Kahoks take fifth at PFHC
By Mark Jurgena
Collinsville vs. Lincoln.
This game was just oozing with history.
The coaches had a combined 1,624 wins between them and the programs are listed as the second and ninth-winningest in IHSA history with 4,085 wins between them.
On Dec. 30 at venerable Vergil Fletcher Gym, it was Collinsville with another victory as they held on for a 44-38 win to go 3-1 at the PFHC, took fifth place in the tourney and improved their record to 11-5 on the year.
Lincoln fell to 12-3.
“Obviously it’s two great programs and there is a lot of interest in the game and the fans,” said CHS coach Darin Lee who quickly shifted the topic to the game itself. “They play a defense we don’t see very much anymore, that 1-2-2. It makes it tough on us because we don’t have a lot of time to prepare. They run a lot of set plays, you just don’t have a lot of time to prepare for the game and that makes it tough.
“The kids did a nice job preparing. We had an hour of preparation in the morning before the game.”
After a feeling-out process for the first 12 minutes of action, it was the Kahoks who went on a big 21-3 run across the halftime break to push their lead to 11 points with 32 seconds remaining in the third quarter.
“That was incredible,” said Lee. “I thought the kids did a great job. It’s not an easy defense to crack. We handled the pressure and got quality shots. Defensively, I think what’s important was that we were not going to give them easy baskets and layups. They thrive on you extending and making mistakes, they get a back cut or a layup; we made them shoot it with a hand in their face and they just weren’t able to make their threes.”
The run ended with a hustle play as Zach Chambers – who had a whale of a tournament – got down the floor to pick off the offensive rebound off a missed layup. His putback increased the Kahok lead to 32-21.
“He went 22-for-28 (shooting) for the tournament,” Lee said. “He shot free throws well and guarded their best player (Payton Cook of Lincoln). This tournament he really played well.”
In total five Kahoks put the ball through the hoop during the spree with Jake Wilkinson and Adam Rimar collecting six points each. Chambers had four while Jamoire Wysinger had three and Nick Horras went coast-to-coast after gathering an offensive rebound.
Just because the Railers needed a dozen points didn’t mean they were done, just as you would expect with such a pedigree.
They trimmed the lead to six on a free throw by Payton Cook and eventually down to five with 7.7 seconds to play but the Kahoks held on thanks to free throws from Wysinger and Horras.
Chambers and Wysinger led CHS in scoring with 11 points each while Wilkinson finished with ten.
Horras had 12 rebounds and six assists while Chambers had seven.
CHS 63 Collierville, Tenn. 47
After dropping a one-point game in the afternoon, Collinsville wasn’t going to let it happen again.
Four Kahoks were in double figures which helped push Collinsville to a big lead late in the third quarter and cruise their way into the 5th place game by beating Collierville 63-47.
“You can go either way on that,” said Lee about his team’s response to the disappointing afternoon loss. “The kids did come ready, we didn’t play well against Rockford East, especially in the first half. We came out and played well against Collierville and we shot it well which was important.”
After spotting the Dragons a 4-0 advantage, the Kahoks went on a 19-6 spree to end the opening quarter and pushed their run to 26-7 early in the second quarter when Jake Wilkinson came up with a steal and got it to Nick Horras for a runout layup to take a commanding 26-11 lead.
Wilkinson had 10 points during the run while Zach Chambers had eight. Wysinger had six and Horras had two.
The Dragons had cut the CHS lead to ten at the half but once again Collinsville turned it up out of the locker room.
Collinsville racked up a 23-5 run to start the 2nd half and put themselves up by 28 points at 55-27 on another Horras layup with 1:15 to play in the stanza.
Four Kahoks scored during the deciding run with Jamorie Wysinger dropping in ten, Horras seven, Chambers had four, and Wilkinson had the other bucket.
“The one guy, (TJ McNeal) was really hurting us and we went into a box-in-one just to slow him down, he had most of their points,” said Lee. “They came out in a zone against us and we hit two big threes – Jake and Jamorie – bang, bang and that was six quick points.”
Wilkinson had 19 points while Wysinger had 16. Chambers had a solid day in both games (see Rockford East game in this article) and put in 14 in the nightcap and Horras had 12 markers.
It was a solid team effort as Collinsville recorded 16 assists. Horras had four while Wysinger and Wilkinson had three each. KJ Thorps-Watt had two and Adam Rimar, Chase Reynolds, Matt Shelton, and Stanley Carnahan had one apiece.
Chambers led CHS with nine boards and Wysinger led in steals with two.
Rockford (East) 50 Collinsville 49
Remarkably, Collinsville had one last opportunity at the win.
Nick Horras’ desperation three at the buzzer hit the glass, and the rim, and then fell toward the floor giving Rockford (East) a 50-49 win and a berth in the PFHC semifinals on Dec. 29.
