Tag: collinsville

Friday night lights on the hardwood

A big matchup tonight in the Southwestern Conference.

Collinsville is on a roll and sits undefeated at 22-0 and ranked #2 in the state. The Kahoks weren’t a team pegged early in the season to be undefeated as the calendar flips to January, but here we are. They’ve taken every challenge presented to them, and well, have won. Ray’Sean Taylor has scored 97 points his last two games! Even when you try to take him away, other guys step up and are difference makers. Can anyone slow them down?

O’Fallon has been sitting right there waiting on an opportunity to play Collinsville at their place. Losing 53-50 on a buzzer beater earlier to Collinsville, O’Fallon has not lost again in conference play since that Cawhan Smith dagger. Led by Shaun Riley II, Caleb Burton and Dawson Algee, O’Fallon has the size and guard play to match up with Collinsville.

This game could decide the Southwestern Conference race. Get your popcorn ready!

Cawhan Smith keeps the Kahoks undefeated


Cawhan Smith (2020) played this past Summer with Gateway Illinois on the RecruitLook Hoops League and so we got to see him several times throughout the grassroots season. The word that describes him best is… Gutsy.

Cawhan plays at Collinsville High School — the number 1 ranked large class school in the greater St. Louis Area — and their undefeated season was on the line at the Highland Shootout against De Smet.

Ray’Sean Taylor, Cawhan’s Collinsville and Gateway IL teammate, gets a lot of the pub and rightly so — Taylor is in the conversation for Mr. Basketball Illinois this year. But, it was Cawhan’s night to shine, even on a night where Taylor had 26 points, 9 rebounds, 6 assists and 6 steals.

Cawhan had a gutsy performance — hitting big shot after big shot on his way to 17 points.

Cawhan hit a 3-pointer with 2 minutes left in OT to tie the game. He then hit a pair of free throws with :50 seconds left to give Collinsville the lead, but his best was still to come. Cawhan stepped up and hit a game winning 3-pointer at the buzzer!

Eight points in overtime. Game winner. Undefeated season still intact. What a performance!

Ray’Sean Taylor is making his case for Mr. Basketball Illinois

We saw Ray’Sean Taylor a lot this past spring and summer on the RecruitLook Hoops League and immediately loved his game. In fact, we thought so highly of his play that we crowned his MVP over several other high-major and mid-major division one prospects.

Ray’Sean is tough. He has that dog mentality in him. He’s the type of guy that can carry a team — and that is what he’s doing right now. Ray’Sean has his Collinsville High School squad off to an 8-0 start and ranked #1. We caught up with him…

RLH: What are your stats 8 games into the season?

RT: I’m averaging 23.4 points per game, 5.4 assists per game, 5.1 rebounds per game, 2.1 steals per game.

RLH: You guys are 8-0 and now have the target on your back. What’s it like knowing everyone is going to give you their best game?

RT: It feels good. This is the best start we’ve had in my career and we just have to keep improving. And about teams gunning for us… we just have to stay focused and realize we are going to get everyone’s best game and play with an edge.

RLH: You just beat a super talented Morgan Park team with several division one players — a team that is one of the best in the state. What is your takeaway from this game?

RT: It was a good hard fought win, and a momentum win for us. I think we proved that we are a very good team, but ultimately it doesn’t mean much so we’ll keep improving and working toward our goals.

RLH: You’ve cemented your name in the conversation for Mr. Basketball in the state of Illinois. Was this a goal of yours?

RT: Yes. It is a personal goal of mine… even if it is far fetched.

RLH: You played for Coach Cunningham, a former division one coach, this spring and summer on the RecruitLook Hoops League. How did that prepare you for your senior season?

RT: Playing for coach DC (Deryl Cunningham) prepared me on the court. He pushed me as a vocal leader more than anything and helped improve my game in every aspect, and because of that, I am leading my team the very best that I can.

RLH: You signed at SIUE and coach Barone. With all the D1s recruiting you, what made you feel comfortable to go SIUE?

RT: Coach Barone, Coach Pierce, and the entire staff showed so much love and made me feel apart of a family. And it was the best fit for me as a basketball player and the role I can play there.

Previewing opening night in the Southwestern Conference

Friday is the opening of Southwestern Conference Play. All teams are off to good starts, so this season of conference play is going to be entertaining.

Here is a preview of Friday’s Action

Ethyn Brown 2021

Belleville East at East St. Louis

The defending State Champions, East St. Louis, started the season 2-1 and are led by seniors LaShawn Johnson, Armond Williams and Jashawn Anderson. The flyers come into the match-up with these three seniors averaging double figures, an impressive front line and a swarming defense. East St. Louis is currently ranked 4th in the first AP basketball Poll

Belleville East has started the season 3-1 and is led by Junior Ethyn Brown, Sophomore Braxton Stacker and freshman Jordan Picket. While Belleville East may not have the size of East St. Louis, Belleville East does present multiple players that can attack the rim and are dangerous in transition. 

Edwardsville at Belleville West

Edwardsville has started the season 3-0 lead by Juniors Jalil Roundtree, Brennan Weller and Caleb Valentine. Edwardsville won the Jacksonville Tourney beating Macomb, Jacksonville and Glenwood Chatham. 

Belleville West starts the season going 2-3 playing in the always loaded Washington Tournament of Champions. West is led by the dynamic duo of Senior Greg Wells and Junior Tommie Williams. 

Shaun Riley 2021

O’Fallon at Collinsville

O’Fallon comes into the game 4-0 after winning the Alton Tip-off Tourney and are led by Juniors Shaun Riley, Mason Blakemore and sophomores Caleb Burton and Dawson Algee. O’Fallon has a mixture of size, athletes and shooters, which makes this team a difficult match-up. O’Fallon received a few votes in the first AP basketball Poll

Collinsville comes into the contest with a 4-0 record after an impressive showing — winning the Pyramid Tourney. Collinsville is led by Seniors Ray’Sean Taylor (26 ppg), Keydrian Jones, Cawhan Smith and junior Nate Hall. Collinsville can matchup with any style and has the Conference’s returning leading scorer in Ray’Sean Taylor. Collinsville is currently ranked 5th in the first AP Basketball Poll.

Alton has a bye on opening weekend.

What a great way to start off Conference Season!