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East St. Louis extends winning streak to 10 with victory over Collinsville

January 28, 2013
Collinsville High School

Scott Marion |  STLhighschoolsports.comstltoday.com |                                           Posted: Friday, January 25, 2013 11:15 pm

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."

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