Junior guard Marshall Harrison scored 10 points in the opening four minutes to key a quick start Friday, and Collinsville beat Granite City 64-42 in a Southwestern Conference game.
Playing before a large home crowd against a much-improved Warriors squad, Collinsville connected on five of its first seven shots and took a 12-0 lead just four minutes into the game. Harrison started the early surge with a 3-point jumper from the baseline, and the Kahoks (15-9, 3-6) were off and running.
“We came out and played very well early and were able to get off to a good start,” Kahoks coach Darin Lee said. “Marshall has a big first quarter, and the key for him was hitting that first shot. When he hit that 3-point shot, it got him going.
Granite City (8-14, 3-6) never recovered. With SWC wins over East St. Louis, Belleville East and Alton, all in the past three weeks, the Warriors battled back to within five points early in the fourth quarter.
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But with sophomore Ray’Sean Taylor scoring 14 fourth-quarter points and 6-foot-5 sophomore Keydrian Jones dominating on the backboards and clogging up the middle, Collinsville broke the game open in the final five minutes.
“It’s a nice win for us because Granite City has played well recently. The quick start really helped us set the tone, and we did a good job on defense and on the backboards,” Lee said. “Ray’Sean (Taylor) has done a good job for us pretty much all year, but KJ (Keydrian Jones) had really progressed and played well.”
Jones hit two free throws before Harrison took over early in the first quarter. Playing with confidence after draining his first 3-point shot, the 6-3 junior scored twice inside the lane and added an offensive putback as Collinsville took a 12-0 lead.
Granite City was anemic in the first four minutes. The Warriors missed their first eight shots and committed three turnovers. It wasn’t until Zidane Moore scored with 3:58 left in the opening quarter that the Warriors fans had something to cheer about.
“I don’t know what was going on early in the first quarter. We just didn’t execute,” Warriors coach Gerard Moore said. “Collinsville is a good team, and we weren’t getting good penetration against their zone defense.
“We battled back and cut it to six points a couple of times. We just dug ourselves too big of a hole early. You aren’t going to be able to fall behind Collinsville like we did and expect to come back and win the game.”
Taylor led Collinsville with 26 points, while Harrison chipped in with 16. Jones added 12 points and 11 rebounds.
Moore led Granite City with 16 points.