Boys basketball: Top-seed Alter dominant in tourney opener

SPRINGFIELD — After a tough loss to rival Chaminade Julienne in its season finale last weekend, Alter High School coach Eric Coulter expected a strong response from his Knights squad in their postseason opener.

He got exactly what he wanted. The Division II top-seeded Knights were dominant in an 80-23 victory over No. 21 seed Greenville on Wednesday night at Springfield High School.

Junior Charlie Uhl had a game-high 11 points and junior RJ Greer and senior Jacob Focht each scored 10 as Alter improved to 16-7 overall. Greenville finished its season 3-20.

The Knights beat Hamilton Badin 52-36 last Friday, but fell to CJ 65-37 on Saturday night. Coulter was hoping to see an improved performance in their postseason opener.

“I wanted us to respond after having a poor showing in our last game of the season,” he said. “We played really well against Hamilton Badin on Saturday night and then went to CJ on Saturday night and they did everything right and we did not do anything right. It’s hard because you want momentum when you come into the tournament, especially when you’re the No. 1 seed. We got punched in the mouth and I wanted to see how we would respond and we responded great tonight.”

The Knights came out of the gates strong, grabbing a 27-10 lead after the first quarter. They extended the lead to 54-14 at the half, triggering the running clock in the second half.

“I was happy with our effort,” Coulter said. “We responded really, really well. When you have guys diving on the floor after loose balls and guys coming off the bench doing the same thing, fighting for 50/50 balls and cheering on one another, that’s what makes basketball special here at Alter High School, no question.”

The Knights will play ninth-seeded Springfield Shawnee (14-8) at 8 p.m. Monday night in a D-II second round game in Springfield. The winner will advance to play either No. 6 Northridge or No. 12 Carroll in a D-II district semifinal game at 6 p.m. March 1 at Springfield.

“We told the guys not to get too comfortable,” Coulter said. “We’ll start practice tomorrow focusing on us, working on the things we need to improve on and on Friday we’ll get to work on (Shawnee).”

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