Athlete Spotlight – Boone makes College Decision

BY SAM SCINTA
WEEKLY REPORTER

It’s basketball season for OTHS senior guard Nick Boone, but that hasn’t stopped him from thinking about his future on the baseball diamond.

This past week, Boone committed to Southeastern Community College in Burlington, Iowa to play for the Blackhawks Baseball program under head coach Justin Schulte.

Boone, an outfielder, is the latest in a long line of baseball players to come through O’Fallon who has ended up playing at a higher level, and is one of 4 seniors on this year’s team to commit during the first semester of the 2017-18 school year.

“It’s a program where I felt comfortable,” Boone said. “The coaching staff made me feel welcome, and I know they’re great coaches and can really help me take my game to the next level.”

Boone is currently ranked as the #122 prospect in the state of Illinois according to Prep Baseball Report.

To read the full article, pick up a copy of this week’s paper on newsstands now. Or, click here for the digital edition. Wish to receive the paper weekly? Go to our Subscription Page to find out rates and how you can subscribe to our weekly paper. 

Panthers defeat Granite City, fall to East St. Louis

BY ALEX GRUBERMAN
WEEKLY REPORTER

O’FALLON – After losing their last four games, the Panthers seemed to have found the one game on their schedule that gave them some loving. The Panthers were back in action on Valentine’s Day against a struggling Granite City team. Granite City has won only one game this season and has not defeated a single conference team yet this season. In their last meeting, the Panthers thrashed the Warriors 84-37. Could the Panthers snap their four-game losing streak and get back in the win column?

Both teams struggled early in the first quarter with passing and shooting. Turnovers were going to be a key factor in this game. The Panthers would outscore the Warriors 11-10 in the first quarter and by the start of the second quarter, the Panthers were starting to heat up. Baskets were falling for the Panthers at an alarming rate, at one point I think a fan was calling for a fire extinguisher because everyone was on fire.

The Panthers defense also stepped up in the second quarter holding the struggling Warriors offense to eight points. The Panthers had a commanding 32-18 lead at halftime.

You would think with the break in between quarters the Panthers offense would cool down, but they proved the hometown fans they weren’t stopping. The offense recorded 22 points in the third quarter while holding the Warriors to 12 points.

In the fourth quarter, O’Fallon Head Coach Brian Muniz decided to rest some of his starters. After the final buzzer went off, O’Fallon came away with a 63-44 win over Granite City, snapping their four-game losing streak and finally recording a home victory this season.

On Friday night, the Panthers headed to East St. Louis to take on the Flyers. In their previous meeting this season, the Flyers took care of the Panthers 72-58.

After coming off a victory Tuesday night, the Panthers were looking for a little revenge and continue their winning streak. However, it is tough to beat East St. Louis and even tougher to win on their home court. The Flyers came out shooting in the first half and it seemed like it was going to be a tough game for the Panthers defense. At half, the Flyers had a double-digit lead, and in the second half, the Flyers continued their dominance over the Panthers defense.

The Panthers fell to the Flyers 90-53, which puts the Panthers overall record to 14-11 and 5-7 in conference play.

The Panthers will wrap up their regular season with a home match against the always tough Edwardsville Tigers and finish the season on the road at Alton on Saturday February 25th.

Panthers fall to Belleville East at home

BY ALEX GRUBERMAN
WEEKLY REPORTER

O’FALLON – The Panthers have seemed to hit a snag late in the season, and their troubles continued as they lost 74-63 against Belleville East Friday night.

At the start of the tip off, both teams were eager to get on the board quickly and shots were all over the place. Rebounding and second chance points were big early in the first quarter. As the quarter quickly ran down, the Panthers made a quick surge and cut the deficit down to an 18-15 lead for the Lancers. In the second quarter, both teams were evenly matched, each scoring 16 points. Heading into halftime, the Panthers still trailed Belleville East by three. Coach Muniz believed that his squad could overcome that three-point lead, and was happy with the way the team started the first half out.

