East went up by seven points in the first two minutes and stretched its lead from 10 to 16 points in the first three minutes of the second half on the way to a 63-37 Southwestern Conference win over visiting Collinsville. The Lancers improved to 10-7 overall and 5-3 in the SWC.
"This was important for us, because lately we haven't been coming out strong in the second half," said East junior Montira Mosby, who had a game-high 19 points. "We were motivated to come out and push hard and finish the game."
Coming off a fourth-place finish at the Mascoutah Invitational, East played one of its most consistent games of the season.
"The last few times that we've played, we've had a weak third quarter," East coach Andrea Seipp said. "Starting the game fast was another focus of our pregame talk, and we were able to do both tonight."
The loss dropped Collinsville to 5-7 and 3-3.
"We talked specifically about how they were going to try to run the floor and shoot layups," Kahoks coach Lori Billy said. "I don't know what to tell them anymore other than we've got to have the experience. It's just a matter of learning and watching and growing."
A layup by Melissa Bridges, off a pass from Aniecia Brewster, gave East a 7-0 lead with 6:08 remaining in the first quarter. A pair of free throws by Erin Holl made the score 15-9 at the end of the quarter.
A trey by Lexie Thompson brought Collinsville within 15-12 with 7:40 to play in the second quarter, but a rebound basket by Sadie Mosby boosted East's lead to 27-17 with three minutes left in the quarter. The score was 29-19 at halftime.
A layup by Bridges capped an 8-2 East run and put the Lancers ahead 37-21 with 5:45 remaining in the third quarter. Collinsville never again got closer than 13 points.
"We've been working really hard in practice to fix our mistakes," Montira Mosby said. "I feel like I've been finishing my layups more and playing stronger defense and working on getting more rebounds."
Collinsville got more bad news with 4:57 to play in the fourth quarter, as 6-foot senior Karla Halde injured her right knee in a collision with Brewster. Halde, a McKendree University recruit, is the Kahoks' lone returning starter.
"We'll have to wait and see how she is," Billy said. "You never want to see that -- I don't care who it is. Hopefully it's nothing (serious), and she'll be back with us soon."
Brewster (14 points) and Bridges (11) also were in double figures for East.
"I felt like we had pretty balanced scoring," Seipp said. "Erin Holl had a really good game, and we hit the boards well. Sadie Mosby had a lot of rebounds. Everyone contributed in one way or another.
"I was most proud of our defense. Our goal is to hold teams to 40 points or less, and the girls have been taking a lot of pride in trying to reach that goal."
Aubreeney Brady (10 points) and Thompson (9) were the leading scorers for Collinsville.