With a smooth and quick shooting stroke, Collinsville senior guard Anfirnee Wilkinson was a threat to score from anywhere on the court Friday.
Wilkinson fired in 25 points as the Kahoks rebounded from a slow start to run past Belleville West 64-57 in a Southwestern Conference game, handing the Maroons their fourth straight defeat and fifth in six games.
“I’m a shorter guard, so I’ve got to get my shots off quick over bigger guys,” said Wilkinson, who was averaging just under 11 points before Friday’s explosion. “That’s something I work on a lot. I just wanted to come out aggressive. I knew they were going to play zone a lot so we wanted to come out and hit shots. We were knocking them down.”
Collinsville (9-8 overall, 3-4 in the SWC) trailed 17-9 late in the first quarter, but flew back into the game thanks to an 11-0 run that left the Maroons (5-9, 2-5) stuck in neutral and looking for traction. Wilkinson had 13 of his 25 points in the first half while the Kahoks burned West at the free-throw line all night by sinking 18 of their 23 foul shots.
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Wilkinson wasn’t just scoring, he was bringing the ball up against heavy West defensive pressure once the Maroons fell behind.
“That’s not necessarily our style of play, the way we played the second half to have to get out and chase,” Belleville West coach Joe Muniz said. “He exploited us pretty good on that. Whenever he beat us off the dribble he pulled up and hit a 15-footer. He took what the defense gave him all night long. If we let him shoot the three, he shot threes.
“He didn’t try to force it in the basket. I respected how he went about his business tonight.”
The game turned quickly in Collinsville’s favor when the Kahoks switched from their normal man-to-man defense to a zone. The big reason they had to switch was Belleville West senior guard Austin Seibert.
The All-American kicker headed to the University of Oklahoma showed a sizzling shooting touch by draining five of his first six 3-pointers on the way to a team-high 15 points. Most never touched the rim.
“We hadn’t played a lot of man-to-man lately, but we had to because Seibert was too good of a shooter,” Lee said. “He makes it almost impossible to zone a team, you’ve got to stay next to him. That’s the problem with playing zones, if some guys get a good look at it they’re not going to miss.”
Seibert had two more 3-pointers in the fourth quarter, but the Kahoks did a much better job of keeping him in check as he was scoreless in the second and third quarter. West guard Demond White added 14 points and Eugene Jones had 13 while Tyler Dancy, tied with Jones for the team scoring lead before Friday, was held to seven points thanks to Collinsville’s inside tandem of 6-8 Indiana State recruit Emondre Rickman and 6-7 Sean Davis.
Rickman finished with 11 points for Collinsville and Ronnie Midgett came off the bench to provide offensive spark with 10 points.
Despite playing with familiar rims at home, the Maroons were just 18-for-50 from the floor (36 percent).
“As long as Austin shot it we were pretty good,” said Muniz. whose team failed to score for a nearly five-minute stretch in the second quarter. “We missed a lot of shots around the basket. Rickman causes a little bit of the yips because he’s so big and athletic, but we had a stretch there in the third quarter where we just couldn’t make a basket — and they did.”
Down 17-12 after one quarter, the Kahoks outscored West 19-7 in the second quarter and led 31-24 at halftime. They led by 42-33 heading into the fourth quarter and while the Maroons cut it to six once on a 3-pointer by Seibert, they could get no closer.
“I thought our depth helped us tonight,” Lee said. “We went deep and got some good minutes from Ronnie Midgett, (Zach) Flora and (Cole) Buene. I thought our guys off the bench really gave us some energy.”