Smith leads Carlinville to victory at Staunton
By JACKSON WILSON
Enquirer Democrat Reporter
Ian Brantley became the fourth player in Southwestern High School basketball history to score 40 points in a game and the Piasa Birds flew past East Alton Wood River, 77-61, last week.
The 6’ 7” junior center put down 17 of 24 shots from the field as well as six free throws in what turned out to be the highest single-game scoring performance for Piasa since Justin Bailey’s 40-point outing in 2015.
The all-time school record was set by Mike Kelly, who put up 48 points in a 1979 Class A sectional versus Pleasant Plains. Brantley also snatched 16 rebounds.
The Birds pulled ahead of the Oilers 23-10 in the opening eight minutes and stayed hot heading into halftime with a 45-25 advantage en route to their 17th victory in 25 games this year.
Grayson Brewer joined Brantley in double figures with 12 tallies.
Southwestern remains in contention for the South Central crown at 4-1 in league play with a road date at Vandalia and a pair of home contests with Carlinville and conference frontrunner Litchfield coming up.
The Piasa Birds controlled their own destiny for outright supremecy until they sputtered at Greenville, losing 56-26, Jan. 26.
Southwestern can still clinch a share of the title by simply winning out but the Birds will need Staunton or North Mac to beat Litchfield in order to ressurrect a “winner take all” scenario for their battle against the Purple Panthers on Senior Night in Piasa Feb. 15, which also happens to be the final game of the regular season.
Smith leads Carlinville to big win at Staunton
With senior captain Braden Buffington sidelined with a season-ending injury for Staunton, Carlinville picked up a 42-39 road conference win over the Bulldogs after protecting a 23-14 halftime lead Feb. 1.
The Cavaliers, who also were without one of their cornerstone players in Dominic Alepra, improved to 12-13 overall and dropped their rivals to 14-11.
Both teams are 2-3 in the SCC.
This contest highlighted a pair of skilled underclassmen in Sawyer Smith for Carlinville and Isiah Laux for Staunton. Smith, a sophomore, led all scorers with 18 points. Laux, a freshman, contributed 17 tallies.
Carlinville has now beaten Staunton twice in three contests this season.
With a third place ranking on the line in both of the previous two games, the Cavaliers took the first meeting, 46-42, at their annual Holiday Tournament and the Bulldogs rebounded with a convincing 58-39 victory at the Macoupin County Tournament in Piasa.
Carlinville travels to Southwestern Fri., Feb. 9 and Routt Catholic Mon., Feb. 12. The Cavaliers will hold their Senior Night game against Greenville at the Big House Tues., Feb. 13.
Staunton’s final home game is Feb. 9 against Litchfield. The Bulldogs conclude the regular season with a three-game trek to Pawnee Feb. 10, Gillespie Feb. 13 and North Mac Feb. 15.
In other action, North Mac dominated Vandalia, 71-42, and Gillespie lost, 56-26, at Greenville.
North Mac is 12-13 overall and 2-3 in the conference. Gillespie is 7-20 and remains winless against league opponents at 0-5.