By Mark Jurgena
COLLINSVILLE — The action was the same as the weather inside.
While the weather outside was snowy and windy with a temperature of 13 degrees on Jan. 13, the temperature inside Glenn Schott Gymnasium was approximately the same as the surface of the sun.
Collinsville overcame the conditions and the three Division I recruits of Kirkwood, Mo. (Vianney) by playing a complete game on both ends of the floor to beat the Griffins 71-56 at the Southern Illinois Classic hosted by Althoff Catholic in Belleville.
The win raised the Kahoks to 19-2 overall while Vianney dropped to 13-3.
“We shot it well, especially in the third quarter, we knocked some shots down,” said Collinsville coach Darin Lee. “We tag team guarded (Luke) Walsh who was averaging 25 (points) per game. We did a good job of defending him.”
In the last two games, the Kahoks have struggled shooting in the second half but not against Vianney. The Kahoks went 15-for-26 or 57.6 percent from the floor in the final 16 minutes outscoring the Griffins in that span 44-31.
Three Kahoks were in double figures led by game MVP Nick Horras and his 24 points (including a pair of threes), seven boards and seven assists.
Horras hit several big buckets but it was two he didn’t hit that gave CHS an eight point advantage headed for the final stanza.
The Kahok senior drove the left baseline, jumped to shoot and met Vianney’s 7-3 center Symon Ghai. Horras took the rebound and got off a fade away jumper over Ghai with seconds remaining. He missed but Chase Reynolds got the board and hit the layup at the buzzer.
Meanwhile, Jamorie Wysinger was burying five important threes on his way to 17 points.
None of those threes were more important than a pair late in the third when Wysinger hit 3-pointers on back-to-back trips to push the Kahoks to a 45-35 lead.
“Actually, it felt a little off today,” said Wysinger about his shot. “But once I felt good my teammates found me.”
Finally, 6-9 postman Zach Chambers put in 15 points while grabbing six boards and blocking two shots as he took on Vianney’s big man.
“It’s definitely an imposing number when you read it on the stat book,” Chambers said about Ghai’s height. “But when you go out there you just got to play more physical than you usually do because I’m used to having people smaller than me. It felt like it was a really physical game out there but we handled it well.”
In addition to Chambers, Stanley Carnahan the 6-6 workhorse for the Kahoks grabbed 11 rebounds.
Collinsville handled the three D1 recruits as well. The Griffin trio came into the game averaging 51.3 points per game. Collinsville held them all under their average as they combined for 34 points. Last Saturday at the Highland Shootout they dropped 62 points on Chicago (Whitney Young).
CHS held Walsh to a season low 12 points (St. Louis DeSmet did as well). Horras, Wysinger, Reynolds, and Tyree Brister all guarded him at times.
“It was a bit of a tag team,” said Wysinger. “We all got a piece of him. We all did well on him. We didn’t let him get many threes off.”
Walsh went 3-for-11 shooting making only a pair of threes.
Collinsville has two losses on the season.
Edwardsville stalled at times and was extremely patient other times, they beat the Kahoks.
Belleville East stalled at times and was extremely patient for a good portion of the second half and they beat the Kahoks as well.
Once they got the second half lead, the Lancers milked the clock for six minutes and 21 seconds with no intention of trying to shoot the ball. That tactic limited the Kahoks offense and eventually helped lead to a 48-45 win in overtime in Belleville.
Collinsville got off to a 15-8 lead after one quarter then used a pair of buckets by Chambers and a turnaround jumper from Horras to string together a 6-0 run and take a 27-21 lead into the half.
Chambers began the second half by burying a dunk before the Lancers went on a pair of big runs.
They went on a 9-3 run to cut the lead to 32-30 before Chambers hit a conventional 3-point play to make it 35-30 Kahoks.
East then went on a 10-0 run broken by a putback from Horras to make it 40-37 Lancers before East stalled out for the final 1:27 of the quarter.
The Lancers returned to the patient offense three times in the fourth with the longest stretch lasting 2:40 before Brister came away with a steal. Chambers scored two more of his game high 20 points to tie the score at 42-all.
Another patient possession by East resulted in no points and a four-minute overtime.
In the extra session, Carnahan hit a layup to go up 44-42 before East hit two more buckets to go up by two.
But CHS could only manage a free throw the rest of the way as the Lancers pulled away with a 48-45 victory.
Chambers had nine rebounds to lead the Kahoks while Brister and Reynolds led the squad with three assists. Horras had three steals
When you’re the favorite, you can’t let the other team hang around.
If you do, it can spell trouble.
Fortunately for Collinsville, they turned things around in the nick of time thanks to a 13-3 run to finish the contest and take a 57-51 win over SWC rival Alton at Fletcher Gym on Jan. 9.
At the end of the third, CHS used a free throw from Chambers and a conventional 3-point play from Reynolds to take a 37-33 lead after three. But the Redbirds ripped off a 10-0 run to begin the fourth to take a 43-37 lead.
But Collinsville had the answer midway through the fourth.
Trailing 48-44 after a defensive stop, Chambers hit a bucket and was fouled with 3:19 to play. He missed the free throw but Brister came away with the rebound. Chambers would eventually find Brister for a layup.
On the other end Brister came away with a steal then Wysinger buried a three to make it 51-48 with two minutes to play.
While the offense was important the defense came up huge. CHS had six defensive stops in Alton’s final seven possessions to win the game.
Wysinger finished with 16 points with a pair of threes while Reynolds and Chambers hit 11. Reynolds also hit two long-range shots and added four assists.
Chambers completed the double-double with 10 rebounds while Brister had three steals.
The Kahoks are at the Belleville East Winter Classic sponsored by SSM Health this week.
CHS opened the tourney yesterday against St. Louis (Lift for Life) in the six-team modified round robin. The play Florissant, Mo. (McCluer) tomorrow at 5 p.m. They conclude the tourney on Saturday at 8 p.m. against Belleville (Althoff).
Collinsville hosts Highland on Tuesday.