By Phil Knapper – Metro Independent Contributor
BELLEVILLE — The Collinsville Kahoks came within an eyelash — well, make that a free throw — of upsetting top-seeded O’Fallon Wednesday night in the Class 4A Regional at Belleville West High School.
The Panthers, though, took advantage of eight missed free throws from Collinsville in the fourth quarter and got a basket from Donovan Franklin with 1.3 seconds left in regulation to force overtime. O”Fallon would then hit all seven of its free throws in the extra period to hang on for a 70-68 win.
Collinsville appeared destined to win from the get-go. Although the Panthers led 11-10 after one quarter, a 20-9 run gave Collinsville a 30-20 lead at the break.
The Panthers used their own run, a 20-11 streak, in the third period to pull within 41-40 as the fourth quarter began. Eight of the points came from Franklin, who was held to two points in the first half, but exploded for 19 in the second half and overtime, to lead all scorers with 21.
Collinsville regrouped and held the lead for almost the entire fourth quarter. It ran the clock down to 48.8 ticks left and Jacob Shaffer hit two at the line for a 54-50 lead. Anfirnee Wilkinson and Emondre Rickman added twin 1 of 2 turns at the charity stripe over the next 20 seconds, as the Kahoks took a 56-51 lead with 21.4 ticks left.
Parker Roustio hit a hit a huge 3-pointer for the Panthers, cutting the lead to 56-54 with 11 seconds left.
Then, after Harrison Wethers missed two free throws for the Kahoks, Franklin scored with 1.3 seconds left to force overtime.
Collinsville again held the lead late in overtime, taking a 64-63 lead with under a minute to play.
Naason Cook spoiled things with a steal and two free throws with 40.2 seconds left to give the lead to O’Fallon, 65-64. It would not trail again, hitting 7 of 7 at the line to salt the game away.
“We were ready to play and we played with confidence, we just missed eight free throws in the fourth quarter,” Collinsville coach Darin Lee said. “(O’Fallon) had some things go their way and we didn’t finish out the game.”
Nic Gonet led a balanced Kahoks effort with 18 points, including five 3-pointers. Wilkinson added 12 points and Rickman 11 points. Shaffer scored 10 in his final game.
The loss ends Collinsville’s season at 13-17, while O’Fallon improves to 16-12 and will play for the regional title Friday