ALTON - It was all Alton, all night on Tuesday evening, as the Lady Redbirds cruised to victory against the visiting East St. Louis Lady Flyers. The visitors never held a lead in the game, and Alton ran roughshod on the Flyers to a 60-32 final score.
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The game, which was moved forward an hour due to an impending/predicted snowstorm, was never much of a contest. Alton jumped out to an early lead behind the shooting of Laila Blakeny, whose eight first-quarter points doubled East St. Louis’s team total for the quarter. Blakeny led all scorers on the night with 14 points, knocking down four three-pointers in the process.
Alton sophomore guard Kiyoko Proctor followed up her Highland Tournament MVP performance with 10 points of her own, and largely dictated the pace of the Lady Redbird offense. It wasn’t Proctor’s best shooting night from the floor, shooting 3-8, but she sank five free throws before being rested for the fourth and final quarter.
Alton stormed to a 35-15 halftime lead and slowed their pace in the second half and head coach Deserea Howard was able to rotate her bench a bit. Younger players were able to get solid minutes and game time, led by freshman Kaylea Lacey’s six points and a handful of rebounds.
The Lady Flyers’ top scorer, senior guard Shakara McCline, came into Tuesday’s game averaging well over 20 points per game. McCline was limited to 13 points by the stout Lady Redbird defense, and didn’t have the best shooting night as she tried to will East Side back into the game.
Tuesday evening’s encounter was in stark contrast to the December 6 meeting between these two teams, where the Lady Flyers erased a 10-point halftime deficit but fell just short, losing 58-57. That night, Shakara McCline shot 11-19 on her way to a 29-point game. With McCline held in check on Tuesday, East St. Louis just couldn’t create offensively to keep up with the Alton attack.
It was a rather easy night at the office for Deserea Howard, who sees her Lady Redbirds improve to a more than impressive 24-0 on the season. As of this week, the Lady Redbirds are ranked second in the entire state of Illinois, only behind suburban Chicago’s Nazareth Academy.
Alton’s quest for the unbeaten season continues this Thursday when they travel to O’Fallon to face the Panthers. The Lady Redbirds have won both matchups against O’Fallon, winning 40-36 at home on December 8, and on a neutral court in tournament play on December 29, 52-51.
East St. Louis falls to 9-17 and faces Collinsville in their first meeting this season. The Lady Flyers were forced to forfeit their scheduled home game against the Kahoks in December.