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By Mark Jurgena
If you’re looking for one basketball game to attend it should always be O’Fallon at Collinsville.
For the fifth time in a row in Fletcher Gym, the game came down to the last minute of play.
This time, Kahok Zach Chambers came up with a huge blocked shot while Collinsville went 8 for 8 from the free throw line in the final 36 seconds – and 15 for 16 for the game – to beat O’Fallon 58-51 in a huge SWC matchup on Feb. 7 at Fletcher Gym.
“Zach will block shots in there, no doubt,” said CHS coach Darin Lee. “He can alter shots in the paint. (Rini) Harris had really bothered us all game he played well, but Zach really had a big block late.”
Harris – who had 22 points and nine rebounds – was a big reason the latest game at Fletcher saw a 22-22 tie at the half and a 40-40 score after three.
The Kahoks led by as many as six points in the quarter, but with 90 seconds to play, were only up 48-46 when Jake Wilkinson hit a big layup to put CHS up four.
Both teams came up with stops on defense before Harris cut the lead to two with a putback bucket at the 38.6-second mark.
After a Panther time out, the parade to the foul line began and CHS was up to the challenge.
Jamorie Wysinger buried two for a four-point lead before Chambers rotated over on the help side and made his key block as he swatted away another layup attempt from Harris.
From there Jake Wilkinson hit four free throws while Nick Horras hit two as the Kahoks took the victory.
Collinsville had opened up a 48-42 lead with 2:27 to go thanks to a pair of free throws by Jake Wilkinson, a bucket by Adam Rimar, and another free throw by Chambers.
But O’Fallon fought back with buckets by Harris and Jalen Smith to make it 48-46 with 1:38 to go.
Sixteen seconds later Wilkinson got the lead back to four on a layup to set up the clutch free throw shooting by the Kahoks.
O’Fallon was 20-7 after last weekend and in first place in the SWC with an 8-3 mark. The Panthers beat Collinsville at home earlier in the season 53-50.
Chambers continued to have a solid season putting up a double-double in this game with 10 points and 12 rebounds.
Wilkinson had a game-high 22 points to lead CHS while Wysinger dropped 10 points.
Rimar had a quality game with nine points and 10 boards while Horras also scored nine and picked up six assists.
Since Cawhan Smith’s game-winning three on Dec. 6, 2019, the Kahoks and Panthers have battled to the end of each game in this rivalry. CHS owns a 3-2 mark during this time.
St. Louis (Miller Career Academy) 57 Collinsville 56 (OT)
Try as they might, Collinsville just couldn’t put Miller Career Academy away.
Then in overtime, the Phoenix defense put Collinsville away.
Miller’s defense came up with three straight steals in the final 35 seconds – and forced nine CHS turnovers in the final 12 minutes – to beat the Kahoks 57-56 Saturday night at Fletcher Gym.
“They’re good, we knew that,” said Lee. “We just had a 10-point lead in the fourth quarter and let it slip away. We couldn’t rebound in the fourth quarter.
“We had three turnovers in a row,” said Lee. “You’re not going to win any games with three turnovers in a row, at least not in overtime.”
The OT featured three lead changes and two ties but the Kahoks never could take the lead in the extra stanza.
Collinsville forced a tie at 52-52 when Chambers escaped a double team by finding a back-cutting Wilkinson alone for a layup.
One minute later CHS forced another tie.
After Jaden Futrell-Yahwah gave MCA a 54-52 lead, Adam Rimar hit the first of his two free throws. However as the second one caromed off the rim, Chambers came up with a huge offensive rebound and was fouled. He made one of two free throws to tie the game.
Once again the Phoenix were up to the challenge as Mario Slaughter hit a bucket for a 56-54 lead with 58 seconds to play.
That’s when the MCA defense came away with three consecutive steals however they missed three of their four free throw attempts – getting only a single point by Charles Nelson – to make it 57-54 and leave the door open for the Kahoks.
After the final Phoenix miss with five seconds to play, Collinsville raced up the floor for a final attempt to send the game into another OT.
As Wysinger rose up to hit the three from the left wing he was fouled giving him three free throws. He was able to hit the final two to complete the scoring.
It was Wysinger that gave the Kahoks the opportunity to get to overtime thanks to his blocked shot of Nelson’s putback attempt with two seconds remaining.
The roles were reversed as regulation time wound down. There were three ties and two lead changes but each time CHS took the lead the Phoenix responded.
A bucket by Chambers and two free throws by Rimar gave Collinsville brief leads but MCA tied it each time.
The Phoenix held the ball for the final 45 seconds which led to the mad scramble and blocked shot by Wysinger at the end that forced the OT period.
Collinsville was 19-10 after the weekend and 6-4 in the SWC. MCA moved to 13-8.
Rimar had a double-double with 14 points and 11 rebounds. He also had two assists and two steals.
Horras filled up the stat sheet with 15 points, seven rebounds, and five assists.
Chambers also piled up the stats from his rim protector spot. He swatted away five Phoenix shots along with altering countless others. He scored nine points, had eight rebounds, two assists, and a steal.
The Kahoks played at Edwardsville Tuesday night in an SWC contest however results weren’t available at press time.
Collinsville hosts their final regular season game Friday night against Alton.
The Kahoks open their postseason on Feb. 22 against Edwardsville at the Quincy Class 4A Regional.