However, the Panthers had a rough time coming out of halftime. Belleville East found their three-point shooting as senior Javon Pickett found his sweet spot time and time again. The Panthers defense allowed 20 points in the third quarter to the Lancers, while Belleville East held the Panthers to only 12 points in the third. Coach Muniz must have said something to his team after the third period, because it seemed like a whole new team out on the court in the fourth period. Unfortunately for the Panthers, the Lancers continued their hot streak in the fourth period too. Both teams ended up scoring 20 points in the fourth period, but it wasn’t enough for the Panthers to overcome the Lancers’ double digit lead.

Belleville East defeated the Panthers by a final score of 74-63. Senior Javon Pickett finished the night with 24 points for Belleville East. With another loss, the Panthers fall to 4-6 in conference play and an overall record of 13-10, putting the Panthers in sixth place in the Southwestern Basketball standings.

The Panthers have a busy week ahead of them as they square off against 1-16 Granite City Warriors, who haven’t won a conference game yet this season, at home on Valentine’s Day and then will go to face the 15-7 East St. Louis to take on the Flyers on February 17.

Panthers boys beat Collinsville, fall to Centralia

BY ALEX GRUBERMAN
WEEKLY REPORTER

Daron Thomas puts it up for two against Collinsville. Thomas would go on to have a career night, scoring
16 points and going seven for eight from the range. (O’Fallon Weekly Photo by Nick Miller)

After falling to East St. Louis last week at the Panther Dome last Friday, the Panthers were on the road this week trying to get back into the win column. It wouldn’t be easy for the Panthers as they travelled to Collinsville on Thursday night, and then on the road to Centralia on Saturday. Centralia’s defense has been tough to score on this year. Could the Panthers figure out how to get past Centralia’s defense and start a new winning streak before getting to the Bank of O’Fallon Shootout?

Prior to taking on the Orphans though, the Panthers would come away with a 56-41 victory over Collinsville on Thursday.

“Our defense created pressure and was able to create turnovers. The depth and pressure defense wore down Collinsville as the game went on and eventually led us to getting a good lead and hanging on to it,” Coach Brian Muniz said after the game.

Daron Thomas had a career night scoring 16 points and was seven of eight from the range.

On Saturday the Panthers travelled to Centralia looking to extend their winning streak. Unfortunately Centralia made some key shots early and their defense stopped the Panthers from scoring, giving the Panthers a 59-38 loss. They spread the court and made the Panthers chase to extend their lead. After the game Coach Muniz had some compliments towards Centralia.

“Centralia is a much disciplined team who handled our pressure well. They are one of the best defensive teams we will play all year,” Muniz said. The Orphans kept the Panthers in check throughout the whole game and there were no Panther players who scored double figures.

This week, the Panthers will travel to Belleville West on Friday at 6 p.m., and return to the Panther Dome on Saturday for the Bank of O’Fallon Shootout when they face Vianney at 10:30 a.m. Limited tickets are still available for the Shootout. You can purchase those tickets at the Bank of O’Fallon during regular business hours or on https://www.eventbrite.com/e/2017-bank-of-ofallon-shootout-tickets-29757615830.

Flyers get past Panthers in a tale of two halves

BY ALEX GRUBERMAN
WEEKLY REPORTER

Alex Orr rushes past an East St. Louis defender during last Friday evening’s game. (O’Fallon Weekly Photo by Alex Gruberman)

It was a tale of two halves for the O’Fallon Panthers last Friday when they took on, and ultimately fell, to the East St. Louis Flyers.

In the first half, the Panthers had a hard time getting baskets to fall in, had a hard time rebounding, and had a hard time stopping East St. Louis. By halftime the Panthers would trail the Flyers, 38-21. Head Coach Brian Muniz said it was obvious that his team wasn’t playing with their typical energy.

