By Mark Jurgena
Editor’s NOTE: Edwardsville upset East St. Louis 77-73 on Friday night allowing Collinsville a share of the Southwestern Conference title. It’s their 47th championship.
COLLINSVILLE — Nick Horras went over 1,000 points and Jamorie Wysinger set a new single-season record for 3-pointers made.
Yet another historic night in the storied tradition of Kahok basketball.
Collinsville led Chatham (Glenwood) 14-13 after one quarter then turned up the defensive effort and gave up only 12 points in the middle two quarters as they beat the Titans 55-32 on Feb. 10.
The win raised the Kahoks to 26-3 on the year while Glenwood fell to 18-10.
“Twelve points in the middle two quarters was really good, then we only gave up seven in the fourth,” began CHS coach Darin Lee. “We defended well. As long as our guys do a good job inside they are hard to shoot over. We made good decisions about not being the first jumper… I thought Jamorie did a good job on number 20 (Mason Marshall). He really did, the guy only had five points; he’s their leading scorer.”
Glenwood also started the game with solid defense, denying the ball as best they could to Kahok scorers Nick Horras and Jamorie Wysinger.
Enter 6-9 postman Zach Chambers.
Chambers was dominant inside, scoring 12 of his game-high 21 points in the opening half to stake the Kahoks to a 29-17 lead at the break.
While the guards have improved their ability to get the ball inside, Lee believes Chambers himself is the wheel that makes their entry pass so valuable.
“I think it’s him (Chambers) making good decisions,” said Lee. “Really the key is for him being able to pass it; seeing the double (team) coming. I think they weren’t sure if they were bringing the double or not. When they didn’t he was able to score.
“If teams think he can’t pass it they’re just going to bring two or three guys at you. So I think his recognition of his surroundings is key. He’s also able to turn on both shoulders now last year he couldn’t.”
Add to that the unselfishness of Horras and Wysinger not forcing up bad shots.
“Me and Jamorie we couldn’t get it started there at the first they were face guarding us,” said Horras. “So we put it in our other players’ hands Zach, Chase (Reynolds), Stanley (Carnahan) and they did their thing. That’s the reason we won the game, they took over after we weren’t scoring as much. They did their job and they did it well.”
When the duo had the open shot they made the Titans pay they hit three consecutive shots to give CHS the lead for good.
One of them was historic.
Sandwiched in between buckets by Horras was a three from the right wing by Wysinger.
It wasn’t just any three, it was his 88th of the season which broke the single season record for threes set by Richard Keene, a former University of Illinois standout, in 1989-90.
Wysinger popped free thanks to a screen by Solomon Talbott and Reynolds found him for a wide open three.
“Jamorie was two away last year, I didn’t even realize that he had 85 last year,” said Lee. “What’s really remarkable is he’s getting so much attention that it’s not easy to get threes.”
Wysinger also had a hand in the 1,000th point for Horras.
Late in the third, he grabbed a defensive rebound and raced up the floor getting the ball to Tyree Brister on the left wing.
The sophomore recorded his fourth assist after he quickly got the ball to Horras in the left corner behind the arc. The senior rose up and took his historic shot.
It went in with 40.6 seconds to go in the third period.
“We were coming down, got a pass just a rhythm three then I just heard the people behind me ‘For Three!’ and it just went in,” said Horras who finished with 13 points and seven assists.
After the game Lee was pleased withe the historic night for his players and the tradition of Collinsville basketball. But he was also upbeat about his team beating a hot team in the Titans.
They had won 10 of their last 13 games with two of those losses being a one-point loss to Decatur (MacArthur) and a four-point loss to Lincoln.
“That’s a pretty good team,” said Lee. “Here recently they haven’t lost much and they are a one seed in their regional. We did a fantastic job getting the ball to Zach and we didn’t turn it over.”
Relentless effort combined with skill wins.
An example you say? This one during the huge 58-48 win at the Panther Dome on Feb. 7 should do the trick.
With just under seven minutes to go in the third quarter, Wysinger had a pass knocked away. The ball bounced to the other side of the floor where Reynolds, Wysinger and Chambers all converged on the ball.
Chambers got there first, turned and went to the rack where his shot was contested by all-conference player Rini Harris.
Carnahan was there for the offensive board, he kicked it to Horras who’s three attempts was off the mark but again Carnahan fought for the offensive glass.
Wysinger reset the offense and got it to Reynolds who made an entry pass to Carnahan for a 10-foot fade away jumper to put the Kahoks up 40-28.
That’s a lot to write and read.
But then again so is the effort this team has put in.
The win over O’Fallon combined with Edwardsville’s upset of East St. Louis three nights later gave Collinsville at least a share of the SWC crown.
But it wasn’t easy taking down the SWC’s third place squad.
The Kahoks used a 9-0 run across the first and second quarters to flip an 11-10 deficit into a 19-11 lead.
It began with a bucket from Carnahan who finished with four points but 10 rebounds including six on the offensive end.
Chambers added four in the spree while Horras hit two free throws and Wysinger added one.
But every time CHS put together a run, the Panthers would hunt them back down.
OTHS cut that lead to four in a hurry then after the Kahoks went up 11 late in the half and Panther scoring guard Jaeden Rush picked up his third foul, O’Fallon got a jolt from Eddy Jackson who came off the bench to bury consecutive threes to make it 31-26 Kahoks.
But Wysinger buried his own three with 36 seconds to go before the half to give CHS and eight-point advantage into the break.
Collinsville came out of the locker room with a 6-2 run that culminated in Carnahan’s jumper.
For the night Chambers posted his seventh double-double of the season with 12 points and 10 rebounds. Wysinger dropped 23 huge points including going 4-for-6 from three point land while Horras had 15 with seven assists.
Reynolds added six assists.
Collinsville played rival Edwardsville on Tuesday night however results were unavailable at press time. Friday they finish the regular season at Alton.
Next week they play in the Class 4A Granite City Regional on Feb. 21 against the host school. If they win they play for the regional title two nights later against the winner of Belleville East/Belleville West contest.