O’Fallon’s Daron Thomas typically looks to pass first and shoot second.
But the senior guard rearranged his priorities Friday, making all seven of his shots from the field and scoring a game-high 16 points as the Panthers drubbed Collinsville 56-41.
“My team really encouraged me,” said the 5-foot-10 Thomas, whose previous career-high was 11 points on Jan. 3. “During the season, I don’t take as many shots. They said I have the potential to take them. But I was always a team player. (Tonight) I decided to step up and be more involved in my role instead of just passing.”
Two of Thomas’ baskets were 3-pointers; he had two 3-pointers all season before Friday.
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“We knew he had it in him,” O’Fallon coach Brian Muniz said. “He’s a real good ball handler and he likes to get inside and then dish it. We kept telling him, ‘Hey, go ahead and take some of your own shots. Tonight, he was feeling it a little bit. He played a great game.”
O’Fallon (13-6, 4-4 SWC) shot 51 percent from the field (24-for-47). The Kahoks (7-13, 1-6) shot 43 percent (18-for-42).
Collinsville played without senior guard Ronnie Midgett, who has been dismissed from the team. Midgett did not play Saturday in the Kahoks’ 65-49 loss to Cahokia in the Jerseyville Tournament. He scored 22 points in a 49-39 loss to Jerseyville on Jan. 18.
Midgett was also removed from the team late last season, but he returned this year and was Collinsville’s leading scorer at 14.3 points per game and its top 3-point shooter with 33.
“He’s not coming back,” Kahoks coach Darin Lee said. “We’ve got to recalibrate our offense a little bit. We need to find some offense for (Saturday) night’s game (at Civic Memorial). Some of our guys haven’t been shooting the ball lately. We’ve got some young guys playing and we’re trying to find a little offense here and there.”
O’Fallon took control with a 15-3 run that began with 1:48 to play in the first quarter and ended with with 1:39 remaining in the second quarter. Thomas had nine points in the surge.
The Panthers led 23-12 at halftime and boosted the margin to 49-24 early in the fourth quarter.
“Our energy was excellent right from the beginning,” Muniz said. “We were flying all over the court, defending. ... We just keep wearing on teams. In the second half, we usually can pull away with just the number of bodies we can throw out there.”
Junior Ronnie Anthony had 10 points for O’Fallon, all of them in the second half. Collinsville’s scoring leaders were seniors Austin Knight with 10 and Kenrique Brown with nine. All of Brown’s points came in the fourth quarter.
Both teams committed 12 turnovers.