MOLINE — Alleman boys’ basketball coach Kyle Murray had a plan. The Moline Maroons never let it happen.
Murray wanted to find a way to slow down Moline’s “Big 3” but they couldn’t do it from the start of Monday’s Western Big 6 battle at Wharton Field House and the Maroons cruised to an 82-43 win.
“Our goal was to deny (Deonte) Billups and Brody (Harding) and then not allow (Drew) Wiemers to shoot,” Murray said. “Unfortunately, we were not able to do that and once they get going, they just keeping feeding off each other.
“We forced them to take a long shot and Billups rebounded and scored. Then we had two turnovers and they get a couple of easy baskets.”
From there, it became a feeding frenzy for Moline (15-2, 4-0) with the Maroons scoring 27 first-quarter points and 30 more in the second to blow the game open 57-19 at intermission.
“I thought our defensive pressure was really good,” Moline coach Sean Taylor said after Moline forced 10 Alleman (7-10, 0-4) turnovers. “Then, when the ball goes in the hole it helps. Drew hit a 3, then Brody hit a 3 and then Deonte hit a 3 and they worked off each other.”
Billups finished the first half with 21 points, eight rebounds, five steals and four assists. Wiemers added 19 points and five rebounds. Harding had just five points, sitting out after being assessed a technical after his triple.
“Absolutely, it gives me something to be unhappy about,” Taylor said of the technical. “He has to learn how to play and keep his head. He has to channel his energy the right way.
“Even after playing Friday and Saturday I thought the guys would be ready to play the game, but I wasn’t sure we would be prepared. We didn’t even talk about Alleman until 5:30 (Monday evening) and our guys did what they always do, just play hard and executed.”
Falling behind by nearly 40 points at halftime was hardly what Murray expected after more than a week’s rest following the holiday tournament.
“I’m just thankful we have a game to play (tonight at home against Geneseo) because I wouldn’t want to go a full week to think about this one,” Murray said. “We get to come right back with a blank slate. I did not see this coming.”
Taylor was able to use the second half as a chance to both see how some of his deep bench players would play for an entire half, and reward them for their daily work in practice.
Jayden Jackson made the most of his chance with nine points and six rebounds.
“This gives us a chance to develop these young guys on the bench and make sure they are playing the right way and executing,” Taylor said. “We talked at halftime to those guys and said it was all their game and they needed to play the way we want them to play.
“We wanted them to run the offense and share the ball. We didn’t turn the ball over much.”
Chase VanDerGinst had eight early points and finished with 12 to lead the Pioneers. He and the rest of the Alleman starters played sparingly in the third quarter and sat during the running clock in the fourth.