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ALTON – The Alton Redbirds and East St. Louis Flyers brought the energy Friday night in a huge Southwestern Conference showdown at Alton High School.

It saw the Flyers win 79-63, and it started off with a bang.

Right after East Side’s Arlandis Brown opened the game with his basket, Semaj Stampley went the other way with a dunk that brought everyone in the building to their feet.

As he stood over and taunted the 6-foot-8 forward Davis Bynum, they both were awarded technical fouls for the raucous play and the game moved on.

David Cross scored a basket and one right before Alton’s Trai’Sean Sims answered with his own three-point play. It kicked off a nine-point run that saw the Redbirds go ahead 11-5.

East Side immediately responded with a seven-point run, capped off by Robert McCline’s three that took a 12-11 lead. Stampley put away two free throws to regain control right before back-to-back baskets by Taylor Powell and Brown.

Ka’Nye Lacey scored the quarter’s final basket for the Redbirds as they trailed 16-15 after one.

Alton then rattled off three straight three-pointers to open the second quarter from Stampley, Sims, and Kobe Taylor to go back ahead 24-16. The Flyers outscored Alton 10-5 the rest of the half, but the Redbirds still led 29-26 heading into the locker rooms.

The start of the second half was a nightmare for Alton as the Flyers opened on an eight-point run.

Powell sank a couple of free throws before McCline was fouled on a three-point shot, which did go in as he converted the four-point play, followed by Bynum’s slam to take East Side ahead 34-29.

Alton cut the lead to 36-34, but the Flyers had another 8-0 run in them to boost the lead to 44-34.

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East St. Louis outscored Alton 29-10 in the third quarter, flipping the game on its head. The Flyers led 55-39 after three.

Alton got back within 11 points at 65-54 with 3:28 left in the game, but it was too much to ask as the Redbirds fell to East Side for the second time this season.

Stampley led all scorers with 24 points.

“That was a great play, wasn’t it,” Alton head coach Dylan Dudley said about Stampley’s flashy dunk early on. “He’s a special talent.”

“But, if you would have asked Semaj the best thing about tonight’s game, he would tell you there’s no good thing about it because we lost and we didn’t perform well,” Dudley added.

Alton performed well in the first half, but Dudley eluded that to East Side’s lack of defense.

The Flyers were making pull-up jump shots, then not really getting back on defense according to Dudley. That changed in the second half when the Flyers started using their athleticism to take the ball to the glass for easy layups and then using that momentum on the defensive end.

McCline led the Flyers with 17 points while Montreal Stacker had 16, Powell had 12, and Bynum had 10.

Besides Stampley’s 24, Alton got 14 from Talyor, the team’s only player in double figures.

The Flyers improved to 16-6 on the season and 5-2 in the SWC. Alton falls to 14-9 and 3-4 in conference.

Alton has five conference games remaining, three of them at home.

Friday night against the Flyers marked Alton’s first loss of the season on its home court.

The Redbirds will be back in action on Tuesday, Jan. 30 at home against O’Fallon. The Panthers just beat Edwardsville 60-55 Friday night.

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