Collinsville senior Braeden Lemp will never forget his final home game.
Lemp scored the go-ahead basket with 32.8 seconds to play Tuesday as the Kahoks rallied twice to defeat Belleville East 64-60 in a Southwestern Conference game.
With Collinsville trailing 60-59, sophomore Ray'Sean Taylor sneaked in from behind and stole the ball from the hands of Lancers senior Riley Barnes. Taylor fed Lemp for the layup.
"That was a huge play," Lemp said. "Ray'Sean's been doing a great job creating opponent's turnovers all year. I was just lucky enough to read it. I knew he was going to gamble for that (steal). Luckily, he got it. If not, it probably wouldn't have turned out our way."
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Collinsville (16-12, 4-9) won both games against East (11-15, 2-11) this season by a combined five points, including a 59-58 decision Jan. 5 in Belleville.
"We finished the game awfully strong," Kahoks coach Darin Lee said. "We created a few turnovers, and that certainly helped.
"It was the last home game for Braeden, so it was nice to see him finish on a high note. We could have quit the first half. We kept having to come back. We were very opportunistic at the end."
Lemp and sophomore Keydrian Jones led the Kahoks with 16 points apiece. Taylor finished with 11, while sophomore Cawhan Smith scored eight.
Junior Isaiah May had a game-best 19 points and five 3-pointers for the Lancers, while senior Jordan Yates had 16 points before fouling out with 57.7 seconds to play.
"We play a lot of close games, but we do not finish at the end," Lancers coach Jeff Creek said. "We just can't take care of the ball at the end. We work on it in practice; we try to do whatever we can. But for some reason, we short-circuit at the end of games and throw them away.
"It's frustrating how hard our kids work to not be able to finish off games."
The Lancers, who led 40-32 at halftime on the strength of eight 3-pointers, fell behind 49-44 when Taylor scored for Collinsville with 6:20 to play in the game.
But May responded with eight consecutive points — a jumper from the left baseline that was sandwiched by a pair of 3-pointers — to put the Lancers on top 52-49.
Junior Jared Adams made another 3-pointer for East to make it 58-53 with 3:06 left. After a dunk by Yates, the Lancers were ahead 60-56 with 1:16 to play.
Lemp followed with a 3-point play, then took the feed from Taylor after his steal at midcourt and scored while being fouled.
Lemp missed the free throw, but Barnes then missed the front end of a one-and-one with 32 seconds remaining. Taylor made two free throws to put Collinsville ahead 63-60 with 27.2 seconds. May then air-balled a 3-pointer. The Kahoks got the rebound before junior Marshall Harrison made a free throw to seal the game with 10.8 seconds left.
Lee said Taylor's steal and assist was "the play of the game."
"Braeden finished it, but it was a great steal by Ray," Lee said. "It was just a great finish."
The Lancers were 8 of 13 from beyond the arc in the first half and finished with 11 3-pointers on 19 attempts. Overall, East was 22 of 38 (58 percent). It committed 13 turnovers, nine coming in the second half.
Collinsville was a sizzling 27 of 42 from the field (64 percent). Smith was 4 of 4, Lemp was 6 of 9 and Jones was 8 of 10. The Kahoks had just eight turnovers.
"This is a big one for me, thinking back of high-school basketball," Lemp said. "It's bittersweet, but I'm glad I'm ending my career at Fletcher (Gym) with that game."