Collinsville, Ill. – Collinsville handed Althoff its first loss of the season Tuesday afternoon to advance to the championship game of the Schnucks Holiday Classic.
The Kahoks (6-6) took control early and lead 15-7 after one quarter. Top-seeded Althoff (11-1) closed out the second quarter on a 19-3 run to take a 30-23 led into the half.
The Crusaders curiously went to the four-corner offense to run out the last 1 minute 40 seconds of the half, before Marvin Bateman drilled a 3-pointer. Bateman finished the half with 14 points and led all scorers in the game with 20.
Collinsville came out swinging in the third quarter. After attempting only four 3-pointers in the first half, Brett Langley and Nic Gonet knocked down a pair of bombs in the Kahoks first three second-half possessions. A layup by Emondre Rickman with 5:38 remaining in the quarter tied the game at 31.
Althoff built a 40-34 lead with 1:40 remaining in the third quarter and seemed poised to take control when Collinsville fought back with 3-pointer from Anfirnee Wilkinson and an old-fashioned three-point play from Nic Gonet. Collinsville trailed 42-40 entering the final stanza.
The Kahoks tied the game three times in the fourth quarter only to see Althoff regain the lead. Gonet, however, hit a deep 3-pointer from the corner to give the home team a 53-51 lead with 4:02 reaming. The Kahoks never relinquished the advantage.
Rickman then took control of the game. Aided by two Gonet’s team-high six assists, the Indiana State-bound big man added a dunk, layup and four free throws to outscore the Crusaders 8-5 by himself over the next 1:30. Rickman led the Kahoks with 19 points.
Following a Rickman block, Harrison Wethers was fouled and drained both free throws to give Collinsville a 62-58 lead with 100 ticks remaining on the clock. After making only 9-17 first-half free throws, the Kahoks were clutch in the second half, making 11-14.
Althoff would not go away and cut the deficit to one with 35 seconds remaining on a CJ Colden layup. After the ball was knocked out of bounds on the ensuing possession, Collinsville turned it over on the inbound play with 18 seconds left in the game.
The Crusaders returned the favor, however, with four seconds left committing a turnover of their own. Anfirnee Wilkinson drained two free throws with just under four seconds remaining to send the Kahoks to the championship game to play last year’s champion Lincoln High School.
The Kahoks have not won the Schnucks Holiday Classic since 2004 and last advanced to the championship game in 2011. Tip off for the championship of the 31st Schnucks Holiday Classic is at 8 p.m. in Fletcher Gym.
Collinsville scorers: Rickman 19, Wilkinson 15, Wethers 10, Gonet 9, Davis 4, Buehne 4, Langley 3