“We just didn’t come out with our usual energy. It was an unusual sight,” Coach Brian Muniz said.

Whatever Coach Muniz said during halftime worked, because the Panthers came out roaring and went on an unanswered ten-point run. The Panthers would cut the deficit down to only six points at one time, but the Flyers continued to battle throughout the second half and hit some big shots late in the fourth quarter to solidify their 72-58 victory.

Burke Watts and Alex Orr finished the night with double digit points.

While Coach Muniz had a lot of praise for his team, he also touched on a few key mistakes his squad made after the game.

“There was a lot of miscommunication on defense, especially late in the fourth quarter,” Muniz said. “We fought throughout the whole game and at no point in the game did we just give up.”

Muniz didn’t let the loss drag him down though and was already looking ahead to their next game.

“We just have to push this game aside and work on getting ready for the next game,” he said. The Panthers return to the court on Friday against Collinsville High School and will return to the Dome on February 4 for the Bank of O’Fallon Shootout.

Panther hoops captures Denver Miller Tourney title

BY SAM SCINTA
WEEKLY REPORTER

basketballKIRKWOOD – The O’Fallon Township High School Boys Basketball team has spent much of this season searching for the consistency that has made the program among the top of the Southwestern Conference for the past decade plus.

They were still licking their wounds after a 75-58 loss to archrival Edwardsville, one of the top teams in Illinois, just one week after a 27-point loss to Marist.

Monday night, they completed a big step in the right direction just as the team is beginning to stare down the final stretch of their regular season schedule.

The Panthers, led by three All-Tourney honorees, used a compelling 55-51 win over Jennings to capture the Denver Miller Tournament Championship in Kirkwood.

O’Fallon finished on top of a highly-touted field, featuring some of Missouri’s best squads.

Last year’s Panthers took home the Consolation Championship.

The Blue and Gold opened the 2017 bracket with a strong win over a talented McCluer North team before edging an experienced and feisty Ladue squad.

OTHS had not run out of magic by the tournament finale, however, as the Panthers used a strong start and some clutch senior-play to upset the favored Jennings Warriors.

Senior Alex Orr was perfect at the line in the final minute of the game to hold off a late Warrior push and crown the Panthers as the Denver Miller Tournament Champions.

The tourney run gives the Panthers a three-game winning streak and moves their record to 12-5, but their record in the Southwestern Conference sits at 2-3 after inconsistent play against SWC foes. They will look to break that streak when they return to the hardwood on January 27 to take on the Collinsville Kahoks in an important road contest.

O’Fallon won’t return to the Panther Dome until February 10 when the Lancers make the trip from Belleville.

Athlete Spotlight – Norfleet helps lead O’Fallon Hoops to rivalry win

BY SAM SCINTA
WEEKLY REPORTER
Deion Norfleet

Deion Norfleet

O’Fallon senior Deion Norfleet spent much of first semester this school year continuing to add to his legacy on the gridiron. He’s starting 2017 with his stellar play on the hardwood.

Norfleet turned in perhaps his most complete performance of the season in a pivotal 77-69 road win over the hated Belleville East Lancers, rising to the top at a time when his team needed it the most.

While Jalen Hodge has been lighting up the scoresheet for the Blue and Gold all season, Norfleet’s steady improvement could provide the second playmaker the Panthers have searched for all season.

Norfleet poured in 18 huge points against the Lacers in Belleville, including hitting his first shot from beyond the three-point arc this season.

The guard’s 18 are his most in a single game this season, with four of them in the closing moments that helped put East away for good.

Edwardsville provided a much tougher test for the Panthers, and while O’Fallon couldn’t muster the offense needed to knock off the number three team in the state, Norfleet continued his run of good basketball. The senior contributed ten points, again without much from deep.

“I know that shot isn’t there for me much, so I focus on creating good looks for my teammates and good looks up close for myself before I look for the three,” Norfleet said. “In today’s game the three is so important but it’s easier to get if they have to pay attention to you inside.”

