By Mark Jurgena
They almost pulled it off.
Six days after falling on a buzzer-beater to Columbia in the title contest of the Mascoutah Tip-Off Classic, Collinsville squared off with Belleville East, one of the top teams in the St. Louis Metro.
Refusing to be intimidated, the purple and white led by four going into the final stanza but could not contain the shooting of the Lancers and ended up falling 69-66.
East went 12-for-28 from distance to overtake CHS and win the SWC opener for both squads
“Belleville shot it well; they had nine threes in the second half,” said CHS coach Darin Lee. “We were in the box-in-one but you still have to make them and they did.”
That man-zone combination defense worked three times last year to frustrate East star Jordan Pickett. The SIUE commit struggled last season with patience against the box.
Nick Horras drew the assignment on Pickett this year and forced him into some deep three attempts early in the game.
However, when the opponent is burying threes like East did you have to come out of the combo defense. When CHS did, Pickett was able to score 11 points in the 4th quarter, finishing with 14.
That was well below his 21.7 points per game average entering the contest.
Darien Singleton, a transfer from Mascoutah, buried four threes, all in the 3rd quarter, to lead East with 15 points. In fact, the Lancers had five players in double figures. The other three were Antwine Wilson with 13, T’Jae Montgomery with 11 and Mason Mosley scoring ten.
For their part, the Kahoks had four of their own in double figures. Jake Wilkinson led the way with 17 points while Zach Chambers had 16. Horras and Jamorie Wysinger had ten points each.
“We played our best game offensively for sure on the year we did some things well,” said Lee.
CHS was trying to take advantage of some mismatches in height down low by getting the ball to the 6-8 Chambers and into 6-6 Adam Rimar.
“We were trying to,” said Lee. “We just wanted to pound it in there both halves. That’s what we really tried to concentrate on, especially since we had an advantage in there.”
Other statistical leaders for CHS included Rimar with 12 rebounds, Horras had six assists, KJ Thorps-Watt had two steals, and Chambers had three blocks.
Collinsville is 3-2 on the season while East moved to 5-0 after Saturday’s 56-50 win over Normal Community at the Mt. Vernon Shootout.
The Kahoks hosted Belleville West Tuesday night however results were unavailable at press time. It was the 1,000 game for Kahok coach Darin Lee. he entered the game with a record of 699-300.
West entered the contest with a 4-1 record.
Tomorrow night they host East St. Louis before going to the Edwardsville Shootout Saturday to take on Ladue, Mo. Those two clubs entered the week with a combined 7-0 record.