Edwardsville didn’t have depth in the scoring department Friday, but it didn’t matter.
The Tigers received points from just three players in a 45-42 triumph over the Collinsville Kahoks in a Southwestern Conference tussle.
Senior guard Jack Marinko continued his torrid start to the season with a game-high 25 points and five 3-pointers to help the Tigers improve to 4-1 overall and 2-0 in the SWC.
“I think that’s just the seniors stepping up and knowing their role,” Marinko said, referring to himself, Caleb Strohmeier (12 points) and RJ Wilson (eight points). “I think it comes from every day at practice and knowing what to do. We’re out there working hard. I think we ran good offense. That really helped out.”
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The 6-foot Marinko, who was 9 of 14 from the field, is averaging just under 30 points from the point-guard spot. He was unfazed by Collinsville’s box-and-one defense, running here and there to get open, beating the Kahoks from long range and off the dribble-drive.
Kahoks coach Darin Lee was impressed.
“If he gets a look, he’s going to make it,” Lee said. “He’s one of the better shooters I’ve (seen). Well, I shouldn’t say that. I’ve coached a long time and seen some pretty good shooters. He’s very good, though.”
Collinsville, which slipped to 4-4 overall and 0-3 in the SWC with it fourth consecutive loss, was led by junior Marshall Harrison’s 14 points. Sophomore Ray’Sean Taylor had 11. Taylor connected for the Kahoks’ only 3-pointer; they attempted 13.
“They didn’t fall,” Lee said. “We didn’t get our 3s down that we needed. A couple of them were rushed. I think we could have gotten better shots for the guys they weren’t concentrating on — other than Harrison and Taylor. We didn’t them down, and I was disappointed with a couple of the layups we missed in the first half.”
No more than three points separated the teams in the first half, which ended in a 17-17 tie. Edwardsville opened a 28-23 lead on the 6-6 Strohmeier’s putback with two minutes remaining in the third quarter.
The Tigers built the margin to 33-27 early in the fourth quarter on Marinko’s 3-point play. Collinsville clawed back to within two at 37-35 on Harrison’s basket in the lane, then had a chance to tie or take the lead after getting a stop on defense.
But Marinko stole a pass from Harrison above the key and raced in for a layup while being fouled by junior Zane Baker. He converted the free throw to make it 40-35.
The Kahoks were within 43-42 on Harrison’s rebound basket with seven seconds left, but a long pass to an open Wilson resulted in a layup with three seconds left that sealed the deal.
“As soon as the game started, I could kind of tell it was a little bit of a slow pace,” Marinko said. “We kind of held the ball (in the second quarter) because that’s what Coach (Mike) Waldo felt was best for us. I thought it helped.
“There’s a lot of new guys stepping up. We’re just going to keep going from here.”
Senior Braeden Lemp and sophomore Keydrian Jones each scored six points for Collinsville, which also hurts itself by sinking just five of 11 free throws. The Kahoks have had just three points from their bench in the past two games.
“We did some things we needed to win the game,” Lee said. “But like we’ve talked about, we’re still starting three sophomores. We’re a very young team. We’re battling these teams. Generally, all my teams remember what we do in February and March, not what we do in December. That’s something we’re trying to concentrate on.”