By Mark Jurgena
COLLINSVILLE —The SSM Health Belleville East Winter Classic.
Well, it’s complicated.
This year’s tourney featured six teams with SWC rivals Belleville East, Belleville West and Collinsville not playing one another.
Instead they took on Belleville Althoff, Florissant, Mo. (McCluer Senior) and St. Louis (Lift for Life).
Further complicating matters was the cancellation of classes for both Missouri schools on Jan. 19. That forced the postponement of two of the three Friday night contests.
Lift for Life made up their game on Saturday and played twice.
Collinsville hosts McCluer at Fletcher Gym on Saturday afternoon with a varsity only matchup at 1:30.
That will be the final game of the tourney.
East and West finished 3-0 with the Kahoks at 2-0.
Collinsville got off to a 10-0 start then cruised to a 59-46 win over Belleville Althoff on Jan. 20 at the Belleville East tourney.
“You can look at it a couple of ways,” said CHS coach Darin Lee. “In the second quarter, we had a few good shots and we had some turnovers we didn’t need to have. We didn’t play as well. But then we had a really good third quarter. We still won by double digits so you’ve got to be happy with that.”
CHS led 13-9 after one quarter after the Crusaders finished the first on a 7-0 run. They finally caught the Kahoks with 1:49 to go in the second after a three from Alex Johnson. The squads battled for the rest of the half with the Kahoks leading 23-22 into the locker room.
Collinsville came out in the third and blitzed the Crusaders 23-9 to open up a 46-31 lead with Nick Horris dropping eight points including a pair of threes and Tyree Brister scoring six.
Defensively the Kahoks held Althoff to 3-for-16 shooting or 18.8 percent in the third with the Kahoks hitting 7-of-13 or 53.8 percent from the floor in the same time frame.
“We talked about a couple of things,” said Lee about his halftime message to the Kahoks. “A couple of defensive things I thought we made mistakes with in guarding their personnel. On offense there were a few sets we thought we could run.”
In the fourth, Althoff got the lead down to nine points late in the game but could get no closer as CHS moved to 21-2 on the season.
“Defensively we held them to 25 percent shooting,” Lee said. “When I looked at the stat sheet after the game they couldn’t find shots to make for the most part.”
Althoff made one-quarter of their shots from both in front and beyond the 3-point arc. They were 8-for-32 from inside the arc and 6-for-24 outside the 3-point line.
Collinsville ended the contest on 18-for-34 shooting from two or 52.9 percent and 3-for-14 or 21.3 percent from distance.
“It’s a long season,” said Lee. “The thing is for us we had some incredible shooting games early and that’s just not going to happen every game. Last game we just did not shoot it well from the arc. When you shoot it like that it’s just not going to look as good.”
Nick Horras led CHS with 19 points.
Zach Chambers had his sixth double-double of the year with 12 points and 11 rebounds. For good measure, the rim protector had seven blocked shots.
Jamorie Wysinger scored 13 points, grabbed nine boards, four assists and two steals.
Brister had a pair of steals as well.
Lift for Life win
Collinsville had a four-point lead.
Then Tyree Brister made his presence known.
With Collinsville up seven early in the second quarter, the sophomore guard had back-to-back steals for layups to increase the lead to 27-16. After a Lift for Life timeout, he had consecutive steals again then came up with a big defensive rebound.
LFL could not recover.
Brister finished the game with eight points, seven rebounds, six steals and an assist to help the Kahoks to a 75-44 win in the opening game at the Winter Classic on Jan. 17.
“He’s very active,” Lee said. “He gets his hands on a lot of basketballs. He really has a knack for stealing the ball. Against teams, that are more careless than others he really takes it from you.”
While Brister was causing defensive problems, Jamorie Wysinger was busy draining five 3-pointers on his way to a game-high 22 points.
“He’s a great shooter,” said Lee. “When he gets separation, when he gets a good look at it he’s really shot it well all year. It’s been amazing how well he’s shot the basketball.”
Horras had 17 points and five assists while Chambers had 12 points and three blocked shots.
For the game, Collinsville shot 58.3 percent from the floor on 28-for-48 shooting with nine total 3-pointers while LFL shot 38.3 percent on 19-for-49 shooting.
Collinsville faced Highland Tuesday night however results were unavailable at press time. The Kahoks host Belleville West tomorrow night before McCluer visits Fletcher Gym on Saturday.
On Tuesday Collinsville hosts East St. Louis in another SWC battle.