BELLEVILLE — On a night when the shots were not falling, Belleville East senior Darreon Reddick found a way -- with his defense -- to help save the Lancers on Friday.
Reddick helped key a 12-0 second-half scoring run with a pair of steals, resulting in three-point plays as East rallied for a 40-36 victory over Collinsville in a Southwestern Conference game.
Collinsville (4-9, 0-5 SWC) led 25-21 with 3:50 remaining in the third quarter following an offensive rebound and putback by 6-foot-7 junior Emondre Rickman.
Following a 3-pointer from EnRico Sylvester, Reddick made a steal near midcourt and scored on a layup. Fouled on the play, Reddick completed the three-point play, giving East a 27-25 lead.
Jacob Parker followed with a short jumper as the Lancers took a 29-25 lead into the fourth quarter.
A short jumper by Austin Cox and Reddick's second three-point play to open the final quarter put East up 34-25. Collinsville would get no closer than four points the rest of the way.
After a week of no school and limited practice because of the weather, East coach Abel Schrader was just happy to escape with a win.
"The game was slow and there was no flow at all in the first half. I'm sure the weather and having no school had something to do with it. But we can't use that for an excuse because they (the Kahoks) went through the same thing,'' said Schrader, whose team improved to 8-5 and 3-1 in the SWC. "We didn't do a good job in the last two minutes, but we made enough plays in that little run we had.
"Every game in this conference is a battle. We're just glad to be able to get out of here with a win.''
Reddick led East with 15 points, 12 coming in the second half. Rickman paced the Kahoks with 14 points, including a pair of thundering dunks over Lancer defenders.
Anfirnee Wilkinson added 10 points for Collinsville. The 5-10 Wilkinson had eight of his points in the first half, which ended with Collinsville leading 19-17.
Rickman scored twice inside as the Kahoks lead grew to four points on two occasions in the second half. But in the end, Collinsville just didn't hit enough shots.
"Emondre played well and he's played well the last couple of games,'' Kahoks coach Darin Lee said. "Overall, we accomplished just about everything we wanted to accomplish tonight.
"We did a better job on defense and I thought we did a good job of rebounding the basketball. We just didn't hit enough shots.''
East didn't hit many shots either, especially in the first half.
However, the Lancers did got a lift from Brady Schanuel, who scored six points and provided an emotional boost with his all-out hustle.
"Brady has played well recently. That's why he's getting more minutes,'' Schrader said. "One thing is for sure. The kid plays hard every second he's on the floor.''