Norfleet’s improved play creates a volatile problem for opposing defenses trying to figure out how to guard the senior alongside Hodge. Teams trying to lock up Hodge beyond the perimeter open up driving lanes for Norfleet to cut to the basket, creating either a layup or a pass to an open shooter.

Norfleet is undecided on a college decision, but will likely have an option to play either sport.

Panthers split week downing Belleville East, falling to Edwardsville

BY SAM SCINTA
WEEKLY REPORTER
Deion Norfleet takes on a group of Edwardsville Tigers in Friday night's game. (O'Fallon Weekly Photo by Nick Miller)

Deion Norfleet takes on a group of Edwardsville Tigers in Friday night’s game. (O’Fallon Weekly Photo by Nick Miller)

The O’Fallon Township High School Boys Basketball Team returned to the hardwood after the New Year holiday, and the Blue and Gold carried some of their post-Christmas momentum into 2017. They started the new year going up against their rival, the Belleville East Lancers.

Junior Jalen Hodge poured in 20 to lead the Panthers while senior Deion Norfleet added 18 in perhaps the best offensive performance on the season for OTHS.

Ronnie Anthony, who had been nursing an injury sustained in the Centralia Holiday Tournament in December, was a late scratch after re-injuring his ankle.

University of Illinois recruit Javon Pickett scored 21 to compliment Rico Sylvester’s game-high 23, but Belleville East’s slow start and inability to get stops down the stretch doomed the Lancers and gave the Panthers a window to escape Belleville with a much-coveted 77-69 win.

“I’m really proud of how our guys competed under the circumstances tonight,” Head Coach Brian Muniz said. “Losing players to illness or injury, this is a really big win in our conference, and it goes a long way towards our big-picture goals.”

The Panthers’ second contest of the week did not make 2017 any easier for O’Fallon, dropping a road game 75-58 to archrival Edwardsville on Friday night.

Edwardsville used a big 9-0 run out of half-time to gain some separation and OTHS was never able to create the offense needed to come back against one of the Southwestern Conference’s top teams.

The Tigers are currently ranked number three in the state of Illinois with a record of 13-1.

“That’s a talented, well-coached group,” Muniz said. “They have all the pieces you’d like to see on a contending team. They’re for real.”

O’Fallon’s loss dropped the Panthers to 9-5 on the year. OTHS will travel north to Collinsville on the 27th to take on the Kahoks.

Panther hoops snag top 5 finish at Centralia Holiday Tourney

BY SAM SCINTA
WEEKLY REPORTER
The Panthers came back in an epic two-overtime matchup against Cahokia to open their time in the Centralia Holiday Tournament.  (Photo provided by Centralia Sentinel Staff photographer Bryan Hunt)

The Panthers came back in an epic two-overtime matchup against Cahokia to open their time in the Centralia Holiday Tournament.
(Photo provided by Centralia Sentinel Staff photographer Bryan Hunt)

CENTRALIA – The O’Fallon Township High School Boys Basketball took part in the annual Centralia Holiday Tournament over the New Year weekend, recovering from a tough loss to finish in the top five.

OTHS grabbed wins over Cahokia, Thornton Fractional North, and Southwestern Conference rival Alton to balance a loss to tournament runner-up and Chicago upstart Marist Catholic.

The Panthers opened the tournament with an instant classic, two overtime win over the Cahokia Comanches.

O’Fallon needed most of regulation to dig out of an early double-digit deficit following a 13-2 Cahokia run.

Senior Jarvus Smith would cap the comeback, scoring in close with under 20 seconds to go in the second overtime period to give OTHS the thrilling 64-62 win.

The Blue and Gold advanced to face then-undefeated Marist Catholic Redhawks in the second round, but the same comeback magic that blessed the Panthers in round one was nowhere to be seen.

Marist Catholic dominated pace of play from start to finish, routing an overmatched O’Fallon team in convincing 67-40 fashion.

