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Kahoks Survive Early Scare

February 13, 2012
By Chris Kusnerick of Collinsville High School

COLLINSVILLE • There have been times this season, such as the first five minutes Friday night at Collinsville, where the Alton boys basketball team has shown tantalizing glimpses of potential.

There have been plenty of other times, though, where the Redbirds have reminded coach Will Gordon that they still are a work in progress. That was the case again Friday, as the Collinsville came back from a 12-point first-quarter deficit to earn a 75-59 victory at home.

Collinsville improved to 21-3 overall and remains atop the Southwestern Conference standings at 9-1. Alton dropped to 7-17 and 1-10.

A rebound basket by Tyrome Parker put Alton ahead 10-0 with 5:42remaining in the first quarter. A 3-pointer by A'bara Brown -- the Redbirds' fourth trey of the game -- extended their lead to 16-4 with 3:09 left in the quarter.

"If you start hitting from the 3-point arc, you can score a lot of points in a hurry," Collinsville coach Darin Lee said. "I was disappointed we didn't defend them a little better, but they did that to us the last game. They're a streaky team -- they put a 19-0 run on O'Fallon."

Collinsville answered with a 26-7 run, as back-to-back treys by Chris Mathes gave the Kahoks a 30-23 lead with 5:01 to play in the second quarter. A 3-point play by Jaris Wellmaker, who finished with a game-high 21 points, put Collinsville on top 38-30 at halftime.

"We went to the zone press, which we haven't done a lot, but any press with Wellmaker on top of it can be can be effective," Lee said.

"We stepped up our defense -- after the first quarter, we were all over them," Wellmaker said. "Against our zone, they had a hard time trying to get up the court."

A jumper by the Kahoks' Devonta Crochrell made the score 45-32 with 5:40 remaining in the third quarter. Alton answered with a 12-2 run and closed the gap to 47-44 on a layup by Kevin Wade with 1:35 left in the quarter.

"They were lights out at the beginning, and they were hitting shots left and right," said Collinsville's Daryn Foster, who had 17 points. "We need to come out and play defense all four quarters, which is something we didn't do tonight."

Midway through the fourth quarter, Alton trailed 58-55, but Collinsville scored eight in a row to push the lead to 66-55 with 2:07 to play.

"We had all the momentum and we took two horrible shots," Gordon said. "It went from three points to nine just like that and we could never get over that hump again."

Parker, Brown and JaQuail Townser scored 14 points apiece for Alton.

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