EDWARDSVILLE — Collinsville's game at Edwardsville on Tuesday has about as much drama as a snail race.
The Tigers scored the first 17 points of the game en route to a 74-34 victory over Collinsville in a Southwestern Conference matchup.
Four Edwardsville players reached double figures, led by senior Garret Covington's 18 points. Senior Tre Harris chipped in with 16 and seniors Drew Curtis and Shawn Roundtree had 10 apiece.
"It's definitely tough to keep focus, but we did a real good job," said the 6-foot-5 Harris, who was 6-for-11 from the field and made three of the Tigers' 10 3-pointers on 22 attempts. "We know what we have to do and how we need to handle things. We handled it well."
The Tigers, ranked fifth in the Class 4A state poll, improved to 22-2 overall and 9-2 in the SWC. Collinsville fell to 10-16 and 2-9.
Sophomore Sean Davis led the Kahoks with nine points. Senior Falando Wilkinson, Collinsville's leading scorer at 18.7 points per game, finished with just five on 2-for-12 shooting as he was closely defended by Harris.
"They're playing pretty well, so it's a hard, tough matchup for us," Collinsville coach Darin Lee said of the Tigers. "We struggled just to get anything going offensively. They've got a lot of talent out there --a lot of veterans and all of them very good shooters.
"There's really no defense that we're going to play to be able to guard them. We can't match up with them man-to-man and we can't zone them. They shoot it too well."
Collinsville shot just 28 percent (13-for-47) from the field, including 8 percent on 3-pointers (1-for-13).
The Tigers wasted no time pouncing on the Kahoks, who were playing without 6-7 sophomore Emondre Rickman.
Covington, Harris and Roundtree led the early onslaught as they combined for 15 points of the first 17 points. Davis finally scored for the Kahoks to make it 17-2 with 2:26 to play in the first quarter. The basket was Collinsville's first in eight attempts.
The Tigers continued to pour it on in the second quarter, extending their lead to 27-2 on a putback by Curtis. The lead margin ballooned to 38-5 on Roundtree's layup, and Covington's 3-pointer ahead of the buzzer made it 43-10 at the half.
It was more of the same in the second half. The Tigers outscored Collinsville 19-9 in the third quarter to make it 62-19. It was 74-28 before the Kahoks' reserves closed the game with six straight points against Edwardsville's junior-varsity team.
"We did a really good job offensively tonight of making the extra pass and finding the open man," said Edwardsville coach Mike Waldo, whose team shot 53 percent (27-for-51). "Shawn had an excellent game, making the right pass at the right time. But we executed a lot of things offensively well."
Since a hard-fought 51-49 victory over Cahokia on Jan. 26 in the Pinckneyville Panther Showcase, Edwardsville has won four games by an average margin of 30.3 points.
"We've done a good job trying to get better each day," Waldo said. "We've shown steady improvement most of the season. If you practice good, you've got a good opportunity to do that, and our guys have done a good job of that.
"But of course, what you're always shooting for is to play your best game of the year, this year, on Feb. 26."
The Tigers will play Granite City or Springfield at 6 p.m. on Feb. 26 in the first round of the Granite City Regional.
Harris believes the Tigers are playing their best basketball of the season. Their only two losses are against Belleville East, which is ranked fourth in the Class 4A poll.
"We're getting better each and every game, playing more as a team, as a unit. It's a great feeling, and we've put in the work for it," said Harris, who is being recruited by Chicago State, Drake, David Lipscomb and Southern Illinois University Edwardsville.
"We know we're going to have to come out ready to smack teams in the mouth. We've been doing that these last couple of games. We want to be the best we can in March."
Contact reporter David Wilhelm at firstname.lastname@example.org or 239-2665.