Coach Brian Muniz said he was very happy with the Panthers during the tournament. He said their wins all came in different ways showing a versatile team.  (Photo provided by Centralia Sentinel Staff photographer Bryan Hunt)

Coach Brian Muniz said he was very happy with the Panthers during the tournament. He said their wins all came in different ways showing a versatile team.
(Photo provided by Centralia Sentinel Staff photographer Bryan Hunt)

“They’re legit,” Head Coach Brian Muniz said of the Redhawks. “They have all the pieces you’re looking for and create a lot of matchup nightmares down low.”

The loss dropped the Panthers into a semi-final matchup with 6-3 Alton, and early morning grogginess perhaps contributed to a sloppy slug-fest between two conference rivals.

O’Fallon took a nine-point lead after the first quarter and never looked back despite a dismal shooting performance all over the court, staving off a gritty Redbird team 39-30.

The win served as a bit of revenge for a brutal 54-55 loss to Alton at the Panther Dome in early December.

Burke Watts led the Panthers in scoring, netting 10.

Alton was eliminated from the tournament with the loss.

OTHS then advanced to the fifth place game against Thornton Fractional North, who had advanced by thumping Germantown (Tennessee) in their semi-final contest.

The Panthers found themselves in another nail-biter, needing to outscore Thornton Fractional North by five in the final frame to post the 59-57 win and secure the fifth place finish.

“I’m really proud of the way our guys competed during this tournament,” Muniz said of his team. “They won three of four and had to do each in different fashion. That’s a good mark of a team on the rise.”

This was the 74th year Centralia has hosted its Holiday Tournament, with this year featuring 16 of the state’s toughest teams.

Panthers Hoops open SWC play with win

BY SAM SCINTA
WEEKLY REPORTER

basketballEDWARDSVILLE – The O’Fallon Township High School Boys Basketball Team didn’t have to wait too long to enjoy the first Southwestern Conference win of the Brian Muniz era as the Panthers took down a feisty Collinsville team to earn their fourth win of the young season.

In an event held at Southern Illinois University Edwardsville’s Vadalabene Center to mark the start of SWC play, the Blue and Gold got off to a two-point lead at the end of the first quarter but would not be able to build on that before the half as the two teams went to the locker rooms in the midst of a 29-27 grind of a game.

The Kahoks would come out of the half with an adjusted offensive focus and improved defensive effort that would dig O’Fallon a one-point hole heading into the decisive final frame.

But OTHS’ rookie Head Coach is no true greenhorn on the sidelines, and Muniz’ savvy created an offensive downpour that Collinsville could not possibly have kept up with, outscoring the Purple and White 22-11 to manufacture a compelling 61-51 win.

O’Fallon’s offense was at its best when it drove to the rim, resulting in either shots up close or fouls resulting in free throws. The result was a 25-46 shooting night, managing to top a 51 percent shooting effort from the Kahoks.

Muniz’ charges were led by the efforts of a couple of good-looking juniors in Jalen Hodge and Ronnie Anthony.

The pair took turns leading the Panther attack, as Anthony scored 13 points in the  first half and Hodge scored 12 in the pivotal fourth. Both would combine to score 39 of O’Fallon’s 61 points on the day.

Belleville West, coached by Muniz’ brother Joe, would also collect its first win of the conference slate at SIUE, topping Edwardsville 59-53. East St. Louis would top Belleville East 84-77 at the event.

 

Panther basketball starts season strong at Highland tourney

BY SAM SCINTA
WEEKLY REPORTER

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.

Muniz picked to head boys hoops

BY SAM SCINTA
WEEKLY REPORTER

muniz-picture-resizedO’FALLON – The O’Fallon Township High School boys basketball program has found its replacement for Rick Gibson, announcing the hiring of Brian Muniz earlier this week.

