BELLEVILLE — Right up until Belleville West's Nick Van Osdale drained a 3-pointer from the corner with two seconds left in the first half Friday, the Collinsville Kahoks seemed poised and under control.
Collinsville still led 29-28 at halftime, but the Maroons fired in five 3-pointers during a torrid third quarter and ran away from the Kahoks in a 63-49 Southwestern Conference victory.
"That was a huge shot and gave us some confidence," Belleville West coach Joe Muniz said of Van Osdale's momentum-filled trey just before the end of the half.
The Maroons were living large from the 3-point line, hitting 11 of their 18 shots from beyond the arc in the victory.
Pursued by a box-and-one defense all night, Van Osdale still drained all five of his 3-point shots and finished with a game-high 26 points.
"Well, we tried," Collinsville coach Darin Lee said when asked about the effectiveness of that box-and-one defense on Van Osdale. "There were a lot of holes in it. Right now, we're pretty suspect defensively and they're good offensively."
Half of Van Osdale's points came during a ridiculously hot first quarter that saw the West senior guard and Collinsville senior Falando Wilkinson combine for 24 points on 10-of-14 shooting.
"I knew he was making a lot of shots and I didn't want to make it me and him, but he's a great player," said Van Osdale, the area's leading scorer before Friday with a 24.2-points per game average. "He was making shots and I knew we needed to step up."
West, which has won seven of its last eight games, improved to 11-3 overall and 5-2 in league play. The Maroons caught fire early in the second half as D.J. Owens nailed three straight 3s while Isaiah Lewis and Van Osdale added two more.
Owens was 4-for-6 from the 3-point line and Lewis added two more 3s against the Kahoks (6-10, 1-6). Collinsville has lost five straight since its upset victory against Chatham Glenwood at the Collinsville-Schnucks Holiday Classic.
A one-point halftime deficit turned into a 13-point lead after three quarters for the Maroons, who got 12 points in the game from Owens.
"We knew the box-and-one was going to be there and I give a lot of credit to my teammates that set great picks and gave me good passes," said Van Osdale, headed to Division II Lindenwood-St. Charles. "I was able to knock down shots and the rest of the team knocked down shots, which helped me out a lot, too."
Muniz credited his team for clamping down the defense somewhat on Wilkinson, who still finished with 24 points, and its second-half execution.
Owens, Lewis and Sherand Boyd all guarded Wilkinson at various times.
"We pride ourselves on making adjustments at halftime," he said. "Knock on wood, we've been a good third-quarter team all season long. You've got to give Collinsville credit, they played an excellent first half. But like I told (my players), we weathered the storm and we didn't back down."
Van Osdale tossed in 13 of his 16 first-half points during the first quarter while Wilkinson kept pace with 11 of his 13 first-half points in the opening eight minutes.
Muniz admitted being speechless at times during Wilkinson's red-hot start.
"I told them 'how could I get mad at D.J. Owens when he's draped all over him with a hand in his face and he's hitting shots,'" Muniz said. "He hit two or three of them (like that).
"What we were hoping to do was weather the storm and we did that. We didn't think they would make all their shots all night long."
The Kahoks missed eight of 12 shots in the third quarter when West was pulling away with a relentless attack on the basket.
"We kept pushing and kept pushing and we took control of that game," Van Osdale said.
Collinsville got eight points from Tanner Houck, seven from Chris Mathes and six from Briley Kellison.
"They put a lot of pressure on us and it's pretty tough because we don't have a point guard other than Falando, so we're asking him to do a lot," Lee said. "That takes a lot of energy."
Contact reporter Norm Sanders at firstname.lastname@example.org or 239-2454.