ST. CHARLES, Mo. – The St. Louis RiverSharks knocked off the Windy City Groove 107-94 Thursday night behind 33 points from guard Jerrold Brooks. The RiverSharks, who moved to 6-2 on the season, got all but nine of their points from just four players. The Groove (2-7) dropped their second game in as many nights.
Brooks, playing in just his second game with St. Louis, turned in one of the most impressive performances of the year. The Southern Miss product shot 57 percent from the field, including 6-of-8 from 3-point range. As a team, St. Louis shot 11-of-18 (61 percent) from distance against the Groove.
Starters Terry Leake, Keith Dewitt, and Brandon Hogg did practically all of the rest of the scoring work, as the trio put up 65 points between them. Dewitt grabbed 12 rebounds to go with his 21 points on the way to his fourth double-double of the season. Hogg continued his perfect streak of double-digit point totals with 21 points and turned in a season high 7 assists. Leake’s 23 made it the fourth time he cracked the 20-point barrier this season but first time in over a month.
The RiverSharks were coming off a two-week hiatus going into Thursday’s matchup, but there did not appear to be any rust. After a fast-paced, run-and-gun first quarter, St. Louis came away with a 32-18 advantage, and Leake had already made it into double figures.
In the second quarter, the RiverSharks continued to extend the lead, running it up to as high as 26 points. At the half, St. Louis led 61-44, had four players in double figures, and was shooting 57 percent from the field.
The Groove tightened things up in the third quarter thanks in part to the RiverSharks’ second worst offensive quarter of the season. Windy City got as close as three points, but DeWitt and Brooks answered the call. Of the 14 points St. Louis scored in the third period, DeWitt had 8 and Brooks had the other 6.
However, in the fourth the St. Louis offense returned to form and they took the 75-69 lead entering the quarter and turned it into 14-point edge. The Groove’s final gasp came in the form of Nate Fuqua dropping in back-to-back 3-pointers for 6 of his team-high 25, but Brooks answered with a three of his own and an acrobatic up-and-under layup as part of his 15-point quarter to put the game out of reach.
The RiverSharks are in action again Sunday, Feb. 22, as part of another doubleheader at the Family Arena. The ‘Sharks will take on the Champaign Swarm (7-2) at 4 p.m. in the second game of the day. In their only previous meeting the Swarm handed St. Louis their first loss of the season 113-100 in Champaign.
(Photo Credit: Mick Lite Photography)
Follow me on Twitter, @TimJKaiser