By Mark Jurgena
Another hot start to the second half gave the Collinsville boys basketball team breathing room.
And put home-standing Belleville West in a bind.
Collinsville’s three point lead at the half was bolstered by a 10-0 run to begin the second half and deadeye free throw shooting down the stretch as the Kahoks went on to a 71-60 SWC victory Friday.
The victory raised the Kahok record to 16-9 on the season and 4-4 in the SWC while the Maroons dropped to 10-12 overall and 2-6 in loop play.
“We wanted to establish (Zach) Chambers in the post,” said CHS coach Darin Lee about his halftime talk. “Make sure we get it to him. We wanted to use that to either go to him or make him draw help and then that will open some shots up for the other guys.”
Chambers responded with six points – including a conventional three point play to start the half – as the Kahok offense cycled through him.
For the evening he had a game high 21 points despite facing a slew of double teams from the help side.
“He doesn’t get it off quick and if you don’t get it off quickly you’re going to have a couple guys hanging on you,” said Lee. “I was happy – and it’s not easy – that he found guys on the perimeter too and that’s important.”
Chambers had a stellar night shooting going 9 for 9 from the floor with three free throws. He also had seven rebounds and two assists.
Two other Kahoks ended the game in double figures with Jamorie Wysinger scoring 17 and Jake Wilkinson dropping 16.
But it was the free throw shooting and some defensive effort in the fourth quarter that sealed the victory.
West cut the lead to 60-55 with just over two minutes to play and decided to make Collinsville win the game from the free throw line.
The Kahoks responded by going 9 for 9 from the line to score their final nine points and take the victory.
Nick Horras made two crucial defensive plays during that stretch to help CHS.
With just under two minutes to play and Collinsville clinging to that five-point lead, he hustled to the sideline off a missed shot and somehow got the ball to Wysinger before stepping out of bounds.
Wysinger was fouled and hit both free throws with 1:41 on the clock to increase the lead to seven.
On the next possession, Horras – who also had team-highs with eight rebounds and seven assists – deflected a ball away from the Maroons and momentarily into the hands of Chambers who immediately got it back to Horras for a layup and the conventional three point play.
“Defensively hustle plays are important,” said Lee. “Nick has been our best defender without a doubt. Getting hands on the ball, guarding and stopping his man, and so forth.”
Adam Rimar would later hit two big free throws with 54 ticks on the clock to make it a 67-57 game and Horras drained four in a row to create the final margin.
Highland 46 CHS 43
Cade Altadonna had two celebrations on Jan. 24.
Before the game, he was honored for scoring his 1,000th career point the week before.
After the game, he celebrated with his teammates as he hit the game-winning three pointer as Highland grabbed a 46-43 overtime win at home over Collinsville.
It was the third buzzer beater the Bulldogs registered on the night.
Altadonna also hit a runner at the end of the first half off a scramble created by the Kahok defense to give HHS a 24-23 lead going into the break while Jake Ottensmeier hit a shot from close range at the end of regulation to make it 41-41 and force overtime.
Ottensmeier also hit a shot with seven seconds left to close out the third quarter.
“That’s nine points at the buzzer,” said Lee. “They made them. At halftime we got our hands on the ball, we just couldn’t come up with it. In the fourth quarter, they got the bucket. We just didn’t get him picked up, we let him get too deep on us.”
While the game was tight the whole way thanks to solid defense by both teams the end of the game relied on old school execution.
With the Bulldogs up 39-35 midway through the fourth, Wilkinson buried a three to get the Kahoks within one. After a defensive stop, Horras came through with a layup and a 40-39 CHS lead.
After Ottensmeier hit a bucket and Chambers made a free throw the game was tied at
And then time stopped.
Not literally, but patient passing by both teams and even a Dean Smith-type of four corners offense occurred from the 3:09 mark to the end of the overtime.
Only three shots went up during the rest of regulation.
While the play slowed down markedly, a hustle play may have saved the game for CHS.
With one minute to play the Kahoks took an open three but the long rebound was headed out on the sideline. However, Chambers tapped it to Horras who flung it to the open floor where Rimar picked it up and kept possession for the Kahoks.
As time ran down Horras found an opening down the lane and hit the layup for a two point lead with nine seconds to play.
Highland let the clock run instead of taking a timeout and got the ball to Altadonna. He was stopped by Wilkinson but got the ball to Ottensmeier who hit a five foot runner to send the game into OT.
Both squads stalled in the overtime and both defenses came up with a stop with Highland getting the third and final possession. After consecutive Bulldog time outs and a smart foul by Kahok Matt Shelton, Altadonna was able to hit the winning basket.
Wysinger led the Kahoks with 13 points while Horras had 12. Rimar had the most boards with six, Shelton had three steals, and Chambers registered two blocked shots.
Collinsville hosted St. Louis (Lift for Life) Tuesday however results were unavailable at press time. The Kahoks will play East St. Louis tomorrow night on the former campus of Lindenwood-Belleville due to renovations at East St. Louis Senior High School.
As chronicled several times in the Times-Tribune over the past three years and change, the shot clock is a hot topic for Illinois high school basketball.
The last 7:09 of play – spanning both the fourth quarter and OT – during this contest featured six possessions, five shots, and four timeouts.
Before you jump to conclusions, both Collinsville coach Darin Lee and Highland coach Deryl Cunningham have been outspoken proponents of instituting the shot clock in several articles in this paper during that time period.