Girls Basketball

‘Complete’ game lifts streaking Maroons past Kahoks

For 22 minutes, the Collinsville girls basketball team played nearly point-for-point with the streaking Belleville West Maroons.

But the Kahoks were absent for an 20-0 West run that started last in the first quarter and lasted through almost all of the second quarter. The rally lifted the Maroons to a 62-34 Southwestern Conference win.

It was West's fourth win in a row and ninth in the last 10 games.

"This was our most complete game, I think, that we've played," said West coach Clayton Fisher. "I'm very, very happy."

The Maroons (14-4) opened with a 6-1 lead, but a pair of field goals by Kassidy Smith and Gabrielle Morgan and a three-point basket by Caitlyn Brombolich tied the game at 10 at the 2:35 mark of the first quarter.

Then the Maroons took charge.

Senior Imani Berry scored six points straight, then Shay Fluker added four more to lead the 20-0 charge that didn't end until Kaitlyn Fischer hit a free throw with 43 seconds left in the half.

"We hit a snag where we just couldn't hit a basket," said Collinsville coach Lori Billy. "I think we shot 18 percent total in the first half and that second quarter killed us. You can't do that, especially against a team like Belleville West that's going to pressure you. That's where we fell apart."

Fisher had his team open the game in a zone defense, but changed to man-to-man after Brombolich's 3-pointer. He said the Maroons executed it well.

"In my infinite wisdom we started the game playing a zone defense," he said. "Then we went man-to-man and I thought we did a great job man-to-man."

The Kahoks (9-8) didn't surrender to it, though. Brombolich hit another three-pointer and Morgan and Carlee Mahan scored in a seven-point Collinsville run that closed the gap to 39-25 in the third quarter.

“We tried to get the ball inside a little and we had a little more success with that,” Billy said. “But this wasn't our best effort, that's for sure."

But West responded with a 3-pointer from Erika Harvey and baskets from Berry and Fluker to take the lead back to 22 points, 47-25.

"That seven-point run at the end of the third sealed it," Fisher said. "What I'm trying to convince the girls is that it's not all about points. If you fill a stat sheet with rebounds and assists and steals it means you've had a good game. You have to guard and play defense. There were lapses, but overall, I liked our effort on defense."

Berry scored a game-high 23 points and Fluker added 19. Harvey and Alliyah St. John each scored six, Sydney Thurwalker had four, and Anjanice Jones and Kwanisha Quarles had two each.

Brombolich led Collinsville with eight points. Smith and Morgan each had six, Sammi Buettner scored five, Carlee Mahan had four, Aubreeny Brady and Hanna Liljegren each scored two.