Muniz has big shoes to fill in replacing Gibson, who spent the previous 11 seasons at the helm of one of the more successful programs in the region. He compiled a record of 209-121 during his time at the Panther Dome. Gibson announced his resignation earlier this month, citing the need to spend more time with his family.

The players are familiar with Muniz, as he was an assistant on Gibson’s staff during his tenure, which included two top-5 finishes at the IHSA State Tournament.

Coach Muniz’ brother, Joe, has been the head coach at Belleville West for the past 6 years. Brian has long been considered among the area’s top assistants, and had been rumored to be in consideration for a number of openings in recent years.

The timing of Gibson’s decision to resign left OTHS Athletic Director Todd Moeller with a tight schedule to find a replacement, with tryouts and practices starting in mid-October. Having the luxury to promote from within gives the Panthers a coach who is familiar with the program and the department; a rarity in many hires.

Muniz teaches in the Math Department at the Smiley Campus. The hire was announced by OTHS District 203 following their Board of Education meeting on Thursday night. The board unanimously already approved the hire.

Panthers defense shuts down Flyers in 48-44 win

 

Senior Chance Armstrong powers over East St. Louis defenders to take it to the hoop.  (O’Fallon Weekly Photo by Nick Miller)

Senior Chance Armstrong powers over East St. Louis defenders to take it to the hoop. (O’Fallon Weekly Photo by Nick Miller)

After two losses in a row, the boys O’Fallon Panther basketball team picked up a big win last Friday night in a close battle with the East St. Louis Flyers.

In their second to last home game of the season, the Panthers turned in a 48 point night against the Flyers to win the game by just four points. Despite having a slight lead for a majority of the game, O’Fallon found themselves tied with the Flyers, 26-26 at the half.

East St. Louis kept OTHS at bay in the third quarter and took a 37-34 lead during the third quarter. The Panther defense went to work in the fourth quarter, limiting the Flyers to only seven points and allowing O’Fallon to inch out a narrow 48-44 win.

Although O’Fallon’s offensive struggles continued on Friday night, their defense put on one its best showings all season long.

“East St. Louis is a high scoring team and we held them to a low score of 44 points. We did a good job of defending our guys, not letting them get to the basket, and we did a great job of checking guys off and rebounding. Our defense won the game for us,” said head coach Rick Gibson.

Chance Armstrong had one of his best offensive performances of the year against the Flyers with 17 points. The 6-foot-3 OTHS senior went five for eight from the free-throw line and tacked on three assists to help his team defeat the Flyers for the second time this season.

“He played really well,” said Gibson on Armstrong. “We need him getting close to twenty points a night and when he does, he makes us a different team. He rebounded and defended well also, he really had a big game for us.”

Sophomore Jalen Hodge and junior Deion Norfleet combined to add 13 points to Armstrong’s effort and boost the Panthers over the Flyers.  On defense the Panthers rebounded 22 times to the Flyers 31.

Sophomore Jalen Hodge attempts to get around the Flyers. (O’Fallon Weekly Photo by Nick Miller)

Sophomore Jalen Hodge attempts to get around the Flyers. (O’Fallon Weekly Photo by Nick Miller)

The final stretch of regular season games for the Panthers will not get any easier. On Tuesday night OTHS travels to Edwardsville to face off against the Tigers. Edwardsville got the better of the Panthers in their match in early January. O’Fallon struggled to contain Edwardsville’s all-star Aj Epenesa in the game and allowed for 6-foot-5 center to put up 22 points.

“They’re a tough match up for us. We don’t have the physical guys that we do and it will be a tough game. It will be hard for us to hold them to a low score and we will have to have another great defensive effort,” said Gibson.

Late game heroics lead Panthers over Kahoks

Panthers defend against the KahoksThe O’Fallon High Panther boys’ basketball team captured their fourth win in a row in a nail biting finish against Collinsville on Friday.

