Webb tosses in 31 as Goreville defeats the WF Redbirds handily

By Steve Dunford 

WEST FRANKFORT – It was a tale of two nights for the West Frankfort Redbirds.  Last night they gave their arch rivals and SIRR Ohio foes the Benton Rangers all they wanted in a 49-45 loss.

Coach Todd Tripp’s team fell to Benton two weeks from tonight 72-46 in the Goreville Invitational Tournament.  The Backcourt of Peyton Massey and Braden Webb were banged up during that contest.

Webb rolled an ankle in the tournament  Massey had a broken collar bone suffered in football.  He was a threat in the backfield for the Vienna-Goreville Eagles.

Tonight, the West Frankfort Redbirds did not have any answer for Webb as he tossed in a game high 31 points as the Blackcats defeated the Redbirds 78-61.

The Redbirds played their guts out on Friday night.  This is not a slam, but they looked like a team that was out of gas last night.  I told coach Toney Friday night, they had a Floorborn – U look from the SIU days.  They were diving after every loose ball.

On the other side, Todd Tripp’s Goreville Blackcats looked like the team that could possibly end up in Peoria in Class 1A.  The Trio of Webb, Massey and Tanner Dunn have started since their freshman year.  They had an eleven day gap in their schedule.  They had a nice win over Z-R on December 5th.

In the opening seconds of the ball game the score was Webb 7 WF 0.  C.J Johnson Began to match Webb with putting on a scoring clinic of his own.  He finished with 25 on the night.  Goreville Raced out to a 21-13 lead.

Webb Continued on his tear and at the Blackcats led 43-29 at halftime.  Webb had 27 at this point.  The Redbirds were in deep foul trouble.  Coach KevinToney had to go with CJ Johnson and Kyle Hammers with three fouls in the first half.

West Frankfort starts the second half in a trapping zone.  It shut Webb down but the Redbirds did not have an answer for Peyton Massey.  He bombed three trifectas in a two minute stretch to put Goreville up by 25.  CJ Johnson hit a buzzer beating 18 footer to cut the lead at the end of three 70-49.

The Redbirds came out on fire in the fourth quarter and cut the Goreville lead till 14.  Coach Tripp calls a timeout and the Blackcats began to eat some clock with four minutes and some change on the clock.  Goreville scored on a couple of back door cuts to expand the lead.

Both coaches called off the dogs then and both teams began to sub freely.

Goreville improves to 5-2 on the season.  They will host the Cobden Appleknockers on Tuesday, in a final tuneup before the Sesser-Valier Holiday Tournament.

West Frankfort falls to 0-7.  This closes out their schedule until after Christmas.  Seeds for the Eldorado Holiday Tournament will come out on Wednesday.

Box Score

GOREVILLE (78)  Webb 11 1-6 31, Massey 5 2-2 16, Dunn 4 4-6 12, Tosh 1 5-8 7, Glidewell 1 1-2 4. Allbright 0 4-4 4. Geyman 1 0-0 2, Bishop 1 0 0-0 2.  Three point field Goals:  Webb 5, Massey 4, Glidewell

WEST FRANKFORT (61)  Johnson 10 2-5 25, Trash 4 0-1 10, Croslin 3 2-2 8, Wolfe 3 2-2 8, Hammers 3 2-2 8, B. Russell 1 0-0 2  Three point field goals:  Johnson 3, Thrash 2

Score By Quarters

GOREVILLE (5-2)    21 – 22 – 27 – 8 –   78

WEST FRANKFORT (0-7)    13 – 16 – 15 – 14 –   61









Webber Township wins Conrad Allen Holiday Tournament Title


WAYNE CITY  –  Webber Township takes the 64th Conrad Allen Holiday Tournament Championship with a 46-43 win over the Wayne City Indians.

In the third place game, Gallatin County was impressive in a 65-47 win over Bridgeport-Red Hill.

The Crab Orchard Trojans won fifth place, with a 68-50 win over Louisville-North Clay.

Please click on the link below to read the game coverage from Jack Bullock of A Baseline View.



