By Mark Jurgena
Great defense prevents baskets and changes momentum.
Collinsville had several outstanding defensive plays to either begin big runs or prevent Alton from gaining momentum and secured a 61-40 road win to begin the 2021 season.
“I think we can guard, we’ve got some length,” began Collinsville coach Darin Lee. “It’s a group that always plays hard. It’s been a characteristic of these kids. That’s something that’s a plus for us. I thought we did great defensively.”
After trading baskets with Alton and falling behind 9-8, Josh Chambers came up with a big block which began a 14-4 Kahok run over the next seven minutes to take a ten-point lead.
After a blocked shot by Nate Hall, Chambers began the run with a putback bucket. He followed that with another block from the help side.
Tray Swygeart continued the run with a steal and a reverse layup for CHS.
After Devin Davis hit two free throws, he came up with a steal that was eventually converted for a bucket by Kyle Moore off an assist by Nick Graf.
CHS led 16-11 after one.
To begin the 2nd quarter, Swygeart hit two free throws and Matt Clark contributed another field goal.
After another Chambers blocked shot, Hall drilled a three to complete the run.
For the game, Chambers and Hall had three blocks each.
The Kahoks finished the half with a 9-0 run that included four points from Swygeart and two from Dayton Horras. Hall finished the half with a three at the buzzer off an assist by a stumbling, falling Swygeart. CHS led by 14 at the break.
The defensive theme for the Kahoks continued in the 2nd half, with Collinsville’s 3rd quarter effort highlighted by Horras when he hustled back and took a charge on a layup attempt.
“That’s something with the non-contact we really haven’t had a chance to practice,” Lee said. “In our conference taking charges is very important.”
Chambers took a charge to begin the 4th quarter and spark an 8-0 run by Swygeart.
“Tray Swygeart had a nice game finishing around the basket,” said Lee.
Swygeart finished the game with 20 points and eight rebounds. Hall added 15 with three rebounds and four assists.
Overall, nine Kahoks scored in the contest while seven contributed at least one assist.
“It’s a short season, I’ve got a large rotation so they’re just going to have to be very unselfish. Our goals have to be team-oriented. We just have to take good shots and that’s what we did.”
Collinsville finished the game at 51.1% from the floor and 11-12 from the free throw line. CHS went 4-10 from three. Meanwhile, Alton was held to 31.1% shooting from the field.
The Kahoks hosted Belleville West Tuesday night however, results were unavailable at press time.
They host East St. Louis tonight and travel to O’Fallon for a Saturday afternoon contest. They host Metro East Lutheran Monday afternoon and play at Madison on Tuesday.
Kahok Notes: How long had it been since the Kahoks suited up for a game? Well, a quick Google search tells us 333 days elapsed between the sectional semifinal 62-38 win over O’Fallon and Saturday’s opener at Alton…
The first basket of the 2021 campaign was scored by Caleb Ballinger. He hit a three from the right wing with 6:54 to play in the 1st quarter to give CHS a 3-0 lead.
-In underclass action, the JV Kahoks beat Alton 74-31, while the Frosh-Soph team won 63-60 over the Redbirds..