Collinsville’s Zach Chambers attacks the basket against East St. Louis Friday night inside Vergil Fletcher Gym. (All photos by Brad Piros)

COLLINSVILLE – Friday night’s contest between the hosting Collinsville Kahoks and East St. Louis Flyers had a lot riding on it.

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Collinsville came into the game 6-2 in the Southwestern Conference. East Side was 5-2. The winner would take the advantage in the conference heading down the stretch.

It was the Kahoks who led just about the entire game en route to a 64-58 win, improving to 24-3 on the season. East St. Louis goes to 17-7.

Collinsville, ranked No. 9 in IHSA Class 4A according to the latest AP poll, only trailed for a matter of moments early on.

After Chase Reynolds put the first points on the board, East Side’s Arlandis Brown went the other way with a basket and one to take a brief 3-2 lead. Zach Chambers tied it back up with a free throw before scoring again to make it 5-3. East St. Louis tied at 5-5 and again at 7-7 before Collinsville went on an 11-point run that got everyone involved.

It began with a three-pointer from Nick Horras, a basket from Chambers, a three from Jamorie Wysinger, and then a basket and one from Tyree Brister.

Nielan Sanders drilled a long-range three-pointer at the buzzer for the Flyers, cutting the deficit to 18-12 after the first quarter.

Chambers put up seven of his total 15 points in the first quarter alone, rising above East St. Louis and putting it home on the glass.

His life was made a little easier as East Side was missing their 6-foot-8 forward and the team’s third leading scorer Davis Bynum due to an altercation in the Flyers’ previous game against CBC.

East St. Louis was also without Isahia Brown and Lawson Bynum.

“Being without my guys was tough,” East St. Louis head coach Mark Chambers said. “We knew it was going to be tough to come in here and get a road win in this conference, especially short-handed.”

But Collinsville head coach Darrin Lee was fully aware of East Side’s situation and the Kahoks, mainly Chamber early on, took advantage.

“Zach is a load, no matter who’s out there,” Lee said. “But that’s part of the game. Guys miss games, that’s the way it is.”

After a six-point first-quarter lead the Kahoks remained in control at 33-25 at halftime.

Collinsville grew that lead to 51-39 after three quarters before East St. Louis nearly came back.

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The Flyers made it a four-point game at 54-50 with 3:06 left in the game. After a backcourt violation on Collinsville’s ensuing inbound, East St. Louis got the ball back but couldn’t take advantage of the situation.

Instead, Collinsville kept pace until the end and held on to the win.

Collinsville’s three seniors were their players in double figures.

Wysinger finished with 19 points, Chambers had 15, and Horras had 13. Brister added nine while Reynolds and Stanley Carnahan each scored four.

Taylor Powell led the Flyers with 26 points, his second-best performance of the season. He previously scored 32 against Cardinal Ritter on Jan. 15.

Against Collinsville, he came to life in the second half. To go along with him, Brown netted 13 points, the team’s only other double-digit scorer.

This snapped an eight-game win streak for the Flyers who are ranked No. 7 in Class 3A by the Associated Press.

For those reasons, coach Lee didn’t sugarcoat it. His team was a little stressed about the matchup.

“We stress all 12 conference games,” he said. “All 12 are losable, all 12 are winnable, that’s just the way it is.”

While the win certainly gives his team the advantage as they look for their first SWC title since 2020, nothing has been won yet.

East St. Louis still has four conference games remaining against Belleville West, Edwardsville, O’Fallon, and Belleville East.

Collinsville still has to play O’Fallon, Edwardsville, and Alton.

To add onto that, O’Fallon remains in striking distance sitting at 6-3 in the SWC.

Coach Chambers did end up seeing a silver lining Friday night.

“I’m really proud of my guys because they’re showing championship-level basketball,” he said. “Even though we lost this one, I feel like we’re getting better.”

“Obviously we want to win the conference,” Chambers added. “We feel like we’ve still got some good games left. Now, unfortunately, we put it kind of in [Collinsville’s] hands. But we can control what we can control and that’s winning every game from here on out.”

More like this:

May 2, 2024 - O'Fallon, Edwardsville Top Scorers at SW Conference Girls Track and Field Championship

Feb 17, 2024 - Redbirds Can't Hang On In Fourth Quarter, Lose To State-Ranked Collinsville

Feb 17, 2024 - Southwestern Conference Title Decided On Final Day Of Regular Season – SWC Teams Set For Playoffs Next Week

May 5, 2024 - Edwardsville Is Dominant In Winning Collinsville Invitational Track Meet, Knights Tie For Fifth, Flyers Ninth, Kahoks 10th  

Dec 29, 2023 - Wysinger Is Lights Out For Kahoks, Hitting Seven Threes, Scoring 21 Points As Kahoks Win Over Railers 67-41, Advance To Classic Final  

 

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