Rangers – Redbrids face off tonight

By Steve Dunford 

The girls between the two rivals took the floor last night and it was a dandy.  It was an overtime win by West Frankfort with a buzzer beater being waved off at the end of regulation.  This contest has the potential to be another barn burner.

The Benton Rangers (6-1)(0-1) and the West Frankfort Redbirds (0-5)(0-1) will face off tonight at Max Morris Gym in West Frankfort.

If you would ask people from West Frankfort what is the nicest gym in Southern Illinois they would say Max Morris. If you would ask people from Benton, they would say Rich Herrin. I love the 1950’s era bowl gyms., which I feel Duff-Kingston is the grand daddy of them all. This photo is from the Peoria Journal star a few years ago, in which they featured the top gyms south of them. All three made the list.

The Rangers picked up a nice road win at Carmi on Tuesday night, a place the Rangers have historically struggled.   It has been a week since the Redbirds have taken the floor.  They were blown out by the Harrisburg Bulldogs in their SIRR Ohio opener, a team that can make a deep run in the post season in class 2A.

West Frankfort Coach Kevin Toney had to say this about the Rangers, “This group of kids is seeking name contribution in a historic program.  Last year they was able to watch a very fine team being celebrated by the community.   They want to chart their own reputation.  They are intense, hard working and most of all good kids.  They are very well coached as well.”

Benton Coach Ron Winemiller shared some thoughts about West Frankfort tonight. He said, “The Redbirds are very big and physical. Their size and strength will cause use lots of issues. (Kyle) Hammers has developed into a very good point guard that does a very good job of running their team. (CJ) Johnson is a very good scorer that does a good job of scoring and is a very tough match up for us. (Lucas) Wolfe and (Bradlee) Croslin can score if we aren’t with them. (Keagan) Thrash is a good in out kid as well.”

The five that I look for Coach Winemiller has went with all season can step out and hit the three.  Gehrig Wynn, Parker Williams, Cade Thomas, and Hamilton Page played a lot of minutes, and all four started at one time or the other through out the year on the Sweet 16 team in Class 3A last year.

Sophomore Carson Lewis stepped in that fifth starting slot for the Rangers and played well.   All five can stroke the three.  If the Rangers are hot behind the arc, it can be a long night for the Redbirds.

C.J. Johnson’s grandpa will be calling his name a lot tonight.  If Jim is making his signature “foul is called” on Thrash and Croslin, this would be an advantage to the Rangers.

There are two that can get hot from behind the arc for West Frankfort in Lucas Wolfe and Kyle Hammers.

Both coaches have played a lot of kids early.  I would not be a bit surprised if you would see 6′ 6″ Junior Braxton Lutz log a lot of minutes for the Rangers tonight, to counteract the Redbird tall trees in the post.

I know the contests at Rich Herrin Gym were a little ugly in favor of the Rangers the last couple of years, but the ones at Max Morris were pretty tight.

I might be wrong but West Frankfort played them to 10 points last year at home, and they about sprang a major upset on the Rangers on the “Saturday night after Thanksgiving game,” two years ago.

Personally I am glad they did away with that game.  That is like North Carolina and Duke playing in their season opener.

It is Benton and West Frankfort, enough said.  Sesser-Valier and Christopher are playing tonight as well.  Thompsonville and Z-R are off tonight.  This would be two opportunities to come out and see some great HS basketball tonight.

Keep in mind that Friday is one of the busiest nights for Candy Cane Lane.  The carriage rides start as well this weekend.  This will make parking less available, and those from Benton might consider taking Poplar or St. Louis street.





The battle of 148 takes place at Chirstopher tonight

By Steve Dunford 

In week five of the high school football season, Benton vs. West Frankfort and C-Z-R vs. S-V-W-W square off on the gridiron.

This weekend it happens on the hardwood.  As in football there is the “Battle of 148 travelling trophy” which goes between the two communities. The trophy is a road sign.

It does not matter the activity or sport, when the two teams get together, record books are thrown out the window.

On Tuesday night the Devils increased their record to 3-4 on the season by picking you a 76-58 win over the Johnston City Indians.  Christopher defeated Waltonville 55-45 Tuesday night to improve to 5-1.

