COLLINSVILLE – The Granite City Warriors earned their 12th win of the season Friday night in a Southwestern Conference boys' basketball game against the Collinsville Kahoks at Vergil Fletcher Gym.
The Warriors improved to 12-10 overall and 5-4 in the SWC with a 67-58 victory.
“This is as good as we’ve been at this time of year,” Granite City coach Steve Roustio said. “But you can look back and always find games where you should have won. There are some games that we won that we could have easily lost.”
The contest was close in the early minutes as it was tied three times, including 12-12. Collinsville put together a 6-0 run in the final two minutes of the first quarter and led 17-12 at the end it. Outside shooting made the difference for the Kahoks in the first quarter as treys from Tommy Maden and Ronnie Midgett accounted for the 6-0 run.
Yet Collinsville, which dropped to 9-13 overall and 2-7 in the SWC, couldn’t sustain its momentum. The game was tied at 17-17 and 19-19 early in the second quarter. Malique Mason’s basket at the 4:07 mark ignited a 9-4 Granite City run and the Warriors led 32-26 at halftime.
Granite City continued to control the lead throughout the third quarter and the Warriors led 48-38 at the end of the third. The outside shooting that aided the Kahoks’ cause in the first quarter faded in the second and third quarters. Collinsville had one trey in the second quarter and one in the third. Granite City benefited from a strong post game. Its guards worked the ball inside and the post players capitalized on scoring opportunities.
“Our interior passing was exceptional tonight,” Roustio said. “I think there were some times when we made just one extra pass when one of our post players got the ball in the paint and they came over with a helper and left the other guy on the block. I think a few times we got some nice interior passing for a layup. I believe we did a better job of mixing it up, getting to the rim and not just settling for threes. It’s a whole new dimension of the game we weren’t doing.”
A trio of players scored in double figures for the Warriors. Kenny Berry led the way with 18 points. Tra’ron Allen finished with 17 points and Ron Allen scored 15.
“This win was a team win; there wasn’t just one person that stood out,” Berry said. “Our interior passing and our defense were good tonight.”
Roustio said his team’s rebounding made a difference.
“Early in the game, I thought Ron Allen did a good job of being aggressive,” Roustio said. “He wasn’t getting boxed out. Even on the possessions when he was getting boxed out, he was jockeying for possession. He had some nice offensive rebounds where he was able to keep our offensive possession tonight.”
Collinsville’s long-range shooting returned in the fourth quarter. Midgett sank three treys while Maden had one. Midgett nailed 3-pointers at the 6:05 mark and at the 5:44 mark. The second of the two cut Granite City’s lead to 52-46.
Maden’s three at the 1:36 mark cut the Warriors' lead to 61-53 and Midgett’s final trey at the 1:14 mark narrowed Granite City’s advantage to 62-56. But once again, the Kahoks' outside game wasn’t enough and Granite City capitalized from the foul line in the final 74 seconds of the contest. The Warriors went 5-for-8 from the charity stripe. Midgett finished the game with 26 points, while Maden scored 18 points.
“No matter what we did tonight, we couldn’t stop Midgett and we couldn’t stop Maden,” Roustio said. “Those guys were on fire.”
Collinsville coach Darin Lee said his team’s guarding could have been better.
“We just don’t defend well enough to beat a good team,” Lee said.
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