ALTON 75, HAZELWOOD WEST 13
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ALTON - The 2022-23 season for Deserea Howard and the Alton Lady Redbirds basketball team set a high-water mark for the program in the modern era. The ‘23-’24 season started this weekend, with the 28th Annual Lady Redbird Tip-Off Tourney at Alton High.
After a big 75-24 win on Friday night over North Point, the Lady Redbirds kept rolling Saturday afternoon hosting Hazelwood West. Alton improved to 2-0, dispatching the Wildcats 77-13.
“I think we’re gelling,” Alton head coach Deserea Howard said on Saturday afternoon. “We’re putting in a lot of pieces and creating our identity right now, of who we’re going to be later in the season.”
Saturday was a great exercise in gelling for Howard’s Lady Redbirds. The tournament hosts jumped out to a 20-3 lead after a quarter and never looked back.
Alyssa Lewis led Alton in scoring on the day and didn’t miss a single shot on her way to 17 points. Lewis had five of eight Lady Redbird three-pointers and was 6-6 from the field.
Kiyoko Proctor and Kaylea Lacey both added 11 points each from the Alton backcourt. The Redbirds scored early and often by way of the fast break, where Proctor and Lacey’s speed separated them from chasing defenders.
It was 45-7 at half. With a long scoreline, it was a chance for Howard to give everyone some solid playing time, important at these early stages of the season.
“Right now, you should be preparing, and figuring out what you have,” said Howard. “Putting the pieces together, finding your chemistry and rhythm, and that’s what we’re doing.”
Senior Julia Downs led the Lady Wildcats from Hazelwood West with seven of their 13 points on the afternoon.
Saturday afternoon’s session set the stage for the evening session and the highly-anticipated matchup between the Alton Lady Redbirds and Lift For Life for the championship of the 28th Annual Lady Redbird Tip-off Tournament.
ALTON 76, LIFT FOR LIFE 60
ALTON – In the final game of the 28th Annual Lady Redbird Tip-Off Tournament, Alton hosted Lift for Life Academy in the championship game Saturday night.
In the closest game of this young season, Alton still managed a 76-60 win thanks in part to three double-digit scorers.
Junior point guard Kiyoko Proctor led the way with 24 points. Junior forward Jarius Powers added 21 and junior center Talia Norman had 12.
A pretty good night at the line, Alton went eight for nine on free-throws.
After leading 16-12 after the first quarter, the Hawks closed the gap to just a one-point game at halftime with Alton leading 34-33.
The Redbirds came back onto the court on fire, outscoring Lift for Life 22-14 in the third and 20-13 in the fourth en route to their third straight win.
It was also the third straight game Alton has put up 75-plus points.
The Hawks were led by freshman Amaya Manuel’s 25 points. She made a game-high four three-pointers. Sophomore Zha Harris came up with 12 points.
The Redbirds will return to action at home after a lengthy, 10-day holiday break. The Redbirds will host MICDS on Tuesday, Nov. 28 at 7:30 p.m.
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