GODFREY — A new-look Alton Redbirds projected a positive vision Tuesday night, laying a decisive 51-37 home-opening victory over the Calhoun Warriors in Alton Tournament action.
That new look included a familiar face on the bench. Former Alton coach Tammy Talbert was courtside directing the Redbirds. She was named interim coach in August for Jon Marston, who resigned in July for personal reasons. Marston had been hired in May to replace Bob Rickman, who resigned at the end of last season.
Talbert previously coached Alton from 2002 to 2008. She also has coached at Marquette Catholic and Roxana.
“They were getting tired of practicing, honestly,” Talbert said Tuesday, speaking of her latest AHS team. “It’s been a tough couple of years for them, but they’ve matured. We’ve got some leaders out there under the boards now. This is was a big win for us.”
Talbert said she her strategy Tuesday night was to run a fast first half before bringing in her power players.
That’s when, namely, Ivory Lacy made her debut, putting up 12 second half points and hauling in seven key rebounds.
“She was huge,” Talbert said. “I knew that she would be able to do it. The thing about her is, she’s really a game player. She did a great job rebounding wide this summer and scoring under the basket. She had a huge game for us. I’m sure she’s going to get a lot of playing time.”
Calhoun head coach Jerry Pruett said Alton’s physical size did largely stunt his offense.
“Tip you cap to Alton,” he said. “They played really hard and they deserved that win. We can’t duplicated that speed and that size when it comes to scrimmaging out varsity versus our junior varsity. We’re going to learn from it. We’re going to get better.”
Calhoun was led in scoring by Junie Zirkelbach with 16, followed by Emily Baulman’s 11.
The Lady Redbirds, just ahead of Lacy, was led by Cri’shonna Hickman’s 13, that included 7 in the third quarter. Lacy was also 4-5 from the foul line. Hickman went 3-4.