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Alton Athletics

Alton High School


Alton Athletics

Alton High School

Alton Athletics

Alton High School



8.0 years ago

Sectional Preview - STL Today 3/10/2015

Alton poses familiar challenge in Collinsville's postseason run


It's been a mystery. Until now. And no one involved really wants to know the answer as long as it means the Kahoks keep winning.

Something that has troubled the Collinsville boys basketball team all season, except for a weekend in late January at the Jerseyville Tournament, has been putting consecutive terrific efforts together.

In the playoffs, the Kahoks have found a way to do that and want a third top-notch effort against Alton in the Class 4A Pekin sectional semifinal at 7 p.m. Tuesday at Belleville East tonight.

"We've always had the potential," Collinsville coach Darrin Lee said. "The gap between us and the best programs has never been that big."

The Kahoks (20-12) proved it last week in the Belleville West regional as the third-seeded squad took out No. 2 seed O'Fallon by 18 points in the semifinals and No. 1 seed East St. Louis 58-50 in the championship.

Both East St. Louis and O'Fallon — the Nos. 2 and 7 teams in the large-schools rankings — had swept the Kahoks in the regular season. Didn't matter.


The Flyers had gone 14-0 in conference play. Collinsville didn't care.

Perhaps the finality of the postseason has pushed the team jam-packed with seniors to heights it hadn't reached since 2006.

"Nobody wants the season to end," senior Anfirnee Wilkinson said.

Wilkinson, a 5-foot-10 guard, has played a big part in the surge, with his scoring, defense and the occasional rebound. He has help in the backcourt from 5-foot-11 sophomore Ronnie Midgett and 6-foot seniors Brett Langley, a sharpshooter; and Nic Gonet.

Seniors Harrison Wethers and Cole Buehne, both 6-3, add some size and shooting ability on the wings. In the post the Kahoks have lanky, agile Emondre Rickman, who is 6-8, and burly, banger Sean Davis at 6-7.

"We've had the potential," Lee said. "We have size, the guards. At times we've had trouble taking care of the ball. Or something else was off that night. But the guys are playing together and playing hard."

Collinsville's challenge now is Alton (26-4), the No. 3 team in the rankings. Alton beat the Kahoks both times in the regular season by eight points, once in December and once in February.

Collinsville had an 11-point lead in the second half of the second meeting, but turnovers, Alton's defense and some unusual slow-down tactics on offense by Alton proved too much.

In that game, the Kahoks got the ball to Rickman and Davis inside and the duo combined for 16 points. In the second half, the big men didn't get many touches and scored only a combined three in the second half.

Alton's roster is similar to Collinsville but with even more skilled perimeter players. Bryan Hudson, a 6-7 senior, gives the Redbirds an inside presence, but the team is at its best pressuring its opponent and getting easy offense from its defense.

Seniors Carlos Anderson, a 6-4 guard on his way to SIU-E, and 6-2 Darrius Edwards are the Redbirds top perimeter players, but sophomores Maurice Edwards and Demonte Wigfall contribute plenty along with seniors LaVonte Hobbs and Isaiah Thurmond.

"I think the guys will take the title of underdogs in this game," Lee said. "I know their confidence has gone up in the last week. Alton beat us twice, but so did O'Fallon and East St. Louis. We've got to handle their pressure, we've got to rebound and not turn the ball over."