By Mark Jurgena
It may not have ended the way Kahok fans wanted, but they fought hard until the end.
The Collinsville girls basketball team rallied from a 10-point deficit midway through the last period but fell to Clayton, Mo. 62-59 in the third place game of the Don Maurer Invitational at MICDS.
Collinsville trailed 57-47 with just under four minutes to play when a fortunate break set the stage for a dramatic comeback.
Megan Janson once again made one of her patented moves to the basket and was fouled. She hit the free throws and was given two more thanks to a technical foul and cut it to 57-51. Collinsville got possession with a chance to cut the lead down further.
But CHS turned it over on two of the next three possessions and found themselves down 60-53 with 2:14 left.
However a 9-2 run thanks to threes by Jenna Scheller, Ella Guerrero, and a final one from Janson tied the contest with 1:02 to play.
“It was a big comeback and was nice to see some threes go in,” said CHS coach Colin Moore. “Should be some good confidence for some of the shooters moving forward.”
The Greyhounds made sure Collinsville got no closer as they went 4-for-6 from the free throw line to close out the win.
“We had a pretty good game plan against them,” said Moore. “We wanted to take away their best three point shooter and we did that. We were able to switch defenses and slow down two of their best three players but they had some role players step up.”
Collinsville held those two players, Jasmine Burks and Lauren Young to a combined 18 points, but couldn’t limit Stella Whitney who had 24 points.
For CHS Janson dropped in 24 points while Scheller had 20.
“Janson and Scheller played great,” said Moore. “Megan made the all-tournament team. Jenna was able to stay out of foul trouble and played great both inside and out.”
Clayton’s double-digit lead was a bit surprising considering the back-and-forth nature of this game. There were nine lead changes and six ties during the contest.
O’Fallon, Mo. (Ft. Zumwalt West) 41 Collinsville 22
Collinsville just couldn’t overcome the size of FZW and fell in the semifinals of the MICDS Tourney on Dec. 28.
“We just struggled scoring,” said Moore. “They came out and played what we knew they were going to do playing a 2-3 zone and they’re pretty athletic and pretty big. It was a tough matchup for us.”
The Kahoks fell behind 12-8 after one period and 21-14 at the half.
FZW outscored the Kahoks 9-3 in the third period while the teams played to an even 11-11 tie in the final stanza.
“Overall we struggled against the zone but it was a good learning experience and we had a good practice today,” Moore said the day after. “The girls responded and realized they had to work on some stuff in the zone moving and working as a group so hopefully, we can learn from it.”
FZW was moved to 7-3 after winning the MICDS tournament title 44-40 over Rockwood, Mo. (Marquette). The Jaguars were 22-6 last season as well.
Guerrero and Janson led CHS in scoring with seven points each while Gilmore led in rebounds with seven.
Collinsville 40 Kirkwood, Mo. 38
Megan Janson walked it off.
But not with a buzzer beating shot. This time she won it with a buzzer beating defensive stop.
Collinsville had given up a huge 32-9 lead with 6:10 to play in the 3rd quarter and found themselves fighting for victory on Dec. 27 clinging to a two-point lead with 10.2 seconds to play.
As Kirkwood, Mo. worked for the potential game-winning three behind the arc, Janson had seen enough. She jumped into the passing lane with 2.2 seconds left to get the steal and secure a 40-38 win for the Kahoks in the opening round of the Don Mauer Invitational in Ladue, Mo. at MICDS.
“Honesty I knew one of these games where we jump out to a lead would end up being close,” said CHS coach Colin Moore. “We have struggled to stay focused at times in some of our wins. At the beginning of the game, we just were able to go where we wanted. They came out kind of flat and we took advantage.”
Collinsville led 28-9 at the half and had limited the Pioneer shooting percentage to a mere 6.7 percent on 2-of-30 shooting in the first 16 minutes.
The Kahoks even went on a brief 4-0 run to start the 2nd half thanks to a runner by Ella Guerrero and a layup by Talesha Gilmore to push the lead to 23 points, then the wheels fell off.
CHS was outscored 29-8 over the last 14-plus minutes of the game but came up big when they had to.
“In the second half, they had a good game plan to double-team Megan,” said Moore. “Someone else needs to set up when this happens. It’s a good learning experience and a win is a win at the end of the day.”
Kirkwood cut the lead to 36-32 with 3:46 to play then the teams traded stops as neither team could score on the next eight possessions until Gilmore hit a layup off a full court pass from Janson. But it didn’t look good just prior to that.
Janson was trapped in a corner in the backcourt when the Pioneers deflected the ball. Janson came up with it and found Gilmore for the open bucket to make it 38-32 with 1:15 to play.
It was Collinsville’s first bucket since Gilmore’s layup at the 2:19 mark of the 3rd quarter.
However, Kirkwood answered with a three by their shooting ace Brooke Bendoff and the lead was down to 38-35 with 34.3 ticks remaining.
The Pioneers fouled Janson who calmly stepped to the line and buried two free throws to increase the lead to 40-35 with 32 seconds to play. Janson had not scored at all since a layup with one minute to play in the opening half. She finished with 12 points on the day.
But Kirkwood wasn’t done as Anna Newland hit a three with 12.9 on the clock to make it a 40-38 game and set up the dramatic finish.
“Megan does it all,” said Moore. “She struggled to score a bit in the second half but she was there when we needed her. That’s what great players do. They step up.”
Gilmore had another double-double with 13 points and 17 rebounds while Janson had 13 points, six assists, and three steals.