Panther basketball starts season strong at Highland tourney


basketballThe O’Fallon Township High School Boys Basketball Team raced out of the gates this past week, collecting three wins in four games at the Highland Thanksgiving Tournament over the past week.

The Panthers took down host Highland, as well as Carbondale and Waterloo to highlight a very promising start to the season.

OTHS’ trip to Highland would not start off quite so smooth, however, as the Blue and Gold ran into a buzz saw in the form of Althoff High School senior and Saint Louis University commit Jordan Goodwin. The four-star shooting guard prospect according to ESPN, and key Travis Ford signee, poured in 32 of his 35 points in the first three quarters, pacing the Crusaders to a convincing 88-68 win.

Goodwin is widely considered to be among the best players in the region, and is possibly the Metro East’s best basketball player since Malcolm Hill dominated at Belleville East. The shooting guard is the fifteenth ranked player at his position nationally, and, along with Springfield, Massachusetts’s Hassahn French (Four Star, #24 PF nationally), helps make up a promising first recruiting class for the Billikins under Ford.

O’Fallon would rebound strongly after the early stumble, however, as the Panthers were able to stave off a feisty Waterloo team 59-48. The Bulldogs were searching for their first win of the season, but some timely OTHS offense prevented Waterloo from doing that against the Panthers.

The Panthers returned to the hardwood after the Thanksgiving holiday to resume tournament play against the Carbondale Terriers, and once again, the O’Fallon defense set the decisive advantage as the Blue and Gold fought their way to a solid 55-42 win on Friday.

The final match-up of the tournament for OTHS would be the clash with the event’s host, and Highland was unable to find scoring too combat the swarming Panther defense.

Aided by strong first and third quarter showings, O’Fallon would find enough to walk away from the opening weekend with a 49-37 win over the Bulldogs.

Up next for OTHS will be the Southwestern Conference Tip-Off event hosted at Southern Illinois University-Edwardsville on December 3. The Panthers will square up with the Collinsville Kahoks at 5 p.m. at the Vadabalene Center.

O’Fallon will have its home opener on Tuesday, December 6, when they host the Alton Redbirds.