COLLINSVILLE - Trevon Bond led Granite City with 13 points as Collinsville slowly but surely took control of the game in the third quarter, outscoring the Warriors 15-5, including the first four points of the half, as the Kahoks took a 50-35 decision over Granite Tuesday night at Vergil Fletcher Gym.
The Warriors played very well in the first half, hitting their three-point shots and holding Collinsville's big three of Jarmorie Wysinger, Jake Wilkinson, and Zach Chambers exceptionally well, but Collinsville started to take control in the third quarter and was able to pull away from Granite in taking the win.
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"We felt good, the kids are tired," said Warrior head coach Gerard Moore, "we just played last night and you play a team like Collinsville - first of all, that's one of the better teams, if not the best team, in the Southwestern Conference, in my opinion, top two, counting Belleville East. So you've got to have legs to play. And I thought that in the first half, we played a good game, we had a good defensive plan, did a good job on the big kid, Chambers, did a good job on (Wysinger) and (Wilkinson).
"But in the second half, they changed it up a little bit on the offense and started running a little bit of different motion, we got held up a few times, were able to get downhill, and got shots off, which allowed the bigs to get offensive rebounds and we weren't prepared for that. We didn't do a good job in the second half boxing out, I felt we got a little bit lazy or tired, and that kind of opened up the game a little bit. And once they go up 10, you're playing an uphill battle from there, now it's keep away. So. like I said, Collinsville is really, really good."
The Warriors had a big win the night before over McCluer High of Ferguson, Mo. at home and the back-to-back games definitely took their toll on Granite.
'That definitely played a factor," Moore said. "McCluer, a St. Louis team, they played fast and they like to get up and down and press and there was no time, really, to conserve energy. So we had to play a full game and our bench is not as strong as we would like it to be. They're young and they're getting better, they tried their best, but we didn't have enough to sustain two games back-to-back and have the same level of intensity throughout the whole game tonight.
But not taking away from Collinsville," Moore continues. "As I said, Collinsville, in my opinion, is one of the top teams in our area and they're going to be a force to be reckoned with down the road."
The Warriors have played well in getting off to a 5-4 start, playing against some top competition, which can only help the team down the road.
"We're 5-4 right now," Moore said. "I thought we played two really good teams. Two of our losses were against two really good teams; Triad, which was big, and I think Triad is one of those top, up-and-coming teams in our area, and Springfield was pretty big and solid. And KIPP (Academy of St. Louis), who beat us, is 7-0. So we've played a decent schedule against some decent opponents and then tonight, against Collinsville, and the Kahoks, coached by coach (Darin) Lee, is really good. I'm always excited to play this game because you get to watch the mastermind do his thing on the sidelines and I just love how he gets his kids to play and run his system and all he does is win. And you've got to respect that, you've got to watch and learn from it and try and get better., watching the good ones do what they do best, coach a game of basketball."
The teams traded baskets to start the game before Wysinger sank a three to give the Kahoks a 5-2 lead, which became 9-2 on baskets by Nick Horras and Wilkinson, but Johnnie Smith his a three before the end of the quarter to make it 9-5 for Collinsville after one. After Wilkinson hit a three at the start of the second quarter, Mario Brown hit a three and another basket to cut the Collinsville lead to 12-10 and back-to-back threes from Bond and Smith put the Warriors up 16-12. Wysinger hit on five straight points, a three and a shot from outside, to give Collinsville the lead back at 17-16, and late in the period, Wilkinson scored at the end of a break to give the Kahoks a 20-18 lead at halftime.
The key play of the game happened at the start of the second half when Wilkinson hit two of three free throws at the star and after Wilkinson missed the third, Chambers swooped in to grab the rebound and score to give Collinsville a 24-18 lead. After Ivan Gaston hit a three to cut the lead to 24-21, the Kahoks went on an 11-2 run the rest of the period, led mainly by Chambers and Wilkinson, to go ahead after three quarters 35-23. Collinsville continued to pull away, leading by as much as 15 points. Bond did his best to keep Granite in the game, hitting a pair of shots to make the score 44-32, but the Kahoks' lead was too much as Collinsville went on to the 50-35 win.
Bond led the Warriors with 13 points, while Brown added 11 points, Smith scored six points, Gaston hit for three points and Tristin Riggins had two points.
Wysinger's 20 points led the Kahoks, with Wilkinson adding 14 points, Horras scored eight points, Chambers had four points and both Adam Rimar and K.J. Thorps-Watt scored two points.
The Kahoks are now 7-2 on the year, while the Warriors go to 5-4 and are on the road going into the Holidays, playing at KIPP Friday night, then are at Madison on Dec. 20 and Belleville East on Dec. 22 before playing Lincoln first in the Collinsville Prairie Farms Holiday Classic Dec. 28. Moore knows it's a tough schedule coming up and also knows the Warriors will be ready to go.
"Well, we've got to go back to the drawing board," Moore said. "We have KIPP coming up on Friday at their place. As I said, they are 7-0, we've got to be ready to play. I'll get the guys some rest; I'm going to give them tomorrow off and game plan on Thursday night for Friday. I'm excited about the Collinsville tournament; we've got Lincoln in our draw, so we have a good bunch of basketball coming up. We've got Lincoln in the Collinsville tournament, we've got Belleville East coming up, KIPP, and Madison. So we're excited about that; we've just got to keep pushing."