BASKETBALL

'Our guys grew today.' Takeaways from the Galesburg boys basketball team's loss to Moline

Matthew Wheaton
Galesburg Register-Mail
Galesburg High School senior Dre Egipciaco drives for a layup as a Moline defender moves in during the Silver Streaks' 77-59 WB6 Conference loss to the Maroons on Friday, Dec. 3, 2021 at John Thiel Gymnasium.

GALESBURG — The Galesburg High School boys basketball team went toe-to-toe with Moline on Friday night in a Western 6 Conference battle at John Thiel Gymnasium.

The Silver Streaks were handed a 77-59 loss by the Maroons. However, the end result could have ended up much worse. 

Galesburg (3-1, 0-1) was down 17-13 against Moline (4-0, 1-0) after the first eight minutes of play. Behind 32 points in the second quarter, the Maroons held a 49-27 advantage over the Streaks at the half. 

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"That second quarter hurt us and we’re definitely going to learn from that," Galesburg coach Chad Thompson said. "We’ll learn as coaches, we’ll learn as players and we’ll move on.”

The Streaks made things interesting in the third quarter. Senior point guard Jeremiah Babers hit a 3-pointer with 7:45 left in the quarter, and it ignited a 15-0 run by Galesburg.

Galesburg High School senior Koen Derry forcefully dunks the ball during the Silver Streaks' 77-59 WB6 Conference loss to Moline on Friday, Dec. 3, 2021 at John Thiel Gymnasium.

Moline junior guard Brock Harding made the second of a pair of free throws with 2:38 left in the third, and the Maroons clung to a 50-42 advantage. 

Heading into the fourth quarter, Moline was ahead of Galesburg 55-45. The Maroons outscored the Streaks 22-14 in the final stanza to secure the victory. 

Thompson, who is in his first season at the helm, was upbeat despite the defeat.

"We never quit. We're not going to quit, and I love those seniors," Thompson said. "I love them like they're my little brothers, nephews or whatever you want to call them. They're family. I love them to death and it was our seniors that led the way. It was started by Jeremiah, Alex (Egipciaco), Koen (Derry) and Carl Dortch. In the locker room at halftime, they're the ones that drew the line and decided we had to be better and they led it.

"We swung hard and hit them hard. I think the tank got on 'E' a little bit but this is a good game as a building block for us," Thompson added. "Regional championships are not won on December 3rd but growth always happens on December 3rd and our guys got better today. Our guys grew today.

"I hate losing. I don't like anything about losing but I can still be proud of the young men who put on those jerseys tonight."

Alex Egipciaco's fouls hurts Streaks

Along with Babers, Derry, Easton Steck, and his twin brother, Dre Egipciaco, Alex Egipciaco was among those in Galesburg's starting lineup against Moline, but he wasn't on the court as much as Thompson would have liked due to foul trouble.

With 4:36 left in the first quarter, Alex Egipciaco received his second foul call. His third came with 4:57 left in the second, and Egipciaco was charged with his fourth foul with 7:20 remaining in the third quarter, which sent him to the bench for a long spell. 

“He’s a senior captain along with Jeremiah and Koen. He’s the heart and soul of a lot that we do defensively and it hurts. He needs to be on the floor. He’s a great leader," Thompson said of Alex Egipciaco. "He didn’t score tonight but his imprint is always felt. He’s a leader. He doesn’t back down from anybody and he never has his whole life.

"It definitely hurts not having him out there but at the same time we always talk about we’re deep," Thompson added. "I thought Ian (Dominique) did a great job of never backing down. I thought Carl Dortch came in and played his best game of the season.

"We don’t back down and we don’t make excuses. We get better and we move on.”

Harding shines for Maroons

Harding finished with a game-high 26 points for the Maroons. Only seven of Harding's points came in the final 16 minutes. 

“Harding is a special player. He can score from all three levels. He’s deserving of the Division I recognition that he’s getting. I think there should probably be more people after him to be perfectly honest," Thompson said. "I thought there were times we were really good containing him and I thought there were times where we let him get loose. He’s great in transition and when we were shooting those quick shots early in the third quarter and letting him lead their break he was absolutely lethal.

"Moving forward, we’re going to play lots of good guards. He’s a great guard and we’re going to play other great guards," Thompson added. "We’ve got to realize that we’ve got to make sure that we take away their best attribute. We’re good at going fast but Moline is great at going fast. We got stuck in a trap of up and down and up and down against them and we weren’t really able to use our size and our physicality."

By the numbers

Derry led Galesburg with 15 points. Babers and Dre Egipciaco had 13 points each for the Streaks. 

Senior Kyle Taylor chipped in 21 points for Moline. Senior Rob Pulliam didn’t step onto the hardwood in the second half after leaving the game in the second quarter with an apparent left ankle injury, and he added 10 points for the Maroons.

Streaks hit road next

Galesburg hits the road on Tuesday for a WB6 affair against Sterling. The Golden Warriors opened league play with a 53-19 win over the Pioneers of Alleman on Friday evening. 

“Sterling plays hard and we play hard. Moline plays hard. We all play hard and that’s the great thing about this conference," Thompson said. "We’re going to have to come out with that laser focus that we had in the third quarter (against Moline)."

In other conference games Friday, Quincy defeated United Township 70-39 in East Moline, while Rock Island rolled over Geneseo 89-55 at Rocky's Fieldhouse.

Galesburg's schedule

Wed., Nov. 24: Galesburg 73, Dunlap 64

Fri., Nov. 26: Galesburg 63, Madison 44 (Thanksgiving Tourney)

Sat., Nov. 27: Galesburg 72, Limestone 54 (Thanksgiving Tourney)

Fri., Dec. 3: Moline 77, Galesburg 59

Tue., Dec. 7 at Sterling, 7 p.m.

Fri., Dec. 10 vs. United Township, 7 p.m.

Mon., Dec. 13 at Peoria Manual, 7 p.m. 

Tue., Dec. 14 vs. Burlington, 7:30 p.m.

Fri., Dec. 17 vs. Geneseo, 7 p.m.

Sat., Dec. 18 vs. Bettendorf (Iowa), 3:15 p.m. at Iowa/Illinois Shootout,

Tue., Dec. 21 at Kewanee, 7 p.m.

Mon., Dec. 27 at Taylorville Holiday Tourney, TBD

Tue., Dec. 28 at Taylorville Holiday Tourney, TBD

Wed., Dec. 28 at Taylorville Holiday Tourney, TBD

Fri., Jan. 7 at Alleman, 7 p.m.

Tue., Jan. 11 at Rock Island, 7 p.m.

Fri., Jan. 14 vs. Quincy, 7 p.m.

Sat., Jan. 15 MLK Tourney, TBD at Thiel

Tue., Jan. 18 at Morton, 7 p.m.

Fri., Jan. 21 at Moline, 7 p.m.

Tue., Jan 25 vs. Sterling, 7 p.m.

Fri., Jan. 28 at United Township, 7 p.m.

Sat., Jan. 29 vs. Richwoods at Manual Shootout, 2:30 p.m.

Fri., Feb. 4 at Geneseo, 7 p.m.

Tue., Feb. 8 vs Rock Island, 7 p.m.

Fri., Feb. 11 vs Alleman, 7 p.m.

Tue., Feb. 15 at Quincy, 7 p.m. 

Matthew Wheaton can be reached at (309) 315-6073 or at mwheaton@register-mail.com. Follow him on Twitter @matthewlwheaton