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Cahokia uses run in fourth quarter to hammer out victory over Althoff

Cahokia uses run in fourth quarter to hammer out victory over Althoff

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Lincoln Tournament: Cahokia 62, Althoff 54

Omario Gooden of Cahokia brings the ball up the court against Althoff in the Lincoln Tournament second round game at Althoff Catholic High School in Belleville, Illinois on Tuesday, November 23, 2021. Paul Baillargeon, Special to STLhighschoolsports.com

BELLEVILLE — The Cahokia boys basketball team didn’t have all its pieces Tuesday.

Still, 18th-year coach Darian Nash was happy with what his Comanches were able to build.

Cahokia used a hot stretch in the fourth quarter to break open a close game and defeat longtime rival Althoff 62-54 in the second round of pool play in the Lincoln Tournament. The game also was the South Seven Conference opener for both teams.

“These guys, all of them are working hard,” said Nash, who noted his team is without five players he expects to be key contributors this season. “This was an all-around team effort.”

The Comanches, who lost to Lincoln 50-33 in their tournament opener Monday, led by just one point in the fourth quarter when they went on a 10-4 run that opened a 57-48 lead with 1:47 to play.

Althoff got within 59-54 on two quick baskets in the final minute, but Cahokia sealed the outcome on a free throw by Marquis Allen and a steal and layup by energetic point guard Quinton Jones.

Jones and D’Kyren Kizer led the Comanches with 17 points apiece. Omarian Gooden had 14 points and Allen had 12.

“Like we always say, ‘Next man up,’ ” Nash said. “They did that (Tuesday) and I’m very proud of them. We live to see another day. This is how we get trust. I tell these guys, ‘We try to earn your trust, you’ve got to earn ours.’ That’s how they get playing time. Friday everybody will be back and we’ll look to build on this.”

D’Necco Rucker had 25 points to lead all scorers for Althoff, which was plagued by 18 turnovers. Keyshon Blackmon had 10 points. The Crusaders (0-2) lost to Danville 83-78 in their tournament opener Monday. Althoff will play Lincoln in the final pool-play contest at 8:15 p.m. Friday.

The Comanches, traditionally a man-to-man defensive team, employed a 2-3 zone because of their lack of numbers. Foul trouble was the last thing Nash needed.

“To get them to play the 2-3 is like pulling teeth,” Nash said.

The game was tied 24-24 at halftime. Cahokia went ahead 41-38 after three quarters. The Comanches' surge in the fourth quarter began on consecutive baskets by Allen that was followed by a driving basket by Kizer.

After a pair of Althoff free throws got the Crusaders within 53-48, Kizer had a layup and Gooden hit two free throws.

Nash left Althoff to drive to Nashville, Tenn., to pick up his son, Davion, a junior linebacker on the Tennessee State football team. The drive might not seem so long after a victory, which was Cahokia's third in a row over the Crusaders.

Althoff had moments of solid play. Certainly, the 6-foot-4 Rucker figures to be a force with his inside-outside skills. Rucker has 42 points in his first two games.

Former Crusaders star Jordan Goodwin, Althoff's all-time leading scorer, attended the game. Goodwin played four years with St. Louis University and was with the Washington Wizards of the NBA during preseason camp. He was waived Oct. 16.

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