East St. Louis extends winning streak to 10 with victory over Collinsville
January 28, 2013Collinsville High School
COLLINSVILLE • The floor of Vergil Fletcher Gymnasium is where the East St. Louis boys basketball team turned its season around, and it's where the Flyers' good fortunes continued on Friday night.
A 23-2 run during the second and third quarters helped East St. Louis take a 26-point lead on the way to a 76-60 Southwestern Conference win at Collinsville. It was the 10th win in a row for the Flyers, who improved to 14-6 overall and 5-3 in the SWC.
"I try not to look at how many games in a row we've won, because the moment you start focusing on that, you're in trouble," first-year East St. Louis coach Tony Young said. "I just look at who's next."
East St. Louis had a 4-6 record when it came into Collinsville's holiday tournament on Dec. 27. Two days and four victories later, the Flyers claimed the championship, and they haven't lost since.
"Coach had a good talk with us before tonight's game, and we came out and played hard," said 6-foot-4, 260-pound senior Johnny McCray, who led East St. Louis with 29 points. "He challenged me to step up tonight.
"Before (the Collinsville tournament) we had a team meeting and talked about how we could get better. We knew what we had to do."
Collinsville (9-13, 1-7) got another huge game from senior Falando Wilkinson, who had 29 points. But it wasn't nearly enough to keep up with East St. Louis.
"We could have taken care of the ball a little better," Collinsville coach Darin Lee said. "I thought we had a little better handle on it in the first half, but we couldn't get the ball up the floor and into Falando's hands."
A 9-0 Collinsville run, capped by Wilkinson's 3-pointer, putting the Kahoks ahead 19-18 with 5:40 remaining in the second quarter. But East St. Louis closed out the quarter with a 13-2 run, going up 41-31 at halftime.
East St. Louis scored the first 10 points of the third quarter, boosting its lead to 41-21 on a layup by McCray with 6:13 to play.
"Defense was the key for us," Young said. "We pressured the ball and we rotated the right way. That just goes to show you how good you can be when you do things right, and for a span of three minutes, they did it perfect."
A trey by Deshawn Munson gave the Flyers their biggest lead of the night, 52-26, with 4:08 left in the quarter. Munson overcame a cold-shooting first half to post his sixth consecutive triple-double with 14 points, 14 assists and 13 rebounds.
"When you think about East St. Louis basketball, it's Deshawn Munson," Young said. "He defends for us, and he probably had four or five steals as well. I'm finally getting him to buy into being a point guard on top of all the other things he does well."
A layup by Tanner Houck brought Collinsville within 67-56 with 2:13 remaining in the fourth quarter, but it was too little, too late for the Kahoks.
"We've got to learn to sustain those runs," Young said. "Our guys played hard until they got tired, so I have no beef with what they did. They played great tonight."
Daniel Williams (16 points) and Travon McCray (11) also were in double figures for East St. Louis. Chris Mathes added 11 points for Collinsville.
"Obviously we were never a threat to win the game, but we didn't quit," Lee said. "We never could get our post players established."