With just a minute and a half left on the clock the Kahoks sunk a two pointer to tie up the score at 33 points apiece. From there on the Panthers remained in possession of the ball until the final seconds of play. Junior guard Deion Norfleet held the ball on the perimeter, uncontested, for nearly an entire minute. Norfleet powered his way to the basket in the final seconds and forced a rebound, giving way for senior Chance Armstrong to tip it in and win the game at the buzzer.

It was a low scoring game for both the Panthers and the Kahoks who combined for only 68 points in the 35-33 win for O’Fallon. Although OTHS struggled to score in the game, their win over Collinsville marked their fourth win in a row and it continued a positive upswing after a rough first half of the season.

“I don’t think either team played as well as they could but a win is a win and we will take it,” said head coach Rick Gibson. “The guys did a decent job and the kids played and extended hard and that’s what kept us in the lead.”

The pressure of the final play is a scenario coach Gibson and his Panther team are familiar with and practice regularly.

“We practice it almost daily,” said Gibson. “Getting a last ditch shot is something our kids feel familiar with because we have run it so much. Although we normally don’t practice it when a team sits back and doesn’t pressure us, so it was a little bit different.”

Armstrong lead the Panthers with 11 points, one steal, and two assists against the Kahoks. Sophomore Tabari Dunlap and Norfleet both contributed to the Panther win with six points each. Both Dunlap and Norfleet also had a pair of steals and a single assist. O’Fallon was out-rebounded by Collinsville 32-26.

The win puts O’Fallon at 6-13 on the season and 2-6 in the Southwestern Conference.

This week the Panthers will host Belleville West on Friday night and will look for revenge after a tough overtime loss in Belleville in early January. On Saturday OTHS will kick off the first game of the highly anticipated Bank of O’Fallon Shootout event against Peoria Richwoods at 10:30am.

“These are two big games for us and after a four game winning streak we are feeling a lot better than we were four games ago. We let one get away last time we played West so we are excited to play them at home and it will be nice to play someone outside of our conference on Saturday,” said Gibson.

The Lady Panthers had a successful run last week, picking up wins against Alton, Collinsville, and Normal Community West.

The trio of wins were big for O’Fallon, who went into last week on a two game losing streak. Senior Becca Althoff had a monstrous night with 16 points, three assists, and a steal in a 49-32 win over Alton. Junior Marta Durk supported the Panthers offense with 14 points of her own.

Against Collinsville Durk put up another night of big scoring with 16 points and three steals in O’Fallons 50-45 win.

Coach Ryan Massey and the Lady Panthers improved their overall record to 15-8 and 8-3 in conference play.

Bank of O’Fallon Shootout takes place Saturday

ofallon basketballThis Saturday the Panther Dome seats will be filled for highly anticipated Bank of O’Fallon Shootout basketball event.
The Shootout first took place last year and was highlighted by a double-overtime finish between Althoff and Westchester St. Joseph who would go on to face off against each other in the Class 3A state championship.
This year’s Shootout will be split into two action packed sessions. Teams for this year include Althoff, CBC, Centralia, Columbia, DeKalb, Hazelwood Central, Hinsdale South, Kenwood Academy, Morgan Park, Nashville, OTHS, Peoria Richwoods, St. Joseph-Ogden, and St. Joseph Winchester.
Coach Gibson and his team are excited to host the event again and look to keep their winning streak extended into the Shootout.
“It’s a great event that shows a lot of promise again this year. It helps showcase the great gym we have, the school, and the city of O’Fallon. We have teams from all over the area and it will be a great day of basketball,” said Gibson.

The full schedule of games for Saturday are listed below:

10:30 O’Fallon vs. Peoria Richwoods
12:00 Nashville vs. St Joseph Ogden
1:30 Centralia vs. Darien Hinsdale South
4:15 Columbia vs. DeKalb
5:45 CBC vs. Westchester St. Joseph
7:15 Hazelwood Central vs. Chicago Morgan Park
8:45 Althoff vs. Chicago Kenwood