By Mark Jurgena
Modern basketball is usually a game of runs.
And in their season opener on Nov. 15, the Collinsville High School girls basketball team ran Cahokia right out of Fletcher Gym beating them 70-31.
CHS dominated the game including hitting 80.9% of their shots in the opening half while limiting the Comanches 35.3 %. In fact, the Kahoks made as many shots, 17-for-21, as Cahokia took, 6-for-17, during the first sixteen minutes of play.
“When we can play at a fast pace we can get a bunch of easy shots in transition,” said CHS coach Colin Moore. “Our guards can handle the ball and Talesha (Gilmore) can beat most players down the court. Then Jenna (Scheller) can occupy the high post and becomes a great passer for secondary transition shots.”
Not only can those guards handle the ball they can also shoot it in.
Junior sharpshooter Ella Guerrero hit five of seven threes while senior Megan Janson went 1-for-2 from long range.
When they weren’t scoring they were busy handing out assists. Janson recorded six on the evening while Guerrero had three. It seemed like everyone was handing out assists on the night as Collinsville piled up 18 assists for the evening.
The recipient of many of those passes was Gilmore, a sophomore. She went 7-for-9 from the field and a much improved 8-for-11 from the free throw line to lead the Kahoks with 22 points during the win. Guerrero was next with 19 markers.
Gilmore also led the team with nine rebounds including five on the offensive end.
However, it wasn’t just offense against Cahokia, the Kahoks forced 18 turnovers in the opening half and another four in the 3rd quarter before the running clock took effect in the final stanza.
CHS had nine steals on the night including two each from Gilmore, Katie Bardwell, and Emma Hrabusicky.
“We were able to play a smart man-to-man at the start then work into a little three-quarter court and half-court trap,” said Moore. “We can create some pressure up top in our zone. When we force turnovers and quick shots it allows for more opportunities to run the break. It’s nice being able to try and use different defenses. We have to adapt our defense to who we have on the court.
“Overall (I was) very pleased with the effort. Great start to the year.”
Thanksgiving week has meant the Nashville Tournament for the past few years and the Kahoks are traveling to Assembly Hall in Washington County four times this week.
They faced tough challenges Monday with Freeburg and Tuesday with Mascoutah, Collinsville returned to the court Saturday at noon against Mt. Vernon. The tourney finishes later that day with a crossover matchup.
Results from the first two games of the tourney were unavailable at press time.
FCHS returned its top two scorers from a 26-6 team last season. Mascoutah featured two-time all-state player Sophia Loden and her 22.7 points per game and 12.5 rebounds per game from last season. She has signed to play at Southern Indiana. The Screaming Eagles are transitioning to NCAA Division I status.