Cahokia is 5-0 after winning its first championship at the Lincoln Thanksgiving Tournament on Saturday.
But coach Darian Nash will make a habit of reminding the Comanches that their work is just beginning.
"We played pretty good," Nash said. "There are a lot of things we have to work on, but we had a pretty good showing. The defense played well and we shot the ball pretty well. But we've got to continue to push even harder. Even though we're 5-0, we've got to let them know there's still a lot of work to do."
Cahokia defeated Seton Academy 87-72 to nail down the championship, as senior star Keenan Minor pumped in a career-high 37 points. The Comanches dismantled Morton 69-37 in their first game Saturday to set up the title opportunity.
Nash said Minor's performance was exemplary as he topped his previous best single-game output of 35 points. Minor was 10-for-16 from the field, drained five 3-pointers and was 12-for-14 from the free-throw line.
"Keenan was lights-out. Typical Keenan," Nash said. "That was the only game I've seen where it came so effortless for him. It was one of the best games I've seen him play."
Minor made the all-tournament team and was joined on the squad by teammates Darius Austin and Carleton Rivers.
"Those guys played well," Nash said. "Carleton did a great job and Darius did a great job, too."
Vincent Jackson added 22 points in the game against Seton Academy, which is located in the Chicago suburb of South Holland.
Nash, who is expecting big things from the Comanches as they compete for a Class 3A state title, said his players expected to win the tournament.
"When we won it, it was like, 'OK, we came here and did what we were supposed to do,'" said Nash, whose team also defeated Lincoln (56-51), Champaign Centennial (77-56) and Danville (72-50). "It's good for the community and the district. And it's a confidence-booster for the guys.
"I'm satisfied, but yet not satisfied. There are game situations we can do better, like blocking out."
Nash said perhaps the biggest benefit of the tournament was playing against teams with drastically different styles.
"You've got to adjust to all of them," he said. "You have to be up every night. Our goal was to score 82 points (every game). We did that against Seton Academy, which is a pretty good 2A team."
Tigers tame foes
Edwardsville ran away for the championship in the Waterloo Round Robin, tripping Waterloo 54-38, Gateway Tech, of St. Louis, 98-67, Highland 66-40 and Mater Dei 60-44.
Senior Garret Covington poured in 24 points in the win against Mater Dei. Senior teammate Tre Harris had 14 points and 13 rebounds.
Edwardsville coach Mike Waldo said the tournament was good for the Tigers because it exposed two inexperienced players, Armon Fletcher and Darian Brown, to varsity basketball. Fletcher had 15 points against Northwest Academy.
"It was a good start to the season for us," Waldo said. "We got a little better each game, offensively and defensively. We also have a couple of guys who didn't play much for us last year who got good experience, Armon Fletcher and Darian Brown.
"For those guys to get out there and play in varsity games was big. Those guys are going to be very valuable."
Harris finished with 79 points and 38 rebounds in the four games. Covington, a Western Illinois recruit, had 71 points and 34 rebounds.
"Each game was a little bit different," Waldo said. "We played against a lot of zone-type defense in the first game, a lot of full-court pressure in the second game. Then we played against man-to-man in the third and fourth games."
Althoff bounced in finale
Althoff finished 2-2 in the Effingham St. Anthony Turkey Tournament, falling to Robinson 62-39 in the title game Saturday.
"They hit some shots and we just went cold," Althoff coach Greg Leib said. "I'm not making excuses. We had tired legs. We didn't get in a rhythm. They're physical and did a good job of not letting us get into a rhythm."
The Crusaders opened the tourney with victories over Effingham (41-39) and St. Anthony (62-45). They then lost to Charleston 62-54 before falling against Robinson.
"We couldn't find another Effingham team we could play," cracked Leib, whose roster finally will be at full strength Tuesday when as many as seven players from the football team show up for practice after helping Althoff finish second in the state in Class 2A.
"I wish I could give them more time, but there's so much work to be done," Leib said. "We start (South Seven) conference play Friday, so there's not much rest."
The Crusaders had just 11 players on their roster for the tournament. Leib said he played 11 in one game of the tournament last year.
"If we had a little more depth, we could have done a few more things," Leib said. "But who knows? I was really pleased with the effort our guys gave, and we had a lot of guys play a lot of minutes."
Leib said junior Kevin Renner was Althoff's most consistent player in the tournament. He also was encouraged by Grant Strieker, Ryan Marcum, Chaun Wells, Jon Fraser, Rick Edwards and Brendan Gooch.
Kahoks topped by 'Cats
Host Marion outlasted Collinsville 49-36 on Saturday to take the title of the Pyramid Plus Tournament.
The Kahoks won their first three games, 68-37 over Salem, 53-32 over Herrin and 41-36 over Mount Vernon.
"We didn't play near as well as we would have liked to (Saturday) night," Collinsville coach Darin Lee said. "Looking back on it, we did travel down there four nights in five days and we played the home team (Saturday). That's not an easy thing to do; that's a difficult thing to do. There's a little bit of (fatigue) involved.
"We had a lot of guys gain varsity experience who have never played varsity basketball. Like a lot of people, we didn't play as well as we would have liked. We didn't put a lot of points on the board and we would like to cut back on our turnovers. But we shot free throws well (31-for-40, 78 percent) and at times defended well."
Senior Falando Wilkinson averaged 14.5 points per game and made the all-tournament team. Freshman point guard Zeke Moore scored 42 points and senior Briley Kellison had 37 points. Moore and Kellison also were all-tournament.
"Zeke shot it well; he shot it well from the arc," Lee said. "That made a big difference for us."
Lee is eager to see improvement.
"Just like everybody, we hope we'll improve as time goes on," Lee said. "We've got to shore up some things. ... (But) it's nice that we got some wins."
Contact reporter David Wilhelm at firstname.lastname@example.org or 239-2665.