Senior leads Collinsville basketball to win at Belleville East
An efficient Collinsville offense pulled off what its coach called the Kahoks’ biggest win of the year.
The Kahoks shot 68 percent from the field, missed just six shots inside the arc, and put five players in double figures in a 77-67 win at Belleville East on Tuesday.
“Belleville East is very talented and to win in their gym is obviously big for us,” Collinsville coach Darin Lee said. “I give the guys credit because they’re playing better basketball here this last week or so. Things are coming together.”
The Lancers had drubbed the Kahoks by a combined 45 points in their previous two meetings.
Collinsville (9-18) came into the game with something to prove.
“We wanted to show them we could win on their floor,” said senior Austin Knight, who scored a team-high 21 points.
The Kahoks wrap up their regular season schedule Friday against East St. Louis, then return to East on Monday in the first round of a stacked Class 4A regional.
The Lancers (15-11) entered Tuesday’s game having won three in a row. They close out the regular season Friday against Edwardsville, which is in first place in the Southwestern Conference and ranked No. 1 in Illinois 4A.
East senior and University of Illinois commit Javon Pickett spent almost all the first quarter on the bench next to head coach Abel Schrader, punishment for technical foul he drew barely a minute into the game. He came back with 12 second-quarter points, including a pair of 3-pointers and a rafter-rattling dunk off a feed from Malachi Smith.
Pickett finished with 29, but Collinsville didn’t relent and carried a 38-35 lead into halftime.
The lead changed hands eight times before East built a 54-41 lead with 5:34 to go. But five players had baskets for Collinsville during a 13-2 run that put the Kahoks back up by eight, 64-56.
East made a final run, closing the gap to three points with 1:12 left, but junior Braedan Lemp scored after a Lancer turnover and Chandler Buehne iced the game at the line.
Collinsville freshman Ray’Sean Taylor scored five of his 15 points during the key fourth quarter run. Kenrique Brown was explosive in the lane scoring six of his 11 points in the fourth quarter.
“Ray’Sean has given us a real lift,” Lee said. “Kenrique is definitely hard to guard in the middle of the floor because he’s very, very quick and stays under control. He’s battled some illness this year and it’s helped having him back healthy.”
The Kahoks hit on 23 of 29 field goal attempts inside the arc. They were 14 for 19 from the free throw line.
Knight’s 21 points was a season high for the senior guard. Buehne finished with 17, Taylor had 15, Brown scored 11 and Lemp had 10.
“You can’t have just one person scoring, because they can go box and one on you and just defend that guy,” Knight said. “When everybody touches the ball and everybody scoring, it makes it that much easier for the lead guard and anybody else on the team to score.”
For East, Rico Sylvester added 17 to Pickett’s 29 points. East shot shot 48 percent but was just 6 for 26 from three-point range.