Mark Smith led the Tigers with 18 points on Saturday night.

Oliver Stephen receives his first-team all-tourney honor.WATERLOO - Edwardsville bowed to Althoff 67-59 on Saturday night in the Waterloo Battling Bulldogs Tourney, but the Tigers demonstrated considerable fight that will likely pay off as the season develops.

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The Tigers’ star center A.J. Epenesa was missing from the final tourney game because of a family commitment at Purdue University for his sister, Sam, who was playing her Senior Night for the volleyball team. Epenesa and teammate Oliver Stephen were named first team all-tourney at Waterloo.

Edwardsville was behind 16-9 at the end of the first quarter and 30-15 at the half and 45-27 at the end of three periods. In the final quarter, the Tigers outscored Althoff 32-22 and if there had been another 3 or 4 minutes of play, likely would have prevailed because at the end, Edwardsville was functioning on all cylinders.

Althoff’s coach Greg Leib said he was really pleased with his team’s effort and approach to the game.

“Edwardsville has a great program and is always well-coached with Coach Mike Waldo," he said. "Everything is about building to March. Our guys did a nice job of feeding each other and from playing in the state championship football game on Friday night.”

Althoff lost 51-7 to Chicago Phillips in that IHSA Class 5A state championship football contest, finishing 13-1, but one would never know they hadn’t been out on the hardwoods practicing by their peformance on Saturday evening.

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Waldo said he thought it was appropriate that Epenesa take a family night now and be with his sister at Purdue. He said the star center plays three sports without a break and would be with the team the rest of the way through the season.

“Althoff utilizes their personnel well,” Edwardsville head coach Mike Waldo said. “They have some awfully good athletes who can walk off the football field and play like they did. I thought our guys battled and competed the whole game even when we got behind. That will pay off for us later in the year.”

Mark Smith led Edwardsville with 18 points, Sammy Green had 13 points, including multiple three-point conversions and Stephen added 11 points. Caleb Strohmeier had nine points and Chrys Coley had 8 points.

The sparkplug of the night was Green off the bench. Green seemed to bring the Tigers back to life late in the game with his shooting prowess from the field and the line. Mark Smith again was a leader for the Tigers, with a team high 18 points. Stephen also finished in double figures with 11 points, most late in the game. Althoff did a solid job containing the Edwardsville shooting sensation through most of the game.

“Sammy Green works at it and loves basketball,” Coach Waldo said. “He has gotten better each week and each practice. He will do a lot of playing for us as the season goes.”

Sammy Green was a sparkplug for Edwardsville on Saturday night with 13 points off the bench.

Jason Goodwin had 17 points to lead Althoff. Goodwin was a member of the Althoff football team, which played Friday night in the IHSA Class 4A state championship football game.

Edwardsville, 2-2, will host Collinsville at 7:30 this upcoming Friday night in the Tigers’ Southwestern Conference opener.

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