COLLINSVILLE — Nothing has come easy this season for the Collinsville Kahoks.
The Kahoks led Mascoutah by 14 points in the fourth quarter Saturday, but saw their advantage whittled to five before they finally secured a 53-46 win.
"We've had to work pretty hard to get a lot of victories. There's no doubt," said Collinsville coach Darin Lee, whose team is 9-12. "We haven't been able to put somebody away with a 70-point game. We haven't scored a lot of points. We have such a tough schedule. We have to get some wins somewhere. We have to play 14 tough (Southwestern) conference games. We need to get these when we get a chance. These nonconference wins are very important."
Kahoks junior Anfirnee Wilkinson led all scorers with 19 points. Senior Jacob Shaffer scored 11 points and junior Sean Davis had 10. Collinsville shot 39 percent (18-for-46).
The Indians (4-18) got 15 points from junior Tim Parks. Senior Patrick White had 12 points off the bench and junior Brian Pettiford had nine, all in a reserve role. Mascoutah shot 38 percent (17-for-45).
Collinsville led 42-28 when senior Matt Chambers scored in the paint with 7:18 to play in the game. The Indians got within 46-40 on senior MZ Duprey's 3-pointer with 4:31 to play.
After Davis scored for the Kahoks, White had a putback to again draw Mascoutah within six at 48-42. Wilkinson converted one of two free throws, and the Indians cut the gap to 49-44 on Pettiford's driving basket with 2:12 remaining.
Wilkinson then sank three of four free throws to put Collinsville ahead 52-44 with 59.1 seconds left, sealing the outcome. The Indians also hurt themselves with several missed shots in the lane.
"The No. 1 thing we talked about at halftime ... was being the aggressor, handling (the ball) and meeting our passes," Mascoutah coach Cody Reynolds said. "We really did a good job of attacking it more in the second half instead of playing around it."
Pettiford, a transfer from Belleville East, scored seven points in the second half to spark the Mascoutah rally.
"It hurt us a little bit having him in foul trouble early on," Reynolds said. "Then he picked up his third pretty quick there in the second half. He's really played great the last two or three weeks for us. He's really starting to step forward. He created some turnovers with his defense, and when he attacks the basket, we're a lot better."
Wilkinson scored 11 points and Davis added six in the first half, which ended with Collinsville ahead 29-18.
Mascoutah, which trailed 14-6 in the first quarter, climbed within 17-16 when sophomore Dominick Johnson scored with 3:18 to play in the second quarter to culminate a 10-3 uprising.
But the Kahoks closed the half with an 11-2 run that featured 3-pointers by Wilkinson and junior Brett Langley.
Collinsville committed just two first-half turnovers. The Kahoks finished with eight while forcing Mascoutah into 15.
"We were up the whole game and had it in control," Lee said. "We could have done the little things better in the fourth quarter to keep it at double digits, but we didn't. We played pretty well in the first half; the fourth quarter was kind of ho-hum for us. (Mascoutah) played hard. They made a few plays at the end."
Contact reporter David Wilhelm at firstname.lastname@example.org or 239-2665.