The Alton Comets took another step toward claiming the title as this year's Undisputed Champion of Oregon County with a dominating performance against their neighbors from Couch Jan. 9.
Just three days after taking care of the Thayer Bobcats 53-36 with a suffocating effort on the defensive end of the court, the Comets pushed the throttle wide open on the offensive end, sending the Indians home with a 80-42 loss.
On a night when the 1953-54 Comets were honored as the first Alton squad to compete in the Missouri State Final Four, this year's edition of Comets looked as though they might be interested in making a similar run at a state title.
Alton used a balanced scoring attack, including placing four players in double figures, on their way to a 38-point win over Couch.
Hampered by turnovers and missed opportunities in the first period, the Indians fell behind quickly and just couldn't gain any kind of momentum to sustain a run at Alton.
After a layup by Couch's Brad Orahood (nine points) tied the game at 4-all early, the Comets raced out on a 19-4 run to take control of the contest.
Justin Crews (10 points) sank a trey late in the frame, and Alex Wiggs (seven points) tossed in three points of his own as Alton held a 23-8 lead after one.
The Comets continued to build onto their margin in the second, getting eight points in the period from Clinton Hand, to take a comfortable 45-18 lead to the half.
Matt Deckard (12 points) jacked a trey late in the third for the Indians, but Couch trailed 65-25 going into the fourth period. Four straight points from Kyle Willard (18 points) opened the last period for Alton, with the Comets keeping the tempo at their pace.
Greg Campbell added 12 points for Alton, while Bryan Joiner tossed in 11. Max Wilkerson finished with five for the Comets and Nick Parrott three. Lyndon Ollar, John Chaplin and Michael Koon tallied two each.
Adam Combs finished with 11 points for the Indians, while B.J. Sorrell added six. Kevin Price added four, and Adam Crowder two for Couch.
The circumstances were almost reversed in girls' action as the Lady Indians jumped on top of the Lady Comets early and never looked back on their way to a 62-38 win.
The Lady Indians were dominant on the backboards on both ends of the court in the first period, holding Alton to one shot a possession, while they rebounded their own misses and converted them to points.
Jumping out to an 11-4 lead in the first, the Lady Indians closed the frame with six unanswered points, including four from Sandy Labahn (16 points), to hold a 17-6 after one.
Opening the second period with a 12-2 sprintout, Couch moved in front 29-8.
The Lady Comets did get their first triple of the game, courtesy of Gracie Treptow (11 points) at the 3:15 mark of the frame, but halftime saw Alton trailing 34-17.
Lady Indian April Redus kept the pressure on Alton in the third period as she tossed in 10 of her game-high 25 points in the frame, keeping Couch in front 55-23 after three.
The Lady Comets did outscore Couch 15-7 in the final period, but it was too-little, too-late, as the Lady Indians posted a 62-38 win.
Kim Labahn tallied 11 points for Couch, while Tonya Combs added six. Caitlyn Melton, Vanessa Burgard and Ashley Hale all contributed two each for the Lady Indians.
Adrian Johnson and Amanda Rector finished with six each for Alton, while Nicole Turner, Ashley Combs and Jamie Reynolds added four each. Savanna Johnson finished with two for the Lady Comets.
In junior varsity boys' action, the junior varsity Comets held Couch scoreless until the 2:28 mark of the second period, jumping on top 22-0, on their way to a 47-13 win over the junior varsity Indians.
Ben Whitten paced the JV Comets with nine, while Eric Brooks added eight, and Dustin Tackitt seven. Nathaniel Heotis finished with five, while Seth Roberts and Ben Alexander had four each. Johnathan McIntare and Logan Simpson added three points each for Alton.
Bjorn Wilkerson led Couch with five, while Jeremy Clements posted three points. Rodney Leonard had two, while Zach Honeycutt, Austin Worthy and Randy Clawson added one point apiece.
Ashley Hale and Latasha Cote tossed in six points each to pace Couch to a 23-18 win in a two-period junior varsity girls' contest.
Leading 19-8 after the first period, the junior varsity Lady Indians held on in the second frame for the five-point win.
Vanessa Burgard finished with five for Couch, while Tricia Murdock added four, and Kandice York two for the JV Lady Indians.
Gracie Treptow paced Alton with five points. Samantha Allred and Brittany Trevino added four each. Sarah Rowe and Amanda Rector tallied two each for Alton, while Savanna Johnson logged one point.
The Lady Indians began the week with a big 74-46 win over Bunker Jan. 5.
Redus exploded for a game-high 38 points in the contest, while Kim Labahn chipped in with a double-double of 22 points and 14 boards.
Tricia Murdock added six, and Sandy Labahn four points.
Tonya Combs and Julie Williams finished with two points each for Couch.