The eighth-seeded East St. Louis Flyerettes went 8-for-10 from the free-throw line in the final 1:52 as they eliminated seventh-seeded Collinsville with a 50-40 win Monday in a first-round game of the Class 4A Collinsville Regional.
East Side (18-11) trailed 6-0 and 12-4 in the first quarter, but grabbed a 19-17 advantage at halftime before hardly missing from the field in a strong second half.
“We calmed down a lot,” said East St. Louis assistant coach Antonio Mattox, who ran the club in the absence of Terrell Herring. “It was the first game of the regional, and being a young team, we were kind of hyped (early). It took us a couple of quarters to calm down.”
Sophomore Rockelle Stanley, battling Collinsville’s box-and-one defense, topped all scorers with 11 points, while junior Kaysie Newson had nine. Newson beat the buzzer with a 3-pointer from the right wing to bring East St. Louis within 12-9 after one quarter.
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“We thought the box-and-one would be a pretty good plan to try to at least keep Stanley out of the mix. It worked well for us,” Collinsville coach Lori Billy said. “(But) they’re just so quick that sometimes it’s hard to get a good box. We missed a few.”
Senior Kaitlyn Fischer came off the bench and scored 10 points for the Kahoks (13-12). Fischer’s 3-pointer drew Collinsville within 38-36 with 4:17 left, but East St. Louis responded with an 11-2 run over the next 3:06.
The Flyerettes are looking forward to a fourth game with top-seeded Edwardsville (26-0) in the semifinals at 6 p.m. Tuesday. The Tigers won the previous three 65-34, 67-35 and 65-52.
“They’re a good, quality ballclub,” Mattox said. “But I think we have a quality ballclub as well. The only thing we have do do is cut down on our turnovers and mistakes - and run our offense. We’re looking at, hopefully, a new and improved Flyerettes.”