Edwardsville vs Collinsville
Collinsville senior Marshall Harrison did his part with 15 second half points Tuesday as the Kahoks held off Edwardsville 49-36 in a Southwestern Conference game.
Looking to stay in the midst of the SWC race and continue to progress heading into the IHSA Class 4A playoffs which begin in less than two weeks, the Kahoks (25-3) had their hands full as Edwardsville (6-18) controlled tempo, and stayed within striking distance until the final four minutes.
But Harrison, a 6-foot-3 senior, hit a pair of short jumpers and junior guard Cahwan Smith made three of four free throws down the stretch as Collinsville broke the game open.
“Edwardsville has always been tough to play here. Everybody in our (Southwestern) Conference is not an easy team to play,’’ Kahoks coach Darin Lee said. “They came out, took care of the basketball and hit the shots in the first half. Coach (Dustin) Battas has done a good job with this basketball team. Plus, how many games have we won in this gym over the years ... not many.’’
The win extends the Kahoks’ streak to 12 and keeps them undefeated in 2019. Collinsville’s last loss came to Springfield Southeast in the title game of the Collinsville Holiday Tournament.
But it doesn’t get any easier for Lee’s team. The Kahoks (7-2 in SWC) will host Belleville West (24-3) on Friday for the second time in 10 days. Collinsville handed the Maroons their first conference loss in more than two years, winning 58-56 on Feb. 5. The Kahoks close our their regular season on Feb. 22 when they host SWC leading East St. Louis.
“The goal is to keep playing better as we head into the stretch drive here,’’ Lee said. “We want to be playing our best basketball of the season when the tournament starts in a little over two weeks from now.’’
On Tuesday, it was Harrison who was at his best in the second half. At one time midway in the fourth quarter, the Kahoks forward had all but six of his team’s second half points.
“Marshall really had a good game for us tonight. He can score and he can finish well around the basket,’’ Lee said.
Junior Ray’ Sean Taylor added 11 points for Collinsville while senior Jaylon Tuggle led the Tigers with 10 points.
Following the game, Battas said Collinsville was among the top teams his Tigers have played this season.
“We’ve played Belleville West twice, Collinsville twice, East St. Louis three times and Alton. They (Collinsville) are right there with the best of them,’’ Battas said. “East St. Louis, Belleville West, Collinsville and Alton, I think all of those teams are state-caliber teams.’’