By Mark Jurgena
There have been tons of upsets at the Mater Dei gym. From Christmas tournament action to the postseason the Knights, and other teams, have sprung upsets on higher-ranked opposition and larger schools alike.
And through the opening 16 minutes of action in Breese, it looked like Collinsville could be the next one on the list.
Not so fast.
MD buried five threes in a row to take a 36-32 lead into halftime but the Kahoks only gave up one field goal in the 3rd quarter and outscored the Knights 21-7 to turn the game around and gain a decisive 68-60 victory on Dec. 20.
“We weathered that flurry of buckets they made,” said Collinsville coach Darin Lee. “That’s just tough to continue that and we told the kids that if we defended just a little bit better we just did not think they would and they didn’t.”
In that decisive quarter, MD could only manage a 1-for-7 shooting performance while the Kahoks were on fire going 8-for-11 including three makes from long range by leading scorer Jamorie Wysinger to take a 53-43 lead into the final stanza.
“In the 3rd quarter obviously we did a better job of guarding,” said Lee. “We didn’t give them any transition buckets and made it tough on them to score.”
While they were turning it up on the defensive end Wysinger, Jake Wilkinson, and Zach Chambers supplied the firepower offensively.
Wysinger hit his opening salvo 19 seconds into the 2nd half to cut the MD lead to 36-35. Chambers then hit a bucket down low with just over 6 minutes remaining in the period that put CHS ahead for good.
The Kahok lead eventually expanded to five with 4:12 to play on Wysinger’s final three of the third.
After MD cut it to 43-40 with a pair of free throws by Dalton Markus, CHS went on a 10-3 run to finish the quarter.
Wilkinson hit the next two buckets for CHS with the latter one coming off a 10 foot jumper from the right corner thanks to a quality bounce pass by Nick Horras to the back cutting Wilkinson.
Chambers recorded a putback bucket then it was time for Adam Rimar to seal the stanza with a pair of buckets – one from each baseline – to put CHS up ten when the buzzer sounded.
Quality free throw shooting was the only thing that kept the Knights as close as they were in the period. They went 5-for-6 from the charity stripe.
Collinsville expanded its lead to 11 points on several occasions in the 4th quarter. They even pushed it to 13 briefly but the Knights wouldn’t go away as they cut it to a six-point game after burying three more from beyond the arc in a span of 36 seconds with the final one going through the basket with only 27 ticks remaining on the clock.
However, a bucket by Chase Reynolds with 60 seconds to go and a pair of late free throws by Wysinger helped keep distance between the Kahoks and MD.
“We play at a lot of tough venues, but they’ve always been traditionally a good team at home and I thought we took their best punch in the 1st half,” said Collinsville coach Darin Lee. “Then in the 3rd quarter, we really got separation from them.”
Wysinger had 19 points for CHS including going 5-for-9 from the floor. All of those attempts were from long distance. Wilkinson had 17 points and led CHS with eight boards while Rimar had 13 points and six rebounds.
Horras and Wysinger each had four assists while Chambers came away with three blocks.
When Kahok Nick Horras buried a three with 4:16 to go in the 2nd quarter, it not only knotted the game at 21, it also began a crazy flurry of threes – many of them contested – by both squads.
In fact, the next nine baskets resulted in three points for the two teams.
Rimar returned with 54 seconds remaining to break the string and cut the lead to four. CHS turned MD over twice in the remaining time but couldn’t put up any points making the score 36-32 at the half.
“I knew there were a lot of threes made in a row,” began Lee. “I knew we matched them. Thank goodness we did or we could’ve been down ten.”
Lee’s connection to the MD gym
As was stated at the beginning of the article, MD has a history of big wins and upsets on that floor as do many other schools. Collinsville coach Darin Lee is among those from “other schools.”
Lee’s teams at Nashville won the Mater Dei Christmas Tournament six times. Those titles were won in 1993, 1996, 1997, 1998, 2006, and 2008.
There was also a regional title at MD for Lee in 1998. That game featured the state’s #3 team in Nashville against the state’s #8 ranked team in Mater Dei.
In 1994 his Hornets were beaten by their Washington Country rivals Okawville in the finals. Nashville had beaten MD in the semifinals 55-53 in OT.
Collinsville began the Prairie Farms Holiday Classic yesterday (Wednesday) against Oakville, Mo. however results were unavailable at press time. The tourney runs through tomorrow.