ROCK ISLAND — Playing without its senior point guard and leading scorer Elijas Campos, the Alleman boys basketball team kept things close against visiting Knoxville until late in Tuesday night’s contest.
Leading Alleman by just two points heading into the fourth quarter, Knoxville surged to a 55-42 win after outscoring the Pioneers 20-9 in the final frame.
The Blue Bullets (15-3) were 10-12 at the line in a fourth quarter in which David Hise scored six of his game-high 18 points.
Campos, who averages around 11 points per game, was out with an illness for Alleman (2-17), which trailed by two points at the end of each of the first three quarters.
Coach Kyle Murray said a lot of his Pioneers stepped up and played out of position in the loss, but the team kept things competitive for a majority of the game.
“They handled it for the most part,” Murray said of Campos’ absence, “but there were periods of the game where not having that experience caught up with us and Knoxville was able to take advantage of a couple turnovers.”
Alleman finished the game with 15 turnovers but cleaned things up in the third quarter after giving it away nine times in the first half.
The Pioneers shot 13-46 from the field in the loss and 16-21 at the line; Knoxville was just 16-50 from the field but 18-23 at the line and 5-22 from deep, turning it over just four times.
Alleman’s starting five featured all football players, three of which played on the offensive or defensive line.
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Pioneers big man Rudy Glancey, an All-Western Big 6 Conference lineman, got his second start and finished with nine points and six rebounds, fouling out in the closing minutes. Jake Mattecheck (3-6 FGs) had nine points off the bench for Alleman and Paul Rouse scored eight but dealt with early foul trouble.
Murray said Campos’ illness didn’t pick up until after Monday’s practice, which made preparation a challenge.
“I thought with him being down, guys did a nice job on the fly of filling in,” Murray said. “Our guys battled.”
Missing its senior leader caught up to Alleman in the fourth quarter as turnovers mounted and the team shot 2-11 from the field; Rouse was 4-4 at the line.
Knoxville’s Eli Loving (17 points, nine rebounds) was 6-6 at the line in the fourth quarter and finished 9-10 at the charity stripe. Jason Hise added 19 points for KHS.
Campos is also Alleman’s primary 3-point threat, and the Pioneers were 0-4 from deep on Tuesday.
“In the fourth quarter, we don’t get a couple loose balls, they get baskets, and then we start fouling to get back into the game,” Murray said, “and they knock down all their free throws. They separated at the end of the game, but it was a pretty good battle for most of the way.”
Murray said Glancey brings extra energy for his size to the Alleman lineup.
"He rebounds, he gets lots of loose balls, he gets on the floor," Murray said of the 6-foot-2 post. "He's an everyman's man, really. He does all the little things you need."
Mattecheck's game off the bench is also something the coach hopes can continue to evolve.
"Jake's starting to round into shape from his PCL injury," Murray said. "We think he can be a very good player for us. ... His effort is incredible. We just need him to keep coming on."