By Mark Jurgena
It was everything we expected and probably more.
In the end, it just didn’t go Collinsville’s way.
As the seconds ticked away, Quincy sophomore Ralph Wires desperately raced for the basket. He evaded a pair of Kahok defenders to hit a layup at the buzzer and beat Collinsville 34-32 in the semifinals of the Collinsville Class 4A Sectional on March 1st.
“Obviously we guarded them extremely well,” said coach Darin Lee. “Then it went down to the wire and things just didn’t go our way. Kind of like things did go our way against Belleville East (in the regional championship).”
Wires’ desperation was the result of some confusion on the part of the Blue Devils. With 21.8 seconds to play and Quincy holding for the last shot, they called a time out. During that time out, Lee switched defenses on QHS.
“So we went box-in-one like we did against Belleville East,” said Lee. “We had a man on (Jeremiah) Talton, their best player. We had them where we wanted them, they were a little confused, then the kid slithered through a couple of our guys…they got one at the buzzer.”
It was the third time during the game that Quincy hit a buzzer-beater. All told they scored seven of their 34 points on makes at the buzzer. That’s 20.5% of their points!
“The first one was a killer…the first two…all of them actually,” said Lee as he recalled the shots. “Seven buzzer points when they only had 34. Our defense, the second half of the season, was just extraordinary. I can’t say enough about it, they had trouble finding the basket. They threw a few in at the end of a quarter.
“Three buzzer…Three! I don’t know if I’ve ever had that in my career, Three buzzer-beaters and they needed them all to win the game.”
The game was low-scoring and tight throughout. Neither team could gain more than a four-point advantage at any point during the contest. In fact, Collinsville went on a relatively large 6-1 run from late in the third quarter through the early part of the fourth quarter.
CHS held the Devils without a field goal for four and a half minutes during that span and took a 32-28 advantage.
But QHS hit two shots in 30 seconds to even the score with 3:19 to play.
From there, Collinsville worked through their offense looking for a good shot. They found one with 1:04 to play.
“It rimmed in and out, it just didn’t go down,” said Lee. “It was within an inch or two. It was just a little short. If it goes down it’s a different ballgame.”
Collinsville got a huge offensive game from DeAnte Franklin. The senior guard went 5-for-9 from the field including 4-for-8 from beyond the arc. He tallied a game-high 14 points on the evening.
Three times his treys either tied the game or gave the Kahoks the lead. The other brought Collinsville within one point of the Devils at 25-24 with 3:03 to go in the third.
Despite the low point totals, both teams shot the ball well. Collinsville hit 12-of-30 shots for a 40% clip. The Kahoks also went 6-for-13 for 46.2% from beyond the arc.
Quincy was below 40% until the final layup. They finished 14-for-33 or 42.4% from the floor. QHS went 3-for-14 for 21.4%.
Devin Davis added nine points for CHS while Tray Swygeart, Nick Horras, and Jake Wilkinson all had three points.
Swygeart and Davis both had five rebounds. Davis and Wilkinson each had three assists.
Kahok Notes: Collinsville finished the 2021-22 campaign with a 26-6 record. They placed second in the SWC with a 9-2 record. Collinsville won the Chick-fil-A Classic at Belleville East, took second at the Rock Island tourney, and third at the Prairie Farms Holiday Classic in Collinsville.
-The loss to Quincy snapped an 18-game winning streak for the Kahoks. Prior to the sectional semifinal, the last CHS loss was on December 28th. That was a 50-49 loss to O’Fallon in the semifinals of the PFHC.
-That Kahok defense really was spectacular this season. There were 17 games where CHS held their opponents to 40 points or under. In fact, in six of their final seven games, they held opponents under 33 points. Belleville East tossed in 60 against the Kahoks during the dramatic 62-60 CHS win in the Granite City Regional final. But that game did go into overtime.