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By Mark Jurgena
With the completion of the Edwardsville Live Shootout completed, the competitive portion of the summer is over for the Collinsville Kahoks boys basketball team.
They compiled a 19-6 mark with a pair of tournament championships.
But that’s not necessarily what coach Darin Lee is focused on.
His team just finished a grueling stretch of 11 games in six days to finish their season.
“We played a lot of games this week,” said Lee. “When you do that you’re not worried about results so much even though the kids do nowadays. It used to be that they never reported the scores. Now the scores get reported so there’s a little more knowledge of what’s going on.
“It’s not always apples to apples when you play another team. Like today we played a team and it was our second game and it was their first game. One team may have played a lot recently and the other may be fresh. But that’s kind of the way it shook out schedule-wise.”
The Kahoks went 9-2 in that 11-game stretch including going undefeated for seven games at the 16-team Morris Shootout on June 20-21 and won the tournament championship game 50-48 over DeKalb.
CHS held on at the end after having an 11-point lead at the half.
They had defeated the Barons 71-69 in pool play.
Nick Horras had 18 points in the championship while Jamorie Wysinger led the purple and white with 27 points in the pool play opener.
“Winning the Morris Shootout, it’s been a shootout for 36 years,” began Lee. “They put the winners on the wall and it’s pretty neat. I think now we’ll have to go back for a while.
“We were in the hunt two years ago and got to the semifinals and this year we were able to hang on and win it.”
In this year’s semis CHS beat Aurora (Waubonsie Valley) 60-38 with Horras tossing in 26 points, Zach Chambers had 15, while Tyree Brister pulled down nine rebounds.
“We went over there for three games and played some Missouri schools,” Lee said. “It was a fun experience for the kids playing in Mizzou’s Arena.”
In the tournament opener on June 21, CHS beat Wilmette (Loyola Academy) 52-44 with Wysinger contributing 20 markers and in the quarterfinals, they beat Deerfield 52-44.
CHS also had big pool play wins over Oak Forest 67-52 and took a bite out of Sandwich 78-38. Evan Wilkinson had 20 points, while Darius Williams knocked down 14. Solomon Talbott had 10 points while Brister had 10 rebounds.
This past weekend in Edwardsville they went 2-2.
CHS knocked off Hartford, Ky. (Ohio County) and Cape Girardeau, Mo. (Central) and fell to Kings Mill, Ohio (Kings) along with Mt. Zion.
Against Ohio County, Horras had 24, Chambers 18 and Wysinger 17. Carnahan scored nine and Brister had three steals.
Chambers had 23 points and Wysinger 21 against Cape Central.
Speaking of out-of-state opponents, the Kahoks traveled to Columbia, Mo. on June 11 to face three Missouri squads.
They fell to Raytown and Columbia (Rock Bridge) in close contests and beat Nixa.
Horras had 64 points at the Mizzou event.
Collinsville’s other three events were in Illinois including earning the championship at their own tournament on June 1.
That day they knocked off Edwardsville (Metro East Lutheran), Belleville East, and finally Breese (Central) 61-51 in the championship. Wysinger had 22 and Chambers 15 in the title game.
On June 3-4, they took part in a tourney sponsored by SWIC.
They started out with a big win over Montgomery City, Mo. (Montgomery County) and followed with a loss to O’Fallon. Against the Missouri school, Carnahan registered a double-double with 16 points and 12 boards.
CHS beat Cahokia 76-48 with six Kahoks in double figures including Wysinger, Horras, Chambers, Carnahan, Wilkinson and Wiliams.
The following day they beat Mt. Vernon with Horras scoring 27 before falling to Belleville Althoff.
Their other tournament was a one-day event in Marion on June 13. They swept through Marion, Carbondale, and Mayfield, Ky. (Graves County)
Lee on Summer basketball
Lee reflected on three goals he had for the squad as they came into June.
“My first goal was to find some cohesion and chemistry offensively,” he said. “Usually it’s a man-to-man offense. We don’t run our whole playbook, we run about half of it and try to find some chemistry and cohesion there which I thought we did.”
Additionally, Lee was trying to integrate players without as much experience at the varsity level.
“Another goal is for some new kids to understand the speed of varsity basketball,” said Lee. “The competitiveness. They’ve never played varsity basketball and now they are. At every level, I don’t care what sport you’re in, it’s a new speed. They have to get used to that.”
Finally, as Kahok fans are likely anticipating, his final goal is on the other end of the floor.
“Then we’ve got man-to-man defensively just trying to get better at defense individually and team-wise.”