CENTRALIA — The Centralia Holiday Tournament seems to bring out the best in the Cahokia Comanches and guard Keenan Minor.
Minor and Vincent Jackson each scored 19 points as the Comanches beat the Jacksonville Crimsons 65-58 Saturday night in the championship game of the 70th annual tourney.
"I asked the guys the other night, 'What is your legacy going to be at Cahokia?''' Comanches coach Darian Nash said. "Your legacy is made through effort. Those guys put forth a great effort tonight.''
The Comanches (12-2) claimed the championship for the third time in the last four years. They're the first team to repeat as champions since Peoria Richwoods won the tourney in three straight years from 1999-2001.
"Being in big situations all the time, I've gotten used to them,'' Minor said. "It's like a walk in the park sometimes. The older I get, the wiser I get.''
Marist's L.J. McIntosh was chosen as the Most Valuable Player of the tourney over Minor, who won the award last year.
"It doesn't really matter to me as long as my team gets the victory,'' Minor said. "That's how I feel. The guy that won MVP played excellent, too.''
The Crimsons (9-3) got 12 points from Josh Peak and 11 points from Dalton Keene.
The Comanches scored 10 unanswered points to turn a 2-2 tie into an early 10-2 lead. Then Minor connected on back-to-back 3-pointers to put them ahead 16-4.
The Comanches led 24-12 lead after 3s from Derenzo Jennings and Minor in the second quarter.
The Comanches went up 38-23 on two free throws by Darius Austin with nine seconds left in the second quarter.
After Jacksonville's Payton Dugan made a free throw with nine-tenths of a second left, the Comanches led 38-24 at halftime.
The Comanches gained a 17-point advantage after a long 3 from Minor, but the Crimsons scored the final five points of the third quarter to close the gap to 49-37.
Keene converted a three-point play at the start of the fourth quarter to trim the Crimsons' deficit to nine points.
The Crimsons got within eight points twice in the late going, but Minor sank three of his four free-throw attempts in the final 40 seconds.
A 3-pointer by Peak with 11 seconds left cut the final margin to seven points.
"For a while, it seemed like it was slipping,'' Nash said. "I knew fatigue was setting in, and I was hoping we had more gas than they had.''
The Comanches advanced to the title game by beating the Belleville West Maroons 70-60 in the semifinals.
Minor scored 20 points to lead the Comanches against the Maroons.
Minor was 4-for-6 on 3-point attempts. He also had 10 rebounds, three assists and three steals.
The Comanches also got 14 points from Jackson, 11 points from Carleton Rivers, 10 points from Austin and eight points from Jennings.
West's Nick Van Osdale led all scorers in the game with 28 points. He was 7-for-7 from the free-throw line.
D.J. Owens chipped in 11 points for the Maroons.
The Maroons committed turnovers on their first five possessions and found themselves down 6-0 before they ever got off a shot attempt.
Minor hit a 3-pointer from NBA range with two seconds left in the opening quarter to give the Comanches a 15-6 lead.
The Comanches led by as many as 12 points in the second quarter, but the Maroons managed to get within five points on two free throws by Van Osdale with 24 seconds left in the first half.
Again, the Comanches answered with another 3-pointer, this one by Rivers from the baseline with one second left that provided them with a 31-23 advantage at halftime.
Five times the Maroons drew within three points in the third quarter, but they could get no closer.
The Comanches went 12-for-18 at the free-throw line and got three offensive rebounds off missed free throws over the final 2:47 to keep the Maroons out of reach.
Belleville West 53, Marist 49
Van Osdale scored 21 points and the Maroons bounced back from a 12-point, first-half deficit to beat the (Chicago) Marist Redhawks in the third-place game.
The Maroons avenged a loss to the RedHawks in the third-place game last year.
"I was really disappointed in our effort to start the game,'' West coach Joe Muniz said. "We didn't have any fire, and we looked like we had a hangover from the loss this afternoon.
"I challenged them in the middle of the first quarter and again at halftime, and my kids just make me proud with how tough and resilient they are. They didn't have a whole lot left in their tank, but they just kept battling and battling.''
Van Osdale, who also had five rebounds and five assists, played all 64 minutes of the Maroons' two games Saturday.
"It was a pretty long day,'' Osdale said. "My legs were getting a little tired, but I knew I had to battle through it.
"We just kept plugging away, plugging away, and we came out with a big win today.''
The Maroons (9-3) also got nine points from both Owens and Marrkies Goodwin and eight points from Donnie Foster.
With the score tied at 49-49, Foster sank two free throws to give the Maroons the lead with 2:49 left to play.
The RedHawks went scoreless the rest of the way, and a layup by West's Isaiah Lewis helped seal the win with 15 seconds to go.
The RedHawks (10-4) were led by stellar guards L.J. McIntosh and Lexus Williams, who combined for 35 points.
McIntosh had 22 points and Williams had 13 points.
Williams and McIntosh each hit a pair of 3-pointers in leading the RedHawks out to a 12-6 lead.
A 3 from Zak Niemiera pushed the RedHawks' advantage to 22-10, but Van Osdale hit back-to-back 3s to draw the Maroons within 24-19.
Zack Cody scored on a layup at the end of the second quarter to put the RedHawks up 26-19.
The Maroons used a 9-0 run to take a 34-32 lead on a basket by Kyle Sweeney in the third quarter.
The two teams traded the lead until the Maroons seized control late in the fourth quarter.
St. Laurence 66, O'Fallon 49
Mike Komacker pumped in 26 points and Jim Schick added 24 as the (Burbank) St. Laurence Vikings knocked the O'Fallon Panthers out of the tourney in the semifinals of the consolation bracket.
Komacker, a 6-foot-3 junior, and Schick, a 6-foot-5 senior, were a combined 18-for-24 from the free-throw line.
The Panthers (4-9) were led by Donovan Franklin with 16 points, 10 rebounds and five assists.
Tyus Berry had 13 points and Charlie Harmon had 11 points.
The Panthers trailed 23-20 at halftime, but they were outscored 43-29 in the second half.
Alton 58, St. Laurence 44
Carlos Anderson had 15 points and five rebounds in leading the Alton Redbirds past St. Laurence in the consolation championship game.
A'Basa Brown and Aaron Womack each added 11 points for the Redbirds (8-5), who rolled out to a 22-6 lead and never looked back.
Contact reporter Steve Korte at firstname.lastname@example.org or 239-2522.