ALTON – “We’re not discouraged.”
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That’s what Alton boys basketball head coach Dylan Dudley had to say Tuesday night after an 86-64 loss to Collinsville.
Dudley is not one to be the center of attention. He knew that his first year as Redbirds’ head coach was going to be hard but still gladly took the job. He’s got nothing but patience for what the program is currently going through and is here to help bring it back to life.
What is the program going through? It’s called a rebuild, and it’s taking a little longer than expected with Alton’s last winning season coming in 2018-19.
“We’ll get it right,” Dudley said. “I don’t know when it’s going to be. I don’t worry about when it’s going to be. I just know that how we do things works and we’re going to continue to follow those steps and eventually one day we’ll get this thing right.”
Sitting at 3-14 on the season and dealing with a limited roster, that rebuild looks like it’s going to continue, especially with the program losing six seniors at the end of this season.
But still, Dudley and the team are trudging through and not giving in, and that’s what it’s all about.
“We live in reality around here. We don’t try to be negative. We try to deal with the positives. The last thing this program needs is negativity. We just try to be honest and real.”
Dudley is also never one to make excuses, however, knows that the Southwestern Conference in which his Redbirds play is truly a grind.
“Winning is really really hard, especially in this league,” he said after the loss to the Kahoks. “We knew going into the game it was going to be a struggle.”
Although the final score may seem a bit lopsided, what it doesn’t show is how hard his Redbirds worked. And they do that consistently.
The Redbirds’ offense came to life scoring the most points since their first game of the season, an 88-67 win over Carnahan. Four players got into double digits against Collinsville.
Jamion Everage led the team with 17 points, followed by Byron Stampley with 16, Zi’are Woody with 15, and Hassani Elliot with 11.
A total of 39 of Alton’s points came in the second half as they never gave up.
There were some positive takeaways for the Redbirds.
“I mean the second half is what we can build on,” Dudley said. “We’ve tinkered with some things offensively. Credit to our kids, they’re starting to figure it out. They’re starting to figure out where and how they can score. It was good to see the ball go in the basket.”
“I felt like there was some more competitive spirit out there,” he added.
Although having another rough season, Dudley said there isn’t a day where he doesn’t look forward to going to school and teaching these kids at practice. He’s said in the past that it will just take time.
The Redbirds will be back in action on Friday when they take on SWC rival Edwardsville. That game will be played at Edwardsville with a 7:30 p.m. start time.
The Tigers won the previous meeting this season by a score of 59-42 back on Dec. 2.