The Collinsville Pirates were without a large chunk of their team Friday, Jan. 15, when they traveled to Muenster for a district showdown.

Playing three freshmen and two sophomores, the Pirates weren’t sure how they were going to perform.

However, Collinsville rose to the challenge and pushed the Hornets into some hairy moments in the final few minutes of the game.

The Pirates came up short in a 44-34 loss, but head coach Eric Johns boasted about just how proud he was of his young squad.

“Against a team as good as Muenster, I’m thrilled to death,” Johns said. “I felt like we really competed well. We’ve never been a great offensive team, but we sold out on defense. That’s what we have to do to be successful and I’m really proud of that. It went from let’s get better tonight to hey, we have a chance here. They never quit and they kept going. Muenster deserved to win and they’re a good team, but I was really proud of my bunch.”

Luis Hernandez led Collinsville with 15 points while Carter Scott added 12 points.

But defense was the name of the game Friday as both teams were in solid position all night, forcing tough shot after tough shot. In the end, the 10-3 lead that Muenster built in the first quarter proved to be the major difference as each team evened out the rest of the game for the most part.

“I’m a defensive guy and I like those kinds of games,” Johns said. “Muenster has always been really good defensively, but I’m proud we hung in there with them. We matched their defensive intensity tonight. Neither one of us shot the ball great, but I wanted our kids to battle to the end and they did that.”

Collinsville dropped to 2-3 in district play with the loss, but they will wrap up the first half of district against Chico on Tuesday, Jan. 19.

Johns said he feels good about where his team is at headed to the second half and his hope is that his young team will get better at reading defenses as they develop.

“If we beat Chico, that would put us at 3-3 in a spot to make the playoffs,” Johns said. “We fully expect to make the playoffs. That’s our goal. Lindsay and Muenster are the two best teams and the rest of it is going to be a dog fight. We just need some more cohesion, but that will come in time.”

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