Panthers Hoops open SWC play with win


basketballEDWARDSVILLE – The O’Fallon Township High School Boys Basketball Team didn’t have to wait too long to enjoy the first Southwestern Conference win of the Brian Muniz era as the Panthers took down a feisty Collinsville team to earn their fourth win of the young season.

In an event held at Southern Illinois University Edwardsville’s Vadalabene Center to mark the start of SWC play, the Blue and Gold got off to a two-point lead at the end of the first quarter but would not be able to build on that before the half as the two teams went to the locker rooms in the midst of a 29-27 grind of a game.

The Kahoks would come out of the half with an adjusted offensive focus and improved defensive effort that would dig O’Fallon a one-point hole heading into the decisive final frame.

But OTHS’ rookie Head Coach is no true greenhorn on the sidelines, and Muniz’ savvy created an offensive downpour that Collinsville could not possibly have kept up with, outscoring the Purple and White 22-11 to manufacture a compelling 61-51 win.

O’Fallon’s offense was at its best when it drove to the rim, resulting in either shots up close or fouls resulting in free throws. The result was a 25-46 shooting night, managing to top a 51 percent shooting effort from the Kahoks.

Muniz’ charges were led by the efforts of a couple of good-looking juniors in Jalen Hodge and Ronnie Anthony.

The pair took turns leading the Panther attack, as Anthony scored 13 points in the  first half and Hodge scored 12 in the pivotal fourth. Both would combine to score 39 of O’Fallon’s 61 points on the day.

Belleville West, coached by Muniz’ brother Joe, would also collect its first win of the conference slate at SIUE, topping Edwardsville 59-53. East St. Louis would top Belleville East 84-77 at the event.