EDWARDSVILLE - Collinsville senior forward Ray'Sean Taylor personally took over in the second quarter, scoring nine straight points during a 15-3 second quarter that helped the Kahoks go on to defeat Edwardsville 47-29 in a Southwestern Conference boys basketball game Friday night at Lucco-Jackson Gym.

Taylor and David Granger both scored 16 points to lead the Kahoks as Collinsville took over in the second quarter after the two sides tied 9-9 after one quarter, making the Tigers' task that much more difficult.

"Playing from behind against them is difficult, and (Taylor's) a really good player," said Edwardsville coach Dustin Battas. "We could have done a little better job on him; he's hard to guard. I thought our help wasn't as great; we let him catch it a little too easy, but a lot of that's because he's so good, he's skilled and he knows how to get open in the good spots. We kind of got off to a bad start, but I think we turned it over our first three possessions, then we kind of got our act together, executed some stuff and made some baskets, then a few turnovers, but a few shots too quick. When you're playing against a team like them that's really hard to guard, you want to have longer possessions make them guard us a little bit longer than we did, and we talked about that at halftime, and tried to execute these a little bit better. Then once you get behind, they'll go four corners, they'll take a page out of the mastermind, coach (Mike) Waldo's book, go four corners, then you're chasing (Taylor) and (Cawhan Smith), that makes it difficult."

The Tigers did play well in the second half as they were able to execute their offense better as they were able to make the adjustments and were able to find a groove. But the Edwardsville free throw shooting didn't go well.

"Yeah, I think so," Battas said. "I think our guys, we adjusted a little bit at halftime, and I think that we just executed things better; just a little better screen, cut better, and they know it. One of our emphasis is trying to get to the free-throw line, I thought we did that. But we've still got to make more free throws; I think we were three-for-nine tonight, which is more points we left on the table there. So I do think our guys executed things better in the third quarter, and like I said, once you're behind them, and they're willing to stand out there and spread you out, it makes it difficult.

"But we're not down on our guys," Battas continued. "We wish we would have played a little bit better. I think we self-inflicted some wounds there, but they're really good. And they make it hard to play against."

The Tigers did have some good looks at the basket throughout, but couldn't get many of the shots to drop.

"Yes, and we've got young guards," Battas said. "Jalil (Roundtree) has some experience, but he's still a young guard, and Caleb (Valentine's) new to us. Southwestern Conference play is very difficult for our point guards, and when we get into our offense in the quarter-court, I think we have a good chance. And those guys are doing great in practice, and we'll get better at that. But when we get in our offense and get our screeners screening and our cutters cutting, we think we can make baskets, and that's going to help us win games."

The Taylor nine-point run helped get the Kahoks going in the second quarter, and helped Collinsville jump out to a big lead at halftime.

"That helps," said Kahok head coach Darin Lee. "And he's a great offensive player. We're just trying to screen the ball for him, and we didn't do anything really complicated, just try to screen the big guys. Like what everybody's doing nowadays at all levels of basketball, get him in a switch situation with a big guy and let him play."

That's just one example of how talented Taylor, who recently signed a letter of intent to play for SIU-Edwardsville next season, truly is, and how he can help change a game around.

"Yeah, he is," Lee said. "He has great talent with the basketball. And the thing is Edwardsville had a lot of guys, he's got to make the decisions; sometimes, he's got to pass it, sometimes, he can shoot it. We did get a nice knockdown shot from Cawhan Smith, and that helped as well."

Granger also had a big game, which helped the Collinsville cause as well.

"He did," Lee said. "David played well. David went and got offensive rebounds, and ran the floor, did a lot of things well for us."

The Kahok defense also played well, not allowing the Tigers to penetrate the lane very much.

"Our defense has gotten better," Lee said. "We're playing hard, guys have bought in. If we're going to do anything as a team, we're going to have to guard people. I thought we did a pretty good job in preparation, they run really nice sets, we didn't get many back cuts for lay-ups. I thought we stayed up on (Brennan Weller); he's a good player. And the other thing is Cawhan Smith and Taylor are quick. They can really disrupt you, and that helps as well. We've got some length inside."

The Kahoks started the game by scoring the first five points, a three-point play by Granger and a pair of free throws from Taylor, but the Tigers got a foul line jumper from Weller and a basket from Valentine to cut the lead to 5-4. The teams traded baskets before a Granger follow made it 9-6, and Roundtree hit on a three-point play to tie the game 9-9, which is where it stood after the first quarter.

Weller hit from outside at the start of the second quarter to give the Tigers an 11-9 lead, which would be the only time Edwardsville would lead. Taylor then took control of the game, scoring on five straight free throws, then a pair of floaters inside to give Collinsville an 18-11 lead, causing the Tigers to call time out. Edwardsville did execute its offense well and got to the line, but missed five of six of their free throws in that stretch. Granger scored inside, and Smith hit a pair from outside to close out the half, making it 24-12 for Collinsville at halftime.

Nic Hemken got around a defender to score the first basket of the second half to cut the lead to 24-14, but the Kahoks then scored the next five points on a three from Granger and a basket from Nate Hall to make it 29-14. The two sides exchanged baskets the rest of the way with the Kahoks leading 33-18 after three quarters. At the start of the fourth quarter, Smith hit a floater in the lane, but Preston Weaver countered with a three to cut the Collinsville lead to 35-21. Granger scored from inside, then hit a pair of free throws to make it 39-21, and from there, the Kahoks outscored the Tigers 10-6 to make the final 49-27.

Besides the 16 points each from Taylor and Granger, Smith chipped in for Collinsville with nine points, while Weller led the Tigers with 10 points, and four different players scored three each.

The Tigers fall to 4-2, 1-2 in the SWC, and go up against Belleville Althoff Catholic in the Scott Credit Union Shootout Saturday afternoon at home in a 1 p.m. tip-off. Battas and the Tigers are looking forward to the opportunity in an event that the team is looking forward to hosting in the event.

"Our guys are looking forward to playing," Battas said. "It's a home game, it's a shootout, there's a little bit of a buzz around the community for it. We've got a lot of respect for Althoff. Our guys have a bad taste in their mouth after tonight's game; I think they think they could have done a little bit better, so they're excited about Althoff tomorrow. That's the great thing about basketball, is that you don't have to wait long to play another one, so we're looking forward to tomorrow."

The Kahoks are now 7-0, 3-0 in the conference, and also play in the shootout tomorrow, going against Chicago Morgan Park in a 6:30 p.m. tip-off. Lee is also looking forward to the challenge against the Mustangs.

"Yeah, it's going to be a different type of game," Lee said. "I don't think they're going to be as patient as the Tigers were tonight. In their last game, they scored 60 in the second half, or something like that. Hopefully, we can come ready to play, and it's a totally whole different situation for us tomorrow night. So hopefully, we can battle, and get a W. It would be a nice win for us."

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Dan Brannan also contributed to this story

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