Sesser Valier Coach Shane Garner had this to say about tonight’s matchup.  “Obviously this is one of the games we look forward to every year. There have been some great battles over the last couple of years and I expect nothing less than that tomorrow night. (Jared) Curry and (Bradley) Young are probably one of the better combos there are in Southern Illinois. They compliment each other nicely and Coach Stallman does a great job of getting them in position to be successful.

“We have been competing better in the last couple of games and I’m liking the progress we are making. Our defensive effort has increase and our offensive production has been more balanced. We are in a good place mentally right now and our boys are ready to tomorrow night.”

Here are some comments from Christopher coach Eric Stallman about tonight’s game. “Sesser-Valier is a very good team and play a lot of kids.  It is going to be a challenging game for sure and Curry getting injured in the Waltonville, game will make it even more challenging. Sesser-Valier has had a bit of a rocky start but after their win against Chester they look to be playing like everyone in the conference expected.”

Sesser-Valier can go 10 or 11 deep without missing a beat.   Young and Curry are the best one two punch in Southern Illinois, especially in class 1A.

Christopher has played a decent schedule but nothing in comparison the Devils.  Lukas Gunter is getting healthier as the season goes. He is the best 1A point guard in the south in my view, and when his minutes were limited it hurt S-V.

I have said all year for the Bearcats to be successful, Curry and Young has to stay out of foul trouble, especially if the game turns into a track meet.

If Curry is out, you might see the Bearcats turn into more of a half court team tonight.   For the Bearcats to compete, Young will have to play 32 minutes tonight.  If not, the Devils are just too deep.





WF Lady Redbirds beat the Benton Rangerettes in OT

By Steve Dunford 

WEST FRANKFORT –  Throughout the game the Rangerettes on the verge of putting the Lady Redbirds away.  Each time, West Frankfort had an answer.

West Frankfort executed in the extra frame playing turnover free basketball and made their free throws, in winning the battle of Franklin County in a 45-38 win.

Redbird Center Chloe Peavey with a stick back in last night’s game

The first quarter both teams were very deliberate, at times taking close to a minute each possession.  They also forgot to remove the lids on the bucket as it was 5-1 Benton after the first quarter.

A nice post move by Zoe Carlton made it 10-3 Benton. A quick West Frankfort turnover gave the ball back to the Rangerettes.  They melted some time off the clock and coughed the ball up.  This resulted in Cali Wright hitting a pull up jumper to make the score 10-5.

This was the first field goal by the Lady Redbirds.  It came with a little over the five minute mark of the second quarter.

The Lady Redbirds kept chipping away.  In the closing seconds of the first half, Maddi Carpenter hits Megan Beery off of a Benton turnover for a layup to give WF their first lead of the game 14-13.

Benton Coach Andy Sloan employed a full court man-to-man that the Lady Redbirds began to struggle with.  The Rangerettes had a seven point lead twice in the frame.  West Frankfort came within two, before Eb Casey hits a three pointer in under a minute to go in the third.  It was 26-21 Benton after three.

To open the fourth Cali Wright goes on a six point tear to give WF a 27-26 lead.   Benton gets back to back threes from Ember Milby and Addisyn Miller, and tops off an 8-0 run for Benton to take a 35-27 lead.  West Frankfort finishes regulation on a 10-2 run going 8/10 from the free throw line.

At the end of regulation Megan Beery pulls up and hits a 22 foot jumper that would have sent us home earlier, but it was waved off to send the game into overtime.

Lady Redbird coach Matt Hampleman had this to say about last night’s win.  “We executed offensively in the fourth quarter and in OT.  We continue to improve.  It is small building blocks.  We are both young.  Andy (Sloan) will tell you the same thing (which he did).

I noticed the Lady Redbirds kept changing defenses up.  For instance, in four possessions, they were in a box in one, man to man. 2-3 zone and 3-2.  Coach Hampleman said it is something they have been working on in practice the last couple of weeks.

“Our guards were in foul trouble, and they capitalized on it.  We allowed them to stay in the game too long.  Defensively we played very well tin the first half.  We worked mainly on the offensive end of the floor in practice yesterday, and still have a little more work to do,”  Benton coach Andy Sloan had to say after last night’s loss.

