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Kahoks Stay Hot with Win over Warriors

January 4, 2012
By Chris Kusnerick of Collinsville High School

GRANITE CITY -- On the surface, Tuesday's game against Collinsville gave Granite City a chance to build momentum from a mostly solid performance at the Kahoks' holiday tournament that included wins over Chatham Glenwood and Quincy.Collinsville decided against that, blowing out the Warriors with an 18-0 run in the first half of an eventual 63-35 Southwestern Conference victory."That'll help any performance, won't it?" Collinsville coach Darin Lee said of the 18-0 run. "I didn't realize we had that. Daryn (Foster) and Jason (Kusnerick) were shooting it well and Wellmaker was casing pressure up front. Really, everybody played well." Coming off a second-place finish at their own Collinsville-Schnucks Holiday Classic, the Kahoks won for the seventh time in their last eight games.That included a 41-29 victory over the same Granite City squad in the tourney semifinals. Collinsville (13-2 overall, 4-1 in SWC play) is ranked second in the News-Democrat Large-School (Class 3A-4A) poll.The game was competitive briefly in the first quarter before the Kahoks tore through an 18-0 run that pushed their lead to 22-5 early in the second quarter.Foster hit seven of 11 shots and finished with 21 points despite not playing in the fourth quarter. Senior J'Vaughn Williams, coming back from a bacterial illness, added 11 points in a game that was close for all of about four minutes."We can put a lot of pressure on people," Lee said. "You don't get too many of these in the Southwestern Conference. Granite City beat some good teams in our tournament, so it was a nice win for us."Granite City (7-7, 1-4) committed nine turnovers in the first quarter and 14 in the first half, unable to deal with the Kahoks at either end of the court.Foster, who had 10 points in the first half, opened the second quarter with a 3-pointer and Collinsville hit four straight shots to extend its lead to 28-7.
"We had one half against McCluer North we didn't think was very good at the tournament, the first half," Lee said. "But other than that we played some pretty good basketball. We're playing with a lot of confidence and we've just got to keep it going. This is a big win, we're pretty excited about this one.Excitement did not match the mood of Granite City coach Steve Roustio following the lopsided defeat."This year we surprised people (at the Collinsville tournament) by winning our bracket against Glenwood and Quincy and then we played Collinsville tough, then kind of ran out of steam against East St. Louis," Roustio said. "For us to come out and play like this is just unacceptable."Granite City's leading scorer was Devin Narvaez with eight points. The Warriors committed 25 turnovers and hit just 12-of-39 shots -- and this a day after the team shot for 60 minutes trying to find their collective rhythm."I told them this can't happen again," Roustio said. "This just cannot happen again. We cannot just take a night off and just not show up and then just jog around because things aren't going well and whatever. It is a big deal, it's a real big deal --because that's embarrassing."And if they're not embarrassed, then that's a problem because I'm majorly embarrassed -- especially after coming out of Collinsville's tournament winning two games against two pretty good teams."The Kahoks worked the ball well on the perimeter, consistently finding Foster for open shots or freeing up the 6-foot-5 Williams inside.Lee said Foster's recruiting interest is picking up, with Division II powerhouse Southern Indiana joining other Division II schools, plus Southwestern Illinois College and Kaskaskia College."Tonight he really looked good," Lee said. "He didn't force anything. We got him the ball when we needed to make shots and that's important." Copyright 2012 Belleville News-Democrat. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed. 

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