GRANITE CITY • Call it a triple-double hat trick for Natalie O'Keefe.
The 6-foot-2 Granite City senior had the third triple-double of her career Tuesday night, picking up 24 points, 15 rebounds and 11 blocks in a 52-38 win over Collinsville. The host Warriors improved to 6-3 overall and 3-2 in the Southwestern Conference.
"Offensively, we run through her and, defensively, it starts with her protecting our basket," Granite City coach Raffi Karibian said. "She just gets better every game."
Granite City was coming off a 55-8 loss to Edwardsville on Thursday, but the Warriors bounced back in impressive fashion.
"We all wanted to play really hard and win this game after Edwardsville," O'Keefe said. "We brought the ball up the floor better. I just wanted to do whatever it took to win."
Collinsville (5-5, 2-2) got within seven points late in the game, but the Kahoks couldn't overcome an ugly first half in which they were 5-for-30 from the field.
"We just weren't very good," Collinsville coach Lori Billy said. "We decided that it was easier to play soft. Everything we talked about doing, we just didn't do."
A layup by O'Keefe gave Granite City a 9-0 lead with 2:05 remaining in the first quarter. Collinsville, meanwhile, missed its first 10 shots and didn't score until Katie McCarthy got a basket with 1:12 to play in the quarter.
The Kahoks' woes continued in the second quarter, as a 3-pointer by Lindsey Levault put Granite City ahead 21-6 with 3:46 remaining. The score was 25-11 at halftime.
A 3-point play by O'Keefe gave Granite City its biggest lead, 37-19, with 6:56 remaining in the third quarter.
"She was already a strong rebounder last year and she was an excellent defender and shot blocker, but her offensive game has stepped up," Karibian said. "She realized she had to score more for us with the loss of Paige Luehmann, who averaged 14 points a game and was an all-stater."
Collinsville pulled within 45-38 on a 3-pointer by Lexie Thompson with 36 seconds left in the fourth quarter, but it was too little, too late for the Kahoks.
"There are no excuses for us," Billy said. "(Karla) Halde is running a fever and I've got three other kids (with flu symptoms), but that's too bad. We've got to play."
Thompson had a team-high 13 points for Collinsvile, including three treys in the fourth quarter.
With 10 points, Tatiana Wartenbe was the only other Granite City player in double figures.
"The other girls are coming around," Karibian said. "Sydney Schaus made some big shots, Tatiana also had four assists and some big free throws down the stretch. Malori Meador didn't score a lot, but had nine rebounds and Catherine Jakich gave us a lot of different things."