West Frankfort (3-8)(1-2) on the season face off against the Gallatin County Lady Hawks Monday at 5:00 p.m.

The Rangerettes (2-7)(1-2)  are off until Wednesday when hit the road to play undefeated Sesser-Valier-Waltonville Lady Devils in another Franklin County matchup.

Box Score

WEST FRANKFORT (45)  Wright 5 1 6-8 19; Beery 2 0 8-11 10; Peavey 3 0 0-0 6; Carpenter 1 0 3-4 5; McLaren 1 0 1-2 3; Turner 0 0 0-0 0

BENTON (38)  Casey 0 3 0-0 9; Johnson 3 0 0-0 6; Carlton 2 0 1-2 5; Wallace 2 0 0-0 4; Miller  0 1 1-2 4; Wilcox 2 0 0-0 4

Score by Quarters

WEST FRANKFORT (3-8)(1-2)  1 – 13 – 7 – 16 – 8  –  45

BENTON (2-7)(1-2)  1 -13 – 7 – 16 – 8 – 38




Rangerettes square off against the Lady Redbrids this evening

By Steve Dunford

For the next two nights Benton and West Frankfort will be meeting at Max Morris gym.

Both teams records are pretty ugly, the Rangerettes come into the game with a 2-6 record and 1-1 in the conference.  They have a win over Herrin on their resume.

Two of their losses are against the powerhouse Nashville Hornetettes.

West Frankfort’s Max Morris gym, given the name “The Supreme Court” by the late Redbird broadcaster Bruce A. Fasol.

The Lady Redbirds are 1-7 on the season.  (Correct me if I am wrong).  They are 0-2 in the conference.  They were up at halftime against Murphysboro in their last contest.

West Frankfort Coach Matt Hampleman has this to say about tonight’s contest.  . “We have been playing pretty well for longer periods of time. We led Murphy at half down by two at end of third quarter. Missed some easy shots that turned into scores for them. We have been getting better, but are really young.” 

Benton Coach Andy Sloan had this to say about tonight’s game.   “We have been inconsistent and struggled to put  four good quarters together. “We are young, but that’s no excuse at this point. We are really going to have to do a good job of containing WF, especially (Megan) Beery and (Cali) Wright. We must get back in transition and limit them to one shot. Offensively we must be patient and get the shot we want, not the first one we see.”

If you can not make it to the game tonight, you can join Danny Czerwinski on WQRL radio, 106.3 FM, or on the internet at wqrlradio.com





Obituary: Charlie “Super Fox” Pendell

Charlie “Super Fox” Pendell, 60, of McLeansboro IL, passed away on Monday, December 11, at his residence.

He was born on April 9, 1957, in Mt. Vernon, IL to Carl Albert Pendell Mother: Betty Maxine (Lowery) Pendell.

He was a member of the First Baptist Church in McLeansboro.

Charlie attended McLeansboro Township High School, Rend Lake College, and Southern Illinois University at Carbondale IL.

He worked as disc jockey for WMCL Radio Station. Charlie was an AVID sports fan also working as Sports Editor for the McLeansboro Times Leader where He wrote endless articles and took photographs of athletes’ accomplishments. He very rarely missed a sporting event whether in town or out.

Charlie also helped coach Summer League for many years in addition to  coaching young athletes of any and all sports they were involved in, always  giving encouraging self confidence builders especially those who were  struggling the most.

Starting in High School or before Charlie was one of the most vocal and supportive Fans and soon became known throughout Southern Illinois and  anywhere the FOXES participated as “SUPERFOX”.

He is survived by a brother Carl Pendell and wife Gerri of Chester, VA, a sister Nancy Yesley and husband Richard of New Athens, IL, and several nieces and nephews.

The arrangements are entrusted to the Harre Funeral Home in McLeansboro.

A Memorial Service will be held at 2:00 P.M., Saturday, December 16, 2017 at The Old High School Gym on Jerry Sloan Ave, McLeansboro, IL. Reverend Mark Byar will
officiate the Service.

In lieu of flowers, memorials will be accepted at Harre Funeral Home or The Old Gymnasium the day of the Service for The Charles Pendell Scholarship Fund.


