By Mark Jurgena
Collinsville ended its regular season with 16 straight wins and finished with a 24-5 record overall. They were 9-2 in Southwestern Conference action which put them in second place behind East St. Louis.
They opened up regional play last night at Granite City against Belleville (West). If CHS won they play again tomorrow night in Alton against the winner of the Granite City/Belleville (East) semifinal game. That contest is scheduled to begin at 7:00 p.m.
Collinsville 38 Alton 19
Well…that was a low-scoring game.
That’s the overwhelming feeling after the February 18th regular-season finale for the Kahoks.
The Redbirds were able to keep the score down on their home floor by being patient on offense and making sure players got back on defense. Their plan inhibited Collinsville’s ability to run the break.
“That happens,” said CHS coach Darin Lee. “I told the kids that teams get better by getting back as the season goes along. They’re not going to give you…say like we did the first time where we beat them with some runouts. We didn’t get that in this game. They didn’t give many runout layups.”
For the game, Collinsville shot 36% on 14-for-39 shooting. The Kahoks went 1-for-10 from three and hit 9-of-15 free throws.
However, as much as Alton slowed down Collinsville, the Kahok defense forced all kinds of issues for the Redbird offense.
Alton could only muster 19 total points on 8-for-20 shooting. That’s 20%. The Redbirds went 1-for 12 from three and 2-for-5 from the line.
“We just guarded at a high level, they had nowhere to go for a basket,” said Lee. “That’s awful good. Other than the one where we lost the guy in the first quarter on an inbounds play, they couldn’t find anywhere to go for a basket.”
Lee pointed out that Alton’s Adrian Elliott, Jr., who had scored 20 points against the Kahoks in Fletcher Gym on Jan. 11, was limited to two points thanks to the defensive play of Devin Davis. Collinsville led 7-2 after one quarter and 15-7 at the half.
The Kahoks pulled away from the Redbirds with a late 8-0 run in the third.
Davis hit a pair of layups to give CHS a 21-12 lead with 2:57 to play in the quarter. Then Matt Clark hit a layup and Jake Wilkinson hit a pair of free throws to give CHS a 25-12 lead.
Alton would hit a bucket at the buzzer to make it a 25-14 game after three.
The Redbirds again hit a bucket to cut the CHS lead to nine, but AHS picked up a technical foul giving the Kahoks two free throws and the ball.
From there, Collinsville ended the game on a 13-3 run to seal the victory.
For Collinsville, Davis had a game-high 13 points while Tray Swygeart had eight.
Swygeart also led CHS with 11 rebounds and two steals.
Collinsville 41 Edwardsville 29
On January 21st, Collinsville beat Belleville Althoff 68-61 in the semifinals of the Chick-fil-A Classic at Belleville East.
That was the last time another team scored at least 50 points in regulation against the Kahoks.
Their February 15th game was no different as Collinsville held Edwardsville to 29 points to record another SWC win at Fletcher Gym. It was the third game in a row a Kahok opponent failed to score as many as 34 points.
“I thought our defense the last three games…well all year…we’ve given up 33, 26, and 29 we’re just not giving up much,” said CHS coach Darin Lee. “Teams are having a tough time scoring on us.”
The Kahoks held EHS to 29% shooting from the floor. The Tigers went 12-for-32 overall and 3-for-14 from three. Edwardsville went 2-for-7 from the line as well.
By contrast, Swygeart and Nick Horras combined to make 13 of 17 shots and score 29 points themselves.
Swygeart hit seven shots including a three and made two free throws to finish with 17 points. He added six rebounds.
“Tray Swygeart has really played well the last two games,” said Lee referring also to the double-double he had at Springfield.
N. Horras hit six field goals, grabbed five rebounds, and had three assists. He had a tremendous fourth quarter with a pair of coast-to-coast layups off his own defensive rebounds, a great look to find Swygeart for a layup, and a huge blocked shot on an attempted layup by EHS.
“I thought he played well,” said Lee.
Collinsville began the game with a 6-0 run on layups by Swygeart, Davis, and Wilkinson.
After Edwardsville hit a three to break the string, CHS went on a 7-0 spree. While they got four points from N. Horras in that time, the highlight was a dunk by the Kahoks that forced a Tiger timeout.
With Collinsville in a half-court trapping defense, EHS tried a cross-court pass. It was deflected by Swygeart and stolen by N. Horras who got it back to Swygeart for the flush.
A Wilkinson putback bucket gave CHS a 15-7 lead after one.
EHS turned the tables in the second to cut the lead to 17-14 before CHS had a late first-half run.
Swygeart scored eight in a row including a three from the top of the key and a conventional three-point play. CHS led 25-14 at the half.
Collinsville maintained its distance from EHS and led 33-23 after three.
But the Tigers cut the lead to seven with 7:39 to play but Swygeart and N. Horras combined for eight points to seal the win for the Kahoks.
“I thought we played pretty well,” said Lee. “I thought Edwardsville, they’re playing better. They were very patient so it wasn’t like we were going to get away from them and make it a large margin. So I thought a 12-point victory was pretty good.”
Kahok Notes: On February 17th, CHS was supposed to host East St. Louis in a make-up game but was postponed due to wintry weather. The game was also postponed due to wintry weather conditions back on February 4th. The game was ultimately canceled.
When the CHS defense gave up only 19 points to Alton it was the fewest surrendered since November 26, 2014 at the Pyramid Plus Tourney in Marion. In that game, CHS beat St. Louis (Sumner) 80-19. The Kahoks also gave up only 19 points against Granite City on January 4, 2011 during a 92-19 win at Fletcher Gym. Those scores are courtesy of ballpress.com.
Speaking of high scores, the Collinsville JV squad beat Alton 97-36 to conclude their season at 14-5.