By Mark Jurgena
The Collinsville boys basketball team had a perfect 3-0 week to raise their season record to 6-3 overall and 2-2 in the Southwestern Conference.
Collinsville 52 Metro East Lutheran 33
Timing is everything.
Finding themselves in a struggle against the Knights, Collinsville switched tactics and it paid huge dividends.
At the start of the second and third quarters, CHS went with a full court press and forced seven backcourt turnovers that led to easy buckets and rattled the confidence of the Metro East guards. The result was a big Kahok win at Fletcher Gym on December 18th.
Metro East had used a 9-3 first quarter run to take a 13-8 lead at the break, then the Kahoks turned up the pressure.
Dayton Horras got it going with a deflection in the half court to begin the quarter and it turned into a mad scramble in the backcourt. Metro regained possession but it was a precursor of things to come.
From there, it took Collinsville only one minute and thirteen seconds to force four turnovers and go from down five on the scoreboard to up four.
DeAnte Franklin came up with a steal and got it to Tray Swygeart who was fouled on his fast break layup attempt. He hit his free throws to make it 13-10…then the press kicked in.
First, Swygeart came up with another steal and converted it into a conventional three-point play at the 6:45 mark. Franklin then stole the inbounds pass took two dribbles and made his own layup to give the Kahoks the lead for good at 15-13.
At the 6:36 mark, Swygeart and Matt Clark trapped the inbounds pass and Metro dribbled it out of bounds for yet another turnover. CHS couldn’t convert this one but forced a turnover on the other end to get the ball back. Devin Davis then hit a layup to make it 17-13.
The press was called off but Collinsville hit another bucket to finish an 11-0 run to make it 19-13 at the mask time out.
The Kahoks finished up the quarter on a 9-3 run by burying three shots from beyond the arc. Davis hit two and Jake Wilkinson nailed the other at the buzzer to give CHS a 28-18 halftime advantage.
In that quarter, the Kahoks went 7-for-14 from the field including 3-for-4 from three. They limited Metro to 1-of-10 shooting and forced five turnovers.
The press showed up again in the third after Clark hit a putback layup off his own miss at the 5:43 mark to make it 30-18. Davis then came up with a steal and got it to Swygeart for a layup and a 15 point Kahok lead a mere ten seconds later.
The Kahoks remained relentless on defense as Nick Horras stole the next inbounds pass and got it to Swygeart who was fouled. He sank both free throws at the 5:24 mark and for good measure came up with a steal and a layup with 5:14 to play in the third to give the Kahoks an 18 point advantage.
CHS would go on to outscore the Knights 16-15 the rest of the game for the non-conference win.
Swygeart had 20 points and nine rebounds and went 10-for-11 at the free throw line. He also contributed four steals and two assists. D. Horras led with three assists, while Franklin topped CHS with four steals.
Both teams shot 37% from the floor with CHS making four threes and Metro hitting one. Collinsville went 16-for-18 from the free throw line while the Knights were 6-of-9.
Collinsville 70 O’Fallon 61
It’s Collinsville vs. O’Fallon at Fletcher Gym, what else would you expect?
In 2019 Cawhan Smith buried a three with 2.8 seconds left to give the Kahoks a 53-50 win. Earlier in 2021, O’Fallon’s Jaylen Smith made the second of two free throws with 2.6 seconds remaining in overtime to beat Collinsville 48-47.
On December 17th, late free throws and a dagger by Nick Horras with 5:45 to play proved to be the difference as the Kahoks upset the 11th ranked Class 4A team in Illinois 70-61.
Collinsville had increased their lead to 11 points with 1:54 to play in the third courtesy of a 9-2 run, but O’Fallon turned it on and in four minutes had put together a shocking 15-2 run to take the lead from the Kahoks at 51-48.
However, on the next possession, Swygeart found an open N. Horras in the right corner. The sophomore buried a three to tie the game and spark Collinsville to a 22-10 run to finish the game.
N. Horras buried another three later in the quarter and added another bucket while Swygeart hit two acrobatic layups. The rest of the run came from the free throw line.
CHS went 10-for-12 from the charity stripe during that time while the Panthers went 3-for-8.
In the final 42 seconds, the Kahoks went 7-for-8 from the line.
With the Kahoks clinging to a 63-60 lead and 42.1 seconds to play Swygeart hit a pair of free throws. After O’Fallon’s leading scorer Caleb Burton, who had 24 points, made 1-of-2 free throws, Swygeart was fouled again. With 32.2 seconds left he drained two more free throws to increase the lead to six points.
Finally, N. Horras nailed two free throws with 24.6 to play and Swygeart hit one with 14.3 to play.
Collinsville finished the game 19-for-28 from the line, while the Panthers went 12-for-28 on their free tosses.
Swygeart finished with 20 points, eight rebounds, and three assists. Davis and N. Horras had 17 points and six rebounds each. Jake Wilkinson also had three assists.
Collinsville 52 Granite City 43
Hustle plays win games.
Collinsville used several in their nine-point win at Granite City on December 14th, but two came when the Kahoks needed them the most.
Granite had cut Collinsville’s 13 point third quarter lead down to two late in the fourth courtesy of a steal and layup by Mark Yarborough at the 2:54 mark of the quarter.
After a CHS timeout, Yarborough was again headed in the opposite direction for another layup off a steal when Wilkinson hustled back and rejected his layup attempt.
On the inbounds, Marc’kell Longstreet was headed for a layup when he lost the handle on the ball thanks to Wilkinson.
Finally, on the other end, Clark found a cutting Wilkinson down the lane for a layup to give CHS a 49-43 lead with 1:59 to play. CHS would close out the game going 3-for-4 from the line courtesy of Clark and Davis.
“He had a big game for us,” said Lee about Wilkinson. “He’s been playing well in the JV games so we’re going to give him some time and he’s been able to give us a little offensive punch.”
Earlier in the quarter with Granite on a 9-0 run and the Kahoks clinging to a 40-36 lead, Mario Brown came down the lane and hit a layup. He was fouled on the shot, made the bucket and for all the world it looked like they were headed for a conventional three point play.
But the outside official waved off the basket and signaled a charge on Brown.
Collinsville’s Swygeart had slipped into the middle of the lane and established position as the defender. Brown ran him over on his way to the bucket and the delayed whistle kept the Kahok advantage at four.
While Collinsville had to hang on to their lead late, they spent much of the first half trying to get the lead and used a 19-7 run in the third to gain a solid cushion.
The scoring spree actually began on the Kahoks last possession of the first half when Davis hit a layup and was fouled. He hit the free throw with 6.4 seconds remaining to give CHS the lead they would never relinquish.
“That was big, just to get us a little momentum going into halftime, it got us the lead,” said Lee. “Devin got us the lead and we were able to extend on that in the third quarter.”
During their huge third quarter, the purple and white went 8-for-15 from the floor with all eight shots coming courtesy of layups. But the run wasn’t all about layups, the momentum was seized on the defensive side of the ball.
To begin the second quarter Lee decided to stem the tide of the Granite defense, which had caused five first quarter turnovers on the Kahoks, with a trapping 1-2-2 half court zone defense. The pressure flustered the Warriors into four turnovers and forced them into a pair of timeouts to solve the defense of CHS.
In the third, CHS forced three more Warrior turnovers that helped fuel the big Kahok run.
Davis shot 60% from the floor for the game and went 7-for-9 from the line to amass 19 points on the evening while Wilkinson had 13.
Clark and Dayton Horras had seven rebounds each while Swygeart had six. Adam Rimar had four blocks.