IHSA December Board of Directors Meeting Recap

BLOOMINGTON- The  IHSA Board of Directors met for their regularly scheduled meeting at the IHSA office in Bloomington on Monday, December 11, 2017, where the Board approved one action item.


1. The Board approved the Cheerleading Advisory Committee’s recommendation to change the Cheerleading State Final Ticket pricing from $10 per day to $10 per session in order to alleviate issues with saved seating and overcrowding.


1. The Board sustained the Executive Director’s ruling on a student from Normal (Community West). The student was ruled ineligible for non-compliance with IHSA By-law 3.030.

2. The Board sustained the Executive Director’s ruling on a student from Elmhurst (Timothy Christian). The student was ruled ineligible for non-compliance with IHSA By-law 3.040 and its sub-sections.

3. The Board sustained the Executive Director’s ruling on a student from Elmhurst (Timothy Christian). The student was ruled ineligible for non-compliance with IHSA By-law 3.040 and its sub-sections.

4. The Board sustained the Executive Director’s ruling on a student from Chicago (Brother Rice). The student was ruled ineligible for non-compliance with IHSA By-law 3.040 and its sub-sections.

5. The Board sustained the Executive Director’s ruling on a student from Mundelein (Carmel). The student was ruled ineligible for non-compliance with IHSA By-law 3.040 and its sub-sections.

6. The Board sustained the Executive Director’s ruling on an accommodation request for a head gear device. The device is not considered legal equipment for the sport of basketball per the NFHS Basketball Rules Book.


At each meeting of the Board of Directors, there are certain items the Board discusses, but upon which no action is taken. The following is a report of those items from the December 11, 2017, agenda:

1. The Board heard a report from the Executive Director on the annual Town Hall/Principals Rules Meetings that were held at 28 high schools during November.

2. The Board heard a report from the Executive Director on the action taken by the Legislative Commission at its second meeting on November 20 and the membership voting. The Commission voted to move six proposals forward to the all-school ballot. Membership voting occurred from November 21 to December 5, with five of the six proposals passing.

NOTE:  Here is the vote breakdown on member schools voting for boys and girls basketball to expand the schedule to

3. Representatives from the accounting firm, Striegel Knobloch & Co LLC, presented the annual audit to the Board. The audit can be reviewed by clicking here.

4. The Board heard a report on the NIAAA Conference on December 8-12, which included the Hall of Fame induction of John Van Fleet.

5. The Board heard a report on the 11 States meeting held in Chicago on December 4-5.

6. The Executive Director and Board discussed Illiana Christian’s relocation to Indiana for the 2018-19 school year and sought feedback on how transferring students will be handled.


Sesser-Valier Holiday Tournament Parings Released

SESSER – The Parings for the Sesser Valier Holiday Tournament were released about an hour ago.   The Woodlawn Cardinals received the top seed in the event.  They will face the Zeigler-Royalton Tornadoes at 5:00 p.m, in a first round matchup.  All first round games will be played on December 26th.

The Christopher Bearcats (4-1) are the #3 seed, facing the Galatia Bearcats (2-6)  at 10:30 a.m.

The Sesser-Valier Red Devils (2-5) are the #4 seed and they will face the Waltonville Spartans in their traditional 8 p.m. matchup.

The Thompsonville Tigers (3-4) are unseeded and they face the #5 seed the  Cobden Appleknockers (6-4) at 6:30 p.m.

Below is the full bracket – sd




“Superfox” passes

McLEANSBORO – The community of McLeansboro and a lot of high school sports fans across Southern Illinois are grieving this morning.

With a heavy heart, I am sharing that Charles Pendell, who was known as “Superfox” passed away this morning. He has battled numerous health problems for years.

There has been very few McLeansboro and later Hamilton County sporting events that he was not in attendance. He loved his Foxes. Most of all he had a special love for the kids.

He was a long time voice of the Hamilton County Foxes on WMCL. He also used to write for the McLeansboro Times-Leader. He served as a coach at the lower levels for several sports.

I met him my eighth grade year. We became close friends over the years. He has been a great help and support to me, since I became a sportswriter at middle age.

Funeral arrangements will be linked to this story.