By Paul Halfacre | STLhighschoolsports.com
ALTON • Another winning streak came to an end Tuesday at the hands of the Alton Marquette boys basketball team.
Marquette used a strong first quarter to snap Gibault's 12-game winning streak with a 48-41 victory.
"I think we defended really well and have done that for about the last 15-20 games," Marquette coach Steve Medford said. "If you defend well and rebound well, you're going to put yourself in a chance to win games. That's kind of what our program has been built on. Hopefully, we can continue to keep this thing rolling."
This was the second time Marquette snapped a Gibault winning streak. Marquette has stopped six winning streaks this season.
The Explorers used the added energy of their home finale and sprinted out to a 16-7 lead, closing the first quarter on a 9-0 run.
But Gibault's defense, foul trouble and inconsistency slowed Marquette's offense in the second quarter allowing the Hawks to get back into the game.
"That's been one of our problems this year," Medford said. "We come out (hot) and we're streaky at times. I thought we had a chance when we got up 11 to maybe put it over and maybe have a chance to make it very difficult for them. They're a well-coached team and they have a lot of heart and those kids play really hard for Gibault."
When junior guard Sammy Green was tagged with his second foul in the second quarter, the offense took a hit. Couple that and the desire not to show too much on film contributed to only six points from the Explorers in the second quarter.
"I would say that Sammy is the grease to our wheel. When he went out, we maybe didn't execute as well," Medford said. "We didn't call many sets tonight because we didn't want to show them too much. Ultimately, we're going to see them in a week and a half and the big game plan tonight was not to show to much."
After Gibault took the lead late in the fourth quarter, the Explorers started turning to their junior center in Jake Hall.
"We got some post feeds into him and (Gibault's Colin) Kessler played behind the post a little bit and we thought we could get the ball down to Jake," Medford said. "Jake made some good moves tonight and played with a little more urgency in the post and I'm very happy with what he did."
Hall finished with 17 points, with six coming in the fourth quarter to push the Explorers in front of Gibault. Reagan Snider added 15 points.
"It was definitely rough in the post, but our guys started off hot outside and gave me all the ability to work down low," Hall said. "The guys really stepped up and gave me room to operate."
Gibault (20-7) made a run in the second half and even took the lead in the fourth quarter, but it was too little to late.
"We didn't match their level of intensity in the first half," Gibault coach Dennis Rueter said. "Consequently, we were lucky to be down five points at halftime. We just didn't play hard enough. In the second half we did a little bit of a better job."
Gibault got 19 points from Garrett Rueter, 12 coming in the second half and Trevor Davis added 11 points for the Hawks.
"He shot it well, and we've got a couple of guys who are capable of shooting it well and that kind of got us back into the game," Dennis Rueter said. "But, some of the guys who can shoot it well didn't, and that's kind of the way it goes when you rely on shooting."
Marquette (26-3) got a chance to honor its seniors in its final home game and Medford has been happy with their contributions for the program.
"Bryce Pettiford is just a great kid and Nick Messinger has been with the program for all four years," Medford said. "Those guys mean a lot to the program. The three guys who just came out this year, kind of sacrificed and did what they have done and be more of a scout team has been big for the program."