The boys basketball season is over for both Alton High and Marquette Catholic, but the Redbirds and the Explorers are far from finished.
They are looking ahead to next year — and with good reason.
Marquette brings back everybody from a team that went 25-8 and advanced to a Class 2A sectional championship game. With junior Derrik Starrett, sophomore Sam Scheiter and a good group of freshmen returning, the Explorers are poised for bigger and better things in 2011-12.
The Redbirds will be angling to improve on their 18-13 record, which included a regional championship. Do-it-all senior center Tony Bradley will depart and possible play for Southwestern Illinois College in Belleville. He won’t be easy to replace.
Devon “Vo” Hart, Vonte and B.J. Campbell, Dorian Scruggs and Eric Weaver also played their final games as Redbirds.
Nevertheless, there’s ample talent returning, including JaQuail Townser, Shane Mathews, Tyler McLemore, A’basa Brown, Christopher Lawrence, James Charles,, Jon Golley, Ayinde Perry and others.
The first thing the Redbirds need to do is take the interim tag off first-year coach William Gordon and give him the full title. He earned his stripes.
So did first-year Marquette coach Steve Medford. He guided Marquette to its fifth regional title in school history.
All figured, the Redbirds and Explorers accounted for 43 victories and two regional championship this season. That’s something to celebrate.
Now, they need to be as prosperous next season. The goal is the same — to play in Peoria.