COLLINSVILLE — East St. Louis was unseeded entering the Collinsville-Schnucks Holiday Classic, but the Flyers left as champions.
Senior Johnny McCray had 17 points and eight rebounds and senior Deshawn Munson added 13 points and 10 rebounds Saturday to leadEast Side past Quincy, also unseeded, 60-52 in the championship game.
It's the Flyers' second title at Collinsville and their first since 1999. They have played in 13 of the 29 tournaments and are 41-11 all-time.
"It wasn't a pretty game, but we'll take it," East St. Louis coach Tony Young, whose team reached the title game with a 41-40 win over No. 1-seeded Belleville East in the semifinals. "The big thing is you don't want to take away from these kids. They worked so hard to get here; they worked so hard to prepare for this tournament.
"So regardless of how we played that game, you've got to be upbeat, you've got to be happy about it and cheer these kids on because they did a great job the rest of this tournament."
The Flyers shut the door every time Quincy (11-2) attempted a second-half comeback. The Blue Devils twice got within six points in the fourth quarter, but each time were turned away.
"We forced them into a couple of turnovers, then we turned it over," Blue Devils coach Sean Taylor said. "We just couldn't get it to four or under. I think if we did that, they might have been under a little pressure and the free throws would have been a factor.
"But our kids battled the whole tournament. I'm really proud of them, but we couldn't make it really interesting in the last three minutes."
Seniors Martin Kvitle and Cole Abbey each had 17 points for Quincy. Both made the all-tournament team.
The Blue Devils shot 35 percent (15-for-43), while East Side shot 39 percent (19-for-49) and committed 16 turnovers.
The game became chippy in the second half. Quincy junior Connor Mellon was called for a flagrant elbowing foul with 3:46 to play in the game and was ejected. With 1:28 to play, Munson was called for a foul against Abbey when Abbey was run roughly into the scorer's table.
Taylor wanted a flagrant foul, but instead was slapped with a technical for contesting the call.
"I just saw it as inconsistent," Taylor said of the officiating. "(But) I lost, so I'm biased. The officiating this whole tournament has been great. I wish there would have been a couple of calls called differently, but I think every losing coach thinks that."
Munson and McCray made the all-tournament team for the Flyers. The 6-foot-4 McCray was a force under the basket in every game.
"Johnny's a great player," Young said. "I keep telling everybody he's the most underrated big guy in the (Southwestern) conference. The most underrated big guy in the area, to be honest with you."
Belleville East 52, Collinsville 33
The top-seeded Lancers (12-1) recovered from their heartbreaking defeat to East St. Louis and rolled past the Kahoks to capture third place.
Senior Malcolm Hill, who was named the tournament's most valuable player, scored 23 points and finished with 110 --nine shy of breaking the tournament record. Junior Darreon Reddick added 15 points for East and senior Khalil Smith-Traylor had 10 rebounds.
"I was happy with our effort," Lancers coach Abel Schrader said. "We could have come out flat, (with a) bad attitude. These kids showed a lot of character through some adversity. We lost a tough game (in the semis). We didn't feel we played real well.
"But we came back and played hard, especially defensively. We only allowed 33 points, so we're happy where we're at."
Hill's 3-pointer with 23 seconds to play in the semifinals temporarily put the Lancers ahead of East Side 40-39. But the Flyers won on senior Travon McCray's last-second jumper.
"Malcolm has been playing more aggressive and through the offense," Schrader said. "I'm glad he's on our team and I hope he continues to play hard and be more of a leader. We'll move on from here."
Collinsville (6-7) missed its first eight shots and finished at 27 percent (13-for-48). The Kahoks never led, and after trailing 31-27, they were outscored by the Lancers 17-3 in the next eight minutes.
Senior point guard Falando Wilkinson, an all-tournament selection, led Collinsville with 17 points, including 16 in the first half. Wilkinson finished 6-for-25 from the field, 0-for-8 in the second half as tired legs set in.
"We were in the game and were happy about that, but then we got a little tired," Collinsville coach Darin Lee said. "Falando got tired; I probably should have subbed him. Right now, a lot of our offense is geared toward him. We've got to find some shots for other guys."
Springfield Southeast 59, Decatur MacArthur 46
The winning Spartans were seeded third in the tournament and settled for fifth place as they handled MacArthur.
Southeast's senior backcourt of Jagger Anderson (17 points) and Herman Senor (15) led the attack. The Spartans are 9-3.
MacArthur split four games in the tourney and are 7-7.
Lincoln 53, Granite City 45, OT
Junior Max Cook scored 16 points, 10 in overtime, for the Railsplitters (11-3), who earned the consolation championship.
Granite City (8-6) was outscored 12-4 in overtime. Senior Omar Walker and sophomore Darrell Miller had 10 points apiece.
Lincoln 47, Althoff 26
The Railsplitters had their way with Althoff in the consolation semifinals and eliminated the Crusaders from the tournament.
Max Cook scored 12 points and Gavin Block had 11 for Lincoln, which advanced to the consolation championship.
Althoff (8-4) had just 10 baskets and four assists. Junior Kevin Renner led the Crusaders with eight points.
Dunlap 55, Riverview Gardens 54
Junior Alex Sorenson had 23 points and 14 rebounds as the Eagles (6-7) finished in ninth place.
Riverview Gardens senior Tyrin Williams had 25 points and finished with 113 in the tournament. The Rams are 2-9.
Contact reporter David Wilhelm at firstname.lastname@example.org or 239-2665.