them play faster," Richardson said. "Playing fast is our style of play. They played well in the first half,but we made them speed it up and play faster than they can play."
TheRocks forced 28 turnovers in the game, while committing only seven.
"We had to find some heart somehow," Richardson said. "And try to pull away and show people how we can play and that we shouldn't have lost two games this past week."
Alleman's leading scorer was also the game-high scorer as Adam Hoogerwerf with 14 points. Aaron Murrayadded eight for the Pioneers.
"I'm real pleased with the way our guys came out against a very solid, well-coached team," Rangel said. "The guys all contributed in keeping us in the game besides a coupleof unfortunate turnovers we had in the second half."
Those "unfortunate turnovers'' led to a game-changing run as the Rocks forced the issue by going to more man-to-man defense and took control with a 16-9 third-quarter advantage.
"We had to get back to basics and guard them," Coach Sigel said. "Wemoved the ball a little bit better in the second half. We got a couple scores in transition off of our defense as well. I thought early we wanted to keep the pressure on and they were doinga good job attacking it. We said `we're just going to go straight up,' even if it slowed the game down a little bit."
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