Junior Javon Pickett had designs on setting a Belleville East single-game scoring record Friday night.
Collinsville prevented that from happening by employing a box-and-one on the 6-foot-4 Pickett in the second half, but junior Rico Sylvester stepped up for the Lancers as they defeated the Kahoks 65-50 in a Southwestern Conference game.
“They got in a box-and-one, so Coach (Abel Schrader) said a lot of shots were going to be open for us other four on the court,” said Sylvester, who scored 16 of his 22 points in the second half to keep the Lancers in control. “We just screened each other and got ourselves open. I knocked down a couple of shots and so did my teammates.”
Pickett scored 27 of his 31 points in the first half as the Lancers (11-4 overall, 4-2 SWC) earned their fifth consecutive victory. Collinsville (5-8, 1-5) lost its third in a row.
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With Pickett subdued in the second half, Collinsville trimmed its 41-21 halftime deficit to 10 on two occasions early in the fourth quarter, arousing hopes for an amazing comeback.
But Sylvester hit a 3-pointer from the left corner, one of his five in the game, to make it 59-46 with 6:26 to play. The Kahoks would get no closer.
“Credit Collinsville for not throwing in the towel at halftime,” Schrader said. “They cut it to 10 and Rico made a couple of big 3s. Guys stepped up.
“(Rico) has been playing for us since midway through his freshman year. He’s got a lot of varsity experience and we’ve got high expectations for the way he plays.”
Pickett was sensational in the first half as the Lancers built their 20-point lead at the intermission by going 9-for-16 from the field and 8-for-10 from the free-throw line.
Pickett, who has scored 161 points in the Lancers’ winning streak, had 18 points in a wild second quarter in which East outscored the Kahoks 23-7.
They got in a box-and-one, so Coach (Abel Schrader) said a lot of shots were going to be open for us other four on the court. We just screened each other and got ourselves open. I knocked down a couple of shots and so did my teammates.
Belleville East junior Rico Sylvester
“It was dynamic,” Sylvester said of Pickett’s first-half showing. “We were getting it to him, trying to throw lobs to him and everything. It was pretty cool. We were getting him the ball and he was doing his thing.”
Schrader was pleased with the whole team’s performance.
“We played pretty good basketball in the first half to get going,” he said. “We got out in transition and got some layups. We made a bunch of good, open shots and played with a lot of confidence. We had a lot of good energy.”
A lot of Pickett’s points came off our turnovers. That hurt us. Until we become a little better with our decision-making with the basketball, we’re going to struggle against these talented teams we have to play.
Collinsville coach Darin Lee
Pickett’s big first half had fans asking, “What’s the scoring record at East?” Pickett was way ahead of pace until struggling with the box-and-one, in which he was guarded by senior Zach Flora. But Pickett fell well short of the record of 43 points in a game set by Malcolm Hill and Mike Dale.
“A lot of Pickett’s points came off our turnovers. That hurt us,” said Collinsville coach Darin Lee, whose team committed 12 of its 17 turnovers in the first half. “Until we become a little better with our decision-making with the basketball, we’re going to struggle against these talented teams we have to play.”
Senior Tommy Maden had a team-high 20 points for Collinsville. Sophomore Jake Hall had 12 and junior Ronnie Midgett had 11, all of them coming in the second half.
East will be idle until Friday when it plays at Granite City at 7:30 p.m. Friday.
Collinsville will play at Quincy at 7:30 p.m. Saturday. The Kahoks lost to the Blue Devils 61-38 on Dec. 29 in the Collinsville-Prairie Farms Holiday Classic.