ST. CHARLES, Mo.— The St. Louis RiverSharks dominated the Gateway Steam to the tune of a 122-81 win Thursday night in the second installment of the Battle of St. Louis. The Sharks (5-2) relied on a balanced attack that saw six players in double figures to record their highest point total of the season and their biggest win. On the other side, the Steam continue to search for answers as the loss is their sixth straight and drops them to 1-7 on the year.
The RiverSharks’ newly-acquired guard, Jerrold Brooks, came off the bench to lead all scorers with 20 points, including going 4-of-7 from 3-point range.
In the early going, few would have predicted the offensive onslaught the Sharks would wind up unleashing. They failed to score any points for nearly the first three minutes of the contest. The Steam and Sharks were tied 7-7, but a 13-0 St. Louis run blew open the lead and the quarter ended 32-19 in favor of the Sharks.
Brooks threw in three of his four 3-pointers in the first quarter. The first two of which were so pure they barely hit the net as they went through and third he juked a Steam defender so badly he fell down and buried a step-back from distance. Wing Terry Leake dropped 10 points in the quarter to help manufacture the double-digit lead.
Forward Will Kirksay tried to get his team back into the game in the second quarter, scoring 11– of his team leading 19 points — in the period, but the RiverSharks just kept coming. Kenny McGowen made two more threes and Leake added a 9-point quarter to his stat sheet to lead the game with 19 points going into halftime — he did not score again the rest of the game.
After the intermission, the RiverSharks increased their 24-point margin to as high 45 in the third quarter, and took a 100-58 lead into the game’s final 12 minutes. Brooks posted a 9-point quarter to finish his night and forward Anthony Booker matched it to finish with 13 points and 8 rebounds by the time they both took a seat.
In the fourth, the game got much more loose and up-tempo and the fans who stuck around were treated to some athletic plays at the rim by St. Louis’ Chris Hyche and a 9-point fourth quarter performance by James Hicks to help him finish with 14. Despite the highlight reel material by that duo, the Steam actually won the quarter 23-22.
With fellow guard Brandon McGill out with an ankle injury, Gateway’s Jake Anderson picked up the slack. Anderson scored 17 points, grabbed a team-high 8 rebounds, and dished out a game-high 5 assists.
One of the few defensive bright spots for the Steam was their ability to bottle up center Keith DeWitt. In their last matchup the 6-foot-10 big man did pretty much anything he wanted with little resistance on his way to a 30-point, 11-rebound night in the first ever MPBA game. Thursday night, he was held to just 6 points on 1-of-5 shooting and 6 rebounds.
You can’t say the Steam’s losing streak is from lack of trying to improve. Gateway has signed 6 players in the last two weeks. Four of which have been forwards to try and correct their lack of size entering the season. Christopher Williams and BJ Benning are both 6-foot-7, and Kirksay is 6-foot-8, 260 pounds. Lee Fisher is a 6-6 wing-type player who has scored at least 13 points in all three games since he arrived.
The Steam look to continue to jell as a unit and right the ship on the road against the Champaign Swarm (5-1) Feb. 15. On their previous trip to Parkland College, Gateway lost 124-96.
The RiverSharks now go on a two week hiatus. Their next game is not until Feb. 19, when they will take on the Windy City Groove (1-4) at the Family Arena. This will be the first meeting between the two teams.
The Steam will play the late game that Thursday, Feb. 19, at the Family Arena against the Bloomington Flex (5-1).
(Photo Credit: Mick Lite)
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