by Mark Jurgena
COLLINSVILLE — Their largest lead was their final lead.
But it wasn’t easy getting there.
Collinsville got a layup from Jamorie Wysinger at the 5:11 mark of the third to finally grab a lead over visiting Belleville East then steadily pulled away for a 51-39 win on Dec. 1.
The Kahoks moved to 5-0 overall and 1-0 in Southwestern Conference play while East dropped to 4-2 overall and 0-1 in SWC play.
“They were really blanketing Jamorie,” said Collinsville coach Darin Lee. “We couldn’t free him for a lot of good open looks. We didn’t get very many threes, we only shot four. They were really out pressuring.”
“They tried to make it hard for us to enter and make passes into the post and that was their strategy and it was a good one.”
East limited Collinsville’s up tempo style holding the Kahoks to 6-for-20 shooting in the opening half while going 7-for-19 themselves.
That defense produced a 19-all score at the half thanks to a late 7-0 CHS run.
Wysinger grabbed a pair of buckets during the spree while Chambers tossed in a layup and Nick Horras added a free throw.
CHS ended the third by forcing a pair of crucial turnovers and converted on the offensive end to spur on an 11-5 run at the end of the third and pushed their lead to 37-30.
Horras had four points during the spree including his third conventional three-point play of the evening. Wysinger buried a three from beyond the arc while Stanley Carnahan and Tyree Brister added buckets.
Brister’s was a layup off one of his six steals on the night.
“I thought we guarded hard and I think our defense is better than it was last year,” said Collinville coach Darin Lee. “That’s what we’re going to have to do guard and rebound. We made it tough on them to score.”
Collinsville finally got their lead to double digits at 44-34 with 2:47 to go in the fourth quarter on a dunk by Wysinger.
Horras once again led CHS with 16 points including hitting 8-of-11 free throws while Wysinger added 12.
Carnahan grabbed six rebounds and had four assists while Chambers also had six boards.
As difficult as the East game was, the Rochester contest was the opposite.
Collinsville jumped out to a 39-9 lead at the half as they cruised to a 67-32 running clock win at Rochester on Nov. 28.
“Wysinger and Horras are really shooting the ball well so that helps us against the zone,” said Lee. “Rochester is a young team they will be improving.”
While those two went 7-for-13 from beyond the arc the Kahoks shot 50 percent as a team on 11-for-22 shooting from distance.
Wysinger drilled five more threes while Horras and Brister each knocked down a pair. Both Evan and Jace Wilkinson had a triple as well.
While the distance shooting was on display for the Kahoks, Chambers was busy putting up a double-double in the paint with 10 points and 11 rebounds. He also protected the rim with three blocked shots.
CHS began the game on a 14-0 run followed by an 11-0 run to lead 25-2 after one before taking a 30-point lead to the locker room.
The Kahoks were on fire in the opening half shooting 17-for-24 from the field while holding the Rockets to 4-for-22 shooting.
Their lead reached 55-15 midway through the third before settling in at 61-22 after J. Wilkinson buried a three at the buzzer to end the stanza.
Wysinger had 17 points while Horras had 13 to lead the purple and white on the scoreboard.
Horras had six assists while Reynolds had four.
Brister came away with five steals.
Collinsville played at Belleville West Tuesday however results were unavailable at press time.
They travel to East St. Louis tomorrow night and host Granite City on Tuesday.