It was miraculous they even had the opportunity.
Zach Chambers – who had been a difference-maker all game – hit a putback bucket with 1.5 seconds remaining to draw CHS within one point of the E-Rabs.
After a pair of Kahok timeouts, Chambers found himself guarding the inbounder JT Samuels of East. Samuels tried to get some room by running the baseline but Chambers deflected the pass and Horras came up with the loose ball then fired the last second prayer from the right wing.
It was a fitting end to a wild back-and-forth game that saw four lead changes and five ties in the final quarter alone.
It also was fitting that Chambers had a part in getting the ball back for CHS at the end.
During the game, Collinsville had scorned their traditional man-to-man defense in favor of the same 2-3 zone that led to their upset win over East St. Louis earlier this month and Chambers was the rim protector in the middle of the lane for both occasions.
Chambers altered the E-Rabs attack in every way. He blocked four shots, directly altered five more and affected an untold amount as the E-Rabs came up with a variety of twisting, winding, fadeaway shots in the paint trying to score.
Chambers also led all scorers with 18 points on 7-of-9 shooting. He went 4-for-4 from the free throw line and grabbed seven rebounds.
The only problem with Collinsville’s zone was their inability to rebound especially offensively. East outrebounded CHS 40-26 for the game including 20-8 on the offensive glass. Four of the East buckets were putbacks off of missed shots.
The Kahoks led at the half 22-21 thanks to a late 4-0 spree on two free throws by Wilkinson and a bucket by Horras and led 36-34 after three quarters but couldn’t quite keep the lead.
Wilkinson had 15 points on the afternoon while Wysinger had ten to go along with two steals.
Horras filled up the stat sheet with a team leading eight rebounds, four assists, and two steals.
CHS 71 Oakville, Mo. 41
The Kahoks and Oakville were locked in a battle for the first quarter.
Then they weren’t.
Collinsville slowly turned up the heat to a raging inferno in the third quarter as they buried the Tigers in their opening game of the PFHC on Dec. 28.
“In the third quarter I thought we played a little better,” said Lee. We shot it well, got some stops and our pressure bothered them. We’ve got to get some run outs every once in a while.”
The win propelled the Kahoks into the winners bracket of the PFHC.
Collinsville was on fire in the third going 10-for-12 from the floor – including 3-for-3 from behind the arc – forced turnovers and contested the shots Oakville did get up.
“Coach Lee was just saying we need to play better defense, we’re not pressuring as much,” said Kahok Nick Horras about the halftime locker room discussion. “Get up, turn them and we did that in the second half. It worked out for us because they couldn’t really handle the ball as well.”
Oakville committed five turnovers in the period and only managed to go 3-for-12 from the field during that time.
Horras got the second half started with a steal on Oakville’s first possession and flipped it ahead to Jamorie Wysinger for the first of many runout baskets by CHS. He returned with a big rebound and got it out to Jake Wilkinson -who had a game high 22 points on the night – for a layup. Finally, Wysinger came up with a deflection and Adam Rimar secured the steal. From there, Rimar fired a long bounce pass ahead to Wysinger for another runout, forcing an Oakville time out with CHS up 37-24 at the 6:10 mark of the third.
Oakville got a quick bucket then Collinsville went on a 13-0 run to force another time out. This one with 2:44 left in the quarter and the Kahoks up 50-26.
Wysinger and Wilkinson both hit threes while Chambers came up with a conventional three-point play during the run.
Collinsville finished the quarter up 55-30.
Horras hit his final bucket of the night with 5:45 remaining to invoke the running clock by making it a 64-34 game.
CHS had jumped out to a 13-6 lead on the strength of seven points from Wilkinson. But Oakville cut it to three at the end of the first. Collinsville led by 11 in the second quarter only to see Oakville cut it to four with under a minute to play before Wysinger buried his first three of the contest with 41 seconds to go to put the Kahoks up 31-24 at the half.
Wilkinson’s 22 points were accomplished via 9-of-12 shooting including making 4-of-5 from distance. Wysinger had 17 markers to go with his five rebounds, five assists, and four steals.
Chambers had 11 points and a team-high eight rebounds while Horras had ten points and a team-high six assists.
This was the first game in Collinsville Kahok history to be played with a shot clock. While the clock seemed to matter little and was often forgotten about, there were two violations, one by each team.
CHS was able to force Oakville into a violation at the 3:16 mark of the second quarter up 24-17. As time was winding down Kahok Chase Reynolds stayed square on his man attempting to dribble into the lane from the top of the key. That sent Kahok fans into a cheer as the 35-second clock went off shortly thereafter.
The second violation was committed by the Kahoks at the 4:11 mark of the third quarter up 43-26. With the clock winding down Jamorie Wysinger tried to get off a shot at the rim but couldn’t, CHS made a couple more passes and just before Nick Horras released a three from the left wing the clock expired.