A patient approach paid off Friday for the Moline boys basketball team.
The Maroons methodically worked the ball down low to Andy McLaughlin and were rewarded with their first Western Big Six victory of the season, a 48-37 decision over Rock Island Alleman at Wharton Field House.
“Our game plan isn’t much of a secret — get Andy the ball — and I felt like we did as good of a job of being patient and staying within our offense,’’ Moline coach Jeff Schimmel said. “We got Andy some touches and that opened up some other things for us. It worked the way it is supposed to work.’’
McLaughlin responded with 23 points and nine rebounds, hitting the only three baskets that either team managed during the opening four minutes of the second quarter to help the Maroons extend the 14-12 lead they held after one quarter.
The 6-foot-7 senior collected 12 of his points on 5-of-7 shooting in the opening two quarters as Moline built a 25-17 lead at the half.
“This is what we can do when we run through our offense,’’ McLaughlin said. “When we work the ball around, all do our jobs, good things can happen. We needed this win, needed to get that first conference win.’’
Alleman coach Pat Rangel found Moline’s patience to be the difference.
“One team was disciplined in what it did and one team was not and that was disappointing,’’ Rangel said. “I felt like we took a lot of quick shots, especially in the first half, and that put us in a hole. We did fight back, but there were about eight, nine minutes early I’d like to have back. We didn’t play our game.’’
Nathan Graves led the Pioneers (6-11, 0-5 Western Big Six) with 12 points, including 10 in the second half after Alleman began to feed its own post players.
By then, Moline used a buzzer-beating basket by Jordan Borkhardt to open a 36-25 lead after three quarters, the first double-digit advantage either team managed.
But a 3-pointer by Collin O’Keeffe and a basket by Ivan Morrow allowed Alleman to cut the Maroons’ margin to 38-32 with 5 minutes, 59 seconds left in the game.
“Alleman plays hard and plays physical and we knew they were going to force us to earn it,’’ Schimmel said. “We got back to what we had been doing, playing together, playing to our strengths.’’
After a timeout, Moline’s Ben Monroe knocked down two baskets on consecutive possessions, the first following a scramble for a loose ball and the second after a turnover, as the Maroons (8-9, 1-3) regained control.
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