BELLEVILLE — What looked to be a mismatch beforehand proved to be the case Thursday as Belleville West defeated Collinsville 51-35 in a Southwestern Conference game.
Junior guards Shay Fluker and Imani Berry combined for three 3-point baskets in the opening three minutes for the Maroons (11-4, 4-2), who used their athleticism to force 12 Kahoks turnovers in the first half.
West, which led 11-4 following a short jumper by Berry with 4 minutes and 10 seconds left in the opening quarter, built leads of 19-10 and 30-15 at halftime.
Collinsville (2-6, 4-10) would get no closer than 11 during the final two quarters.
But while West breezed to the lopsided win, coach Clayton Fisher wasn't celebrating what he felt was a very lackluster performance by his team.
"If all you care about is winning basketball games, than yes, I guess you would call this a successful night. I don't view it that way,'' Fisher said. "If you look at it like, did we continue to do the things we need to do to improve? Than we fell well short. In my mind we took two steps back tonight.
"We hit some shots early in the game and it's a good thing that we did, because otherwise this game would have gone right down to the wire.''
Fluker led the way for West with 20 points, while Berry added 19. One of the top guard tandems in the Southwestern Conference, Fluker and Berry combined for 22 of the Maroons' 30 first-half points.
Much to the dismay of Kahoks coach Lori Billy.
"They are two of the top guards in the (Southwestern) conference and they came out and hit three 3-pointers right at the start. For some reason we have a tough time guarding left-handers (Fluker),'' Billy said. "Offensively, we moved the ball well at times and we were able to get good shots that we just didn't make.
"It's tough to get anything inside against West, because of Fluker (5-10) and the (Jesheon) Cooper kid. She's 6-5, but it's more like 6-10 when she puts her arms up in the air.''
Collinsville junior Aubreeney Brady (10 points) held her own against Berry and Fluker, as she was able to penetrate a Maroons' defense which gave up way too many good looks according to Fisher.
"Give Collinsville's coaches all the credit in the world. They had a very good game plan against us tonight,'' Fisher said. "Since I've been coaching here we've always been a team which takes great pride in our defensive pressure. Tonight we didn't do that.
"All I have to say is that we've got some players on this team who don't have very good defensive fundamentals. We were fortunate to come away with a win.''