By Mark Jurgena, Reporter
Collinsville’s Cawhan Smith and Chicago Morgan Park’s Marcus Watson, Jr. spent a great deal of time slashing to the basket and playing pressure defense on each other last Saturday at the Scott Credit Union Edwardsville Shootout.
With time winding down in OT and the Kahoks clinging to a 67-65 lead, Watson again went to the bucket, Smith stopped the dribble . . . then it happened.
Watson, a Wake Forest recruit, kicked the ball to the right wing where Illinois recruit Adam Miller was waiting …wide open.
Miller had already drained 32 points on the evening including six threes.
His bid for a seventh three soared toward the bucket but just rimmed out and Ray’Sean Taylor came out with the ball giving CHS the win over the #1 team in Class 3A.
“Obviously it was a big win for us. It probably wasn’t as big for us as the conference games, if we had to pick a few, but it’s going to give us a boost and we can come out of it with some things to work on and get better at as the season goes along,” said CHS coach Darin Lee.
While the missed three was the lead story it was the Kahoks grit that was the game story.
“We didn’t shoot the ball very well but we went and got loose balls and we showed a lot of toughness,” Lee said.
CHS had to handle the pressure defense of the Chicago Public League powerhouse in the half court and later, their full court press.
Morgan Park ended up with 14 turnovers to 13 for CHS.
They also had to show their toughness in the paint.
The Kahoks outrebounded the Mustangs 49-27 on the night. CHS had a 27-20 advantage on the defensive glass and a whopping 22-7 margin offensively.
“We did dominate, we went and got them, we put bodies on people, we went and got offensive rebounds. KJ (Keydrian Jones) was a horse in the middle, Ray got a bunch,” said Lee.
Taylor led the way with 11 rebounds.
Jones collected nine with six offensively. Several became putback baskets.
The biggest play off a missed basket may have come from David Granger during the last second three attempt by Miller.
“He (Granger) moved over to help (on Watson) then he went back to screen out his man and that was enough because if he wouldn’t have done that, they had a guy who could’ve grabbed that and snuck it back in,” Lee commented.
The Kahoks drained several key free throws late in the game.
CHS went 8-10 late in the 4th from the line.
Of those eight makes the most important came from Granger.
With the Kahoks down one and :05.7 to play, Granger hit the back end of two free throws to tie the game.
In OT, CHS went 5-8 at the stripe including Taylor hitting the back end of two shots to provide the final margin with :15.9 remaining.
Taylor ended the game 14-16 from the line while Lorent Dzeladini was 5-6. All of his came inside the 2:30 mark of the 4th.
Taylor led CHS with 24 points, Nate Hall had 15 and Jones 14.
Collinsville 47 Edwardsville 29
Last Friday, the Kahoks used two early momentum stealing runs to subdue Edwardsville 47-29.
They began the game with a defense induced 5-0 run.
A Granger putback and free throw after a Smith steal put CHS up 3-0, Taylor followed with a steal and layup of his own to go up 5-0.
The Kahoks found themselves down 11-9 after Brennan Weller opened the 2nd quarter with a bucket, however CHS ripped off a 15-1 run the rest of the quarter to take a commanding 24-12 lead at half.
Taylor himself had a 9-0 run during that time. He went 5-5 from the line and hit two floaters from the left elbow.
Smith had two buckets just before half and Granger contributed a putback.
“I think it was fueled by defense not giving them any looks at the basket, that probably made the biggest difference. I thought the defense was really good in that 2nd quarter,” commented Lee.
The Tigers cut the lead to 24-14 when Nick Hemken hit the first shot of the 2nd half but could get no closer.
CHS shot 42% for the game but only 1-8 from three. They went 14-19 from the line, with Taylor going 10-11.
Collinsville 51 East St. Louis 36
Collinsville used solid defense and a 10-0 run late in the 1st quarter to stake themselves to 15-5 lead during a home SWC win over East St. Louis on December 10th.
The Flyers 36 point total was well below their average of 65.
Collinsville’s defense stifled the Flyers allowing them to shoot only 31.6% for the game on 12 of 38 shooting.
“Our defense is getting better, it’s been pretty good all year. The one thing is we’re battling hard we’re working hard in practice,” said Lee.
Late in the first, a 48 second barrage produced a 9-0 run.
Smith began the run with a steal and a layup. The shot was blocked but goaltending was called to make it 7-5.
Later, Jones tapped the ball away and went to the floor for the loose ball, got it to Taylor who went end to end for a layup.
He was fouled on the play but prior to the free throw East St. Louis was called for a technical foul.
Taylor made all three free throws to make it 12-5 with 3:02 left in the quarter.
CHS kept possession of the ball and Hall hit a contested 10 foot jumper to give the Kahoks a 14-5 lead with 2:38 to play in the first.
A Taylor free throw finished the run.
The Flyers went on a 3-0 run to start the 2nd quarter, but the defense stiffened and the run ended on a layup by Jones.
Collinsville led at half 25-16.
In the 3rd, CHS stretched their lead when Hall hit back-to-back threes to make it 31-18.
The Flyers could get no closer and CHS hit 7-11 free throws down the stretch to seal the win.
For the game Taylor had 22 points while Smith had nine.
CHS outrebounded the Flyers 29-23 including 21-16 defensively. Hall had seven defensive boards and Dzeladini had six.
“We only gave up seven offensive rebounds, which sounds like a lot, but not against East St. Louis, it’s hard to hold them under double digits in offensive rebounds,” said Lee.
Collinsville sat at 8-0 after the week. They were #5 in the Class 4A state poll.