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Vergil Fletcher
1960s — The Golden Era of Kahok Basketball
Excitement built early in Collinsville, as a veteran squad was ready to open the 1960-61 season. The Kahoks started as expected, defeating all comers, but just prior to the East St. Louis game, early in the season, Collinsville's center Bogie Redmon broke his ankle in a practice session. Bogie missed five weeks of the season and a total of nine games. The team continued to win without Bogie and developed into a more rounded team, as each player had to carry a larger load.

With Bogie back in the line-up, the team continued to dominate the area, sweeping through the schedule. They also won the Granite City Regional Tournament, the Wood River Sectional Tournament and, on a last second basket, defeated Centralia in the Super-Sectional Tournament. What happened in Champaign in the State Finals was unheard of, as the "Mighty Kahoks" destroyed all three opponents: East Rockford, 71-48, Peoria Manual, 76-39, and Thornton-Harvey for the Championship, 84-50. They finished with a record of thirty-two wins and no defeats and became Collinsville's first State Champion.

One can only describe this team as "The Greatest of Them All." The fabulous 60's continued, as the next four seasons, 1961-62 through 1964-65, the Kahoks won the Conference Championships all four years, the Collinsville Tournament all four years, and the East St Louis Holiday Tournament three of the four years.

The 1961-62 team lost to Madison by a very lopsided score 83-44 in the Regional Tournament to finish their season.

The 1962-63 team was able to win both the Regional and Sectional Tournaments and advance to the Super-Sectional Tournament. Centralia became the spoiler, defeating the Kahoks, 69-48.

The 1963-64 season, followed the 1963 season to the letter except the Kahoks went through the entire season, the Regional and the Sectional Tournaments, without losing a game. Centralia again became the roadblock and ended the season for the second year in a row. Final record was twenty-eight wins and one loss.

The 1964-65 season began without great fanfare, as only one regular player was returning. Although a group of players, who were previously undefeated as sophomores and on the junior varsity level, were on hand. The early season proved very unexciting, although the Kahoks did win most of their games. After the start of the new year, the team started to jell and did not lose another game, winning the Regional Tournament, the Sectional Tournament and defeating a good Lawrenceville team in the Super-Sectional.

In the State Tournament, Collinsville was not picked at any time as the team that would win. After defeating Lockport Central, 70-45, only the Kahoks believed that they could win and go all the way. No one gave them a chance against the speedy Marshall team out of Chicago in the second game. The final score was Collinsville 76, Marshall 64. Again, in the Championship game, the best that the experts could see, was that Collinsville would finish second. However, as many experts are wrong in predicting basketball winners, the Kahoks won the game by defeating Quincy, 55-52, to win their second State Championship Title in five years.

Again in 1965-66 season, Coach Fletcher pulled his magic strings to come up with a group of inexperienced boys and develop them into a winning team. This team only lost three games during the entire season and all three to a good Belleville team. The last loss coming in the first game of the East St. Louis Sectional, 71-66.

In the first game of the 1966-67 season, the Kahoks defeated Dupo 103-52. This win set the pattern for the season, as they continued to be a high scoring team throughout the season. The Kahoks won the Conference undefeated, won the Collinsville Tournament, placed second in the Carbondale Tournament, and won both the Regional and Sectional Tournaments to advance to the Super-Sectional Tournament at Charleston. There they defeated Effingham 59-48 to advance to Champaign. The team lost in the first game to Carbondale by the score of 53-47.

The 1967-68 Kahoks won their first twelve games, which included the Collinsville and the Carbondale Tournaments. In the final game of the Carbondale Tournament, Kahok center Tom Parker scored 50 points to set a new school scoring record. The Kahoks also won the Conference for the fifteenth time during Coach Fletcher's twenty-two years in Collinsville.

The Kahoks advanced to the State Tournament again during the 1969-70 season. Along the way winning another Conference Championship, winning the Collinsville, Carbondale and both Regional and Sectional Tournaments. They lost their third game of the season in the first round of the state playoffs, playing in Charleston, and losing to a speedy St. Anthony of Effingham team, 85-79. The Kahoks were completely outplayed in the game.
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