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Vergil Fletcher
1970s — The Silver Era of Kahok Basketball
With a team of underclassmen, many of them sophomores, the 1970-71 Kahoks had their worst record in the long Collinsville history by winning only three games, while losing nineteen. The close of the 1971 season also brought to a close a great era for a great gymnasium, a place where many boys and coaches could call their second home. The next year the new gymnasium that would later be named for Vergil Fletcher would be used.

With most of the young sophomores of the 1971 season returning, as juniors, in the 1971-1972 season, the Kahoks had experience but lacked the physical ability needed to go up against some of the big, well-developed teams. The early season proved this, as the team lost seven of their first twelve games. As the season progressed, the young Kahoks grew up and developed their speed and basketball know-how into a team that was respected by all. The team won the Carbondale Tournament, the Regional and the Edwardsville Sectional Tournament. In the Sectional, winning against a giant Lincoln of East St. Louis team, Collinsville players were able to keep their poise and courage and won the game under what was described as the most tense conditions ever witnessed at a basketball game. The Kahoks advanced to the State Tournament where they lost the first game to Thornridge, 95-66. Thornridge went on to win the State Championship.

Most of the players returned for the 1972-73 season from the past year's State team. Great things were expected and so it was as the team won their first sixteen games, before losing to East St. Louis in an overtime. The Kahoks placed second in the well balanced Conference and they also won the Carbondale Tournament by defeating Thornridge in the Championship on a couple of pressure free throws by Bobby Bone. For the second year in a row the Kahoks advanced to the State Tournament. There they met New Trier East and never really got going, losing 61-59.

With only one regular back from the 1973 State team, the 1973-74 Kahoks had to rebuild again. With a fine group of young players, Coach Fletcher was able to develop a team that only lost one Conference game and captured the Southwestern crown. The Kahoks came close to winning the Carbondale Tournament losing to Alton in the finals. The Kahoks won the Granite City Regional but fell short when Belleville West upset them in the Sectional finals. The final record for the season was twenty-five wins and four losses.

Although the 1974-75 Kahoks lost three games in the Conference, they again won the Championship and compiled a record of twenty wins and six losses. The team started with very little experience but developed into a respectable team. Early in the season, they defeated Granite City North 65-42, but in the Regional finals, Granite City North, on a last second basket, defeated the Kahoks, 49-48 to end the season.

During the 1975-76 season, the Kahoks played well but never really played consistent basketball. The team won the Collinsville Tournament, placed third in the Carbondale Tournament, and compiled a record of twenty wins and seven losses.

The 1975-76 Kahoks had an impressive season, going undefeated through the Super-Sectionals at Carbondale. They were defeated by DeLasalle Chicago, 67-66.

1977-78 was Coach Fletcher's final year at Collinsville. Led by the trio of Kevin Stallings, John Belobraydic, and Steve Ray, the Kahoks went 28-3. They won the Collinsville Invitational, Regional, Sectional, and Super-Sectional tournaments. At State they won the quarterfinal game over New Trier West, 71-56, before losing a tight game in the semifinal to eventual champion Lockport Central, 55-53. They bounced back to win the third-place game over Rockford East, 96-65. This win completed Coach Fletcher's collection of State Tournament trophies: two State Champions and one each second, third and fourth places.

Vergil Fletcher coached the Kahoks for thirty-two years and completely rewrote the record books. At the close of his 32nd season, he compiled a record of 747 victories and 170 losses for an astounding winning percentage of .814. He was named to the charter class of the Illinois Basketball Hall of Fame in 1973 and the 100 Legends of the IHSA Boys Basketball Tournament in 2006.
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