by Mark Jurgena
COLLINSVILLE — Everything went right for the Collinsville girls.
They grabbed a 29-5 lead after one quarter and a 47-12 lead at the half as they cruised to a 70-24 win at Granite City on Nov. 16.
The victory raised the Kahoks to 2-0 on the season heading into this week’s Nashville Tournament while it was Granite City’s opening contest.
“We have talked about taking control of games early and the girls have come out and executed perfectly,” said Collinsville coach Colin Moore. “The effort on both ends of the floor has been great. We have also been able to knock down some early threes to really get the momentum rolling in our favor. We just need to continue to be able to keep up intensity as the season rolls on.”
To say the Kahoks got off to a fast start is an understatement.
Collinsville forced Granite to take two timeouts by the 4:20 mark of the opening quarter and raced to a 28-2 lead with 1:48 to go in the opening eight minutes.
The Kahoks went 11-20 from the field including 3-for-9 from beyond the arc while limiting Granite to 2-of-14 shooting. The stifling purple and white defense forced nine turnovers in the quarter.
In the next eight minutes, the Kahoks went 7-for-14 from the floor with a pair of threes while the defense continued to steal possessions by forcing eight turnovers
Collinsville led by as many as 36 points in the second quarter and maintained a lead of more than 30 points to eventually invoke the running clock late in the contest.
Their hot start marks the third time in the last five seasons the Kahoks have begun the season with two victories.
“Being 2-0 is great,” said Moore. “It gives some of the new starters and younger players some confidence moving into a very tough Nashville tournament. We are excited for the challenge. The girls are having fun and working hard every day. The entire coaching staff is excited about this group.”
Talesha Gilmore led five Kahoks in double figures with 13 points while Ella Guerrero had 12. Katie Bardwell tossed in 11 points with Lily Carlisle and Karlie VanDyke both totaling 10 markers.
Gilmore registered her second double-double in as many starts with a 12 rebound effort while Carsyn Moad had seven boards.
Moad had five assists with VanDyke dishing out four. Gilmore led CHS with four steals.
Talesha Gilmore and Ella Guerrero did what they were supposed to.
They led by example.
In the Collinsville High School girls basketball opener, the veteran duo combined for 41 points to push the Kahoks to a 65-32 running clock victory at home against Cahokia.
Gilmore registered a double-double by pulling down 13 rebounds including nine on the offensive glass. She also had three steals and three blocks.
Guerrero buried five threes while adding two assists and two steals.
“Talesha is a one-of-a-kind athlete that just changes the game,” said Moore. “Her ability to run the floor and score in transition is her greatest asset. Ella just controls the game and at times it looks effortless. She is one of the best set shooters in our conference.”
In fact, the duo dropped in the first 16 Kahok points of the night to help stake Collinsville to an 18-6 lead after one quarter.
Collinsville shot 54 percent from the floor in the opening eight minutes while limiting the Comanches to 20 percent shooting.
That dominance by the Kahok defense carried over into the second quarter as they again held Cahokia to 20 percent shooting and took a 39-15 advantage into the break.
“Our defense did a great job when we scored on dead balls,” said Moore. “When we get set up we can cause a bit of havoc for other teams. We have the ability to play more of a full-court game this year. “We still need to improve our transition defense (but a) great first night as a team.”
In the second half, the Kahoks expanded their lead to 54-23 after three quarters to invoke a running clock. Up until that running clock, the Kahoks had forced 20 Cahokia turnovers in three periods of play.
In addition to the big numbers by Gilmore and Guerrero, several other Kahoks had solid games.
Danajah Willis had seven points for CHS.
Carsyn Moad had five rebounds and five assists while Karly VanDyke had seven boards and two steals.
Katie Bardwell had four assists.
Collinsville played in the Nashville Tournament Monday and Tuesday against Okawville and Mt. Vernon respectively however results were unavailable at press time.
The tournament concludes this weekend. On Nov. 30, the Kahoks open up SWC play at Belleville (East).