Posted Online: Dec. 29, 2012, 12:11 am

Alleman sees familiar ending in two losses

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By Daniel Makarewicz, danmak@qconline.com

NORMAL -- The jovial mood Alleman boys' basketball coach Pat Rangel typically brings to a post-game chat was reduced to silence on Friday night.

Then Rangel reached a disappointing conclusion.

"Right now, we're a team that's lost," Rangel said after the Pioneers' 53-50 loss to Champaign St. Thomas More in the State Farm Holiday Classic third-place consolation contest. "We're not on the same page. Somewhere soon, we're going to have to find where we are at and where we need to be, and get there quick."

For the third time in as many days, the Pioneers (5-7) held a fourth-quarter advantage. For the second time, they lost their grip.

Missed foul shots and Kyler Jones' game-winning 3-pointer right before time expired handed Alleman its third loss in four tournament games. Before that, the Pioneers overcame a six-point deficit when Kevin O'Keeffe buried 3-pointers on back-to-back possessions.

However, the finish was just part of another inconsistent performance down the stretch. Alleman went 2 of 8 from the foul line in the fourth quarter, missing two front ends of a one-and-bonus. The Pioneers also were outscored 20-13 in the final frame.

All that added to Alleman's fourth loss in six games.

"We're going home with a 1-3 record. I thought we could very easily have won four games here," said Rangel, who received 15 points from Adam Hoogerwerf and 11 from O'Keeffe. "Right now, we don't have 'it.' What 'it' is, we don't have it. We better get it."

St. Joseph-Ogden 43, Alleman 29: A strong start by Alleman faded into another head-scratching finish.Dominating play after one quarter on Friday afternoon, the Pioneers reverted to their season-long habit of inconsistent stretches. This time, Alleman struggled scoring points and could not key consistent defensive rebounds during its consolation semifinal loss.

"We were clicking on all cylinders in the first quarter," Rangel said. "For whatever mystifying reason, we stopped doing what we were doing and had those lapses. We never got out of the funk."

In the first quarter, the Pioneers (5-6) scored 13 points. In the final three quarters, they scored 16.

Alleman, which received nine points apiece from Hoogerwerf and John Tracey, had five field goals in the second half.

"Just a total lack of effort," Rangel said.

Another issue was the Pioneers' inability to get a defensive rebound. St. Joseph-Ogden (11-1) grabbed 17 offensive boards.

"We aren't struggling for answers. It's all effort," Rangel said. "It's not a question of talent or our gameplan -- it's just effort. We're looking for five guys who will give us consistent effort. Until we get that, we're going to continue to struggle."