GALESBURG – Soon you might see a "M*A*S*H" sign outside the Alleman boys' basketball locker room, a cross attached to the "A" to replicate the school's logo.
Yes, it has been that kind of stretch for the Pioneers.
With two of their starting five out indefinitely, Alleman failed to latch onto an early lead Friday night at John Thiel Gymnasium, falling to the Galesburg Silver Streaks 47-34.
Despite having Dan Cutkomp in a foot boot and John Tracey not only with shin splints but sent home with flu-like symptoms after making the trip, the Pioneers (6-11, 1-4 Western Big 6) still jumped out to an 11-5 lead, holding the Streaks scoreless for the first 4½ minutes.
That's when Alleman coach Pat Rangel could detect the effects of his wounded warriors.
"That was when the defensive intensity switched," he noted. "Our team hasn't come out with that kind of a spark in a long time. But maybe our guys were winded because of our numbers, I don't know."
From then to the end of the half, Alleman committed nine turnovers to Galesburg's one. The Pioneers were 1-for-11 shooting in the second quarter and extended that to 1-for-17 until Adam Hoogerwerf (team-high 10 points) converted a layup at the third-quarter horn. By then, the Streaks led 43-22.
"We've asked each guy to reassess what they are doing and to have each other's back," Rangel noted.
With Tracey out at least two weeks and Cutkomp possibly longer, someone's going to have to step up to pick up the slack. Alleman's reserves scored just seven points and had three rebounds. Rangel thought Jeremy Keim showed potential in the second half, and he thought Joe Boland could add points to his otherwise all-around steady game.
Plus, Rangel says he's worried about how Hoogerwerf, the team's leader, holds up through this rugged stretch that includes another tough battle tonight, hosting Peoria Richwoods.
"He's shouldering the load for us," the coach said of the senior point guard. "Everyone is keying on him. He's our quarterback out there, playing his heart out. He's getting knocked around and these games are taking their toll on him, especially in the Western Big 6.
"He has no significant injury, but I'm worried about how he holds up. He's big out there, the way a team captain plays. I admire him for what he's doing."
The Streaks (12-8, 4-1) got 16 points off the bench from Marcus Ross (nine) and Tyson Parks (seven points, six rebounds). Among the starters, Grant Gibson had a double-double of 18 points and 10 boards.
"We're excited about the position we're in," coach Mike Reynolds said, his Streaks in second in the WB6, a game behind Quincy. "We control our own destiny with five games left. Every game is going to be a dogfight."
Today is Wednesday, Aug. 20, the 232nd day of 2014. There are 133 days left in the year. 1864 -- 150 years ago: Quite a number of Negroes have lately been brought here by abolition offers returning from the army in violation of the laws of the state. 1889 -- 125 years ago: Miss Tillie Denkmann, of Rock Island, was making plans to accompany a Davenport family on a tour of Europe. 1914 -- 100 years ago: The German advance into Belgium was going apparently without serious check. The American ambassador at Berlin published a denial of the charge that Americans had been ill-treated in Germany. 1939 -- 75 years ago: Seventy-two members of Rock Island High School's 1939 graduating class are preparing to enter college — 34 of them at Augustana. 1964 -- 50 years ago: One of the oldest buildings in Milan, which for a number of years has housed the Milan Hotel, will be razed to make way for a modern, two-story office structure. 1989 -- 25 years ago: Some are blaming it on the sudden influx of insects and the extreme humidity. Still others say the invasion was inspired by a recent movie. But whatever the reason, the Quad-Cities is swarming with bats.