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Belleville East holds on, spoils Collinsvilles Senior Night

February 22, 2012
By Chris Kusnerick of Collinsville High School

COLLINSVILLE • Collinsville's bid to win its first outright Southwestern Conference title in boys basketball since 1996 is on hold.

With Belleville East's Malcolm Hill blocking a potential game-winning shot by Daryn Foster in the closing seconds, visiting East hung on Tuesday to beat the Kahoks 57-56.

Collinsville (23-4 overall, 11-2 in the SWC), which already has locked up a share of the title, had an opportunity to clinch the title outright. The Kahoks' loss and a 76-65 overtime win by Edwardsville (19-5, 10-3) against O'Fallon keeps Edwardsville's title hopes alive. Collinsville still can wrap up the title Friday at home against Granite City in the regular-season finale. Edwardsville plays Friday at Alton.

"We're just out to win games right now," said East coach Ray Hoffman, whose team lost 56-55 to Collinsville on Jan. 6. "We've got O'Fallon in the first round of the regional, and they're a very good ballclub. Nothing is going to be easy the rest of the way."

Two free throws by Hill, who had a team-high 19 points, put East (17-9, 8-5) ahead by one with 26.5 seconds remaining.

"He's good at drawing contact," Hoffman said. "It was a physical game, and they were letting a lot go. When you have 19 and you call that a tough night, I'll take that."

After one turnover by each team, Collinsville had one last chance to win the game. Foster, who had a game-high 27 points, drove through the lane, but Hill batted the ball away with three seconds to play.

"I just wanted to step up to the defensive challenge, which is something I've tried to improve on all year," Hill said. "(Foster) is a great player, and he was making big buckets to keep them in the game. I was just trying to stay with him."

"In hindsight, you always think you should have run something different when you don't score." Collinsville coach Darin Lee said.

"we've got the ball in our best player's hands one-on-one, and we've done it a lot of times this year and it's really worked out well."

East led 27-25 at halftime, and boosted its lead to 35-25 with 5:55 remaining in the third quarter on a rebound basket by Khalil Smith-Traylor after a steal by Darreon Reddick.

Collinsville answered with a 15-3 run, going ahead 40-38 on a 3-point play by Foster with 2:08 to play in the quarter. Foster finished the quarter with 16 points, including three free throws with 0.2 seconds on the clock that tied the score at 45-45.

In a wild fourth quarter, Collinsville took its last lead, 56-55, on a steal and a layup by Jaris Wellmaker with 44 seconds remaining. Those were the only two points of the night for Wellmaker, who was playing on a sprained left knee after being injured in a game last week.

"He was about 60 or 70 percent," Lee said. "He hadn't practiced in three days, and it's a tough call because you never know whether he should play in that situation. But on that steal, he looked like his usual self."

Tim Goodwin had 17 points for East and Steven Brock added 11.

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