Carterville wins over WF at MWC

The West Frankfort Redbirds and Carterville Lions faced off Friday night for a spot in the MidWinter Classic title game.

The West Frankfort Redbirds and Carterville Lions faced off Friday night for a spot in the MidWinter Classic title game.

By BRUCE A. FASOL

Christian Dunning shoots from the lane in the second quarter.

Christian Dunning shoots from the lane in the second quarter.

Carterville Lions Coach Scott Burzynski admitted after the game that teams that shoot 33 percent from the field rarely win games.

He also admitted that when his team did, they were fortunate enough to still win. However, the head coach did quickly credit his players for making the plays at the end of the game to have a chance to win. Carterville parlayed a Lucas Hunter corner shot to a win over the West Frankfort Redbirds 47-45.

The win propelled the Lions to Saturday night’s title game against Goreville. Both the Lions and Blackcats won their respective pools. The two teams played earlier with Goreville winning.

The West Frankfort Redbirds established their game plan early, and took advantage of Carterville’s cold shooting from the field.
After one quarter the Redbirds led 9-2. However, as ineffective as they were shooting the basketball in the first quarter, the Lions were as exact in the second frame. In fact, both teams simply traded places. It was the Redbirds who struggled with their first basket of the second frame coming at the 4:02 mark. That was a Christian Dunning turn around shot in the lane. At the half, Carterville led 18-15.
The third quarter belonged to the Redbirds. A pair of 3-point shots from sophomore Braxston Koehl and sophomore Dunning paced the home team. A third shot was mistakenly announced as a Redbird 3-pointer, but changed at the scorers table to the 2-point shot the referees had called on the floor. After three quarters,the ‘Birds  led 34-29.
Carterville's Lucas Hunter takes the game-winning shot from the corner.

Carterville’s Lucas Hunter takes the game-winning shot from the corner.

The fourth quarter  saw both teams turn in big plays, one after the other.  Carterville started their run early when they were down by seven points. Matt Galik and Blake Watson drained 3-point shots in the fourth quarter’s first four minutes. Galik’s trey pulled the Lions to within two points with 3:20 left in the game. At that time,the score 41-39.

The game was tied at 42 as the clock hit 1:30 remaining. Carterville’s comeback was aided by some key Redbird turnovers late in the game. A tie up on a rebound gave the Lions the ball underneath their own goal with the possession arrow favoring them. With :53 seconds left, Lucas Hunter hit a free throw to tie the game at 45.
That set the scene for the Lions receiving the winning shot from the left corner by Hunter.
As the ball exited the basket, the clock showed a tenth of a second. Officials informed the scorers bench that time had been officially called with 2.1 seconds left in the game. The Redbirds inbounded at the far end of the floor and manuevered to the top of the opponents key before Koehl tossed up a heave toward the goal. It was slightly off to the left, and there would be no Redbird miracle win this night.
Scoring for the Redbirds: Koehl 18, Dunning 17, Easley 5, Williams 2, Keller 1,  Fort 1, Maller 1.
Carterville was led by the 13 of Blake Watson.
With the loss, the Redbirds fall to 6-11 for the season. It snapped the first two win streak of the year for Dan Dewerff’s squad. West Frankfort will play for Third Place tonight against Herrin, in the 7 p.m. game of the MWC.

 

Redbirds win in overtime

Sophomore Braxston Koehl was the Redbirds' scoring leader Wednesday night at the Midwinter Classic tournament.

Sophomore Braxston Koehl was the Redbirds’ scoring leader Wednesday night at the Midwinter Classic tournament.

By BRUCE A. FASOL

Former Hall of Fame basketball coach David Lee would tell his teams, “just win trips down the floor and the rest will take care of itself.” Coach Dan Dewerff may have given his team much the same advice Wednesday night.

The Redbirds held a short lead at two of the three quarter breaks going into the final frame. At times, the Redbirds cruised and held as much as a 13-point lead in the second half. However, a Joel Boulds three point shot was enough to send the Eagles into an overtime period at Max Morris gym.

It is then that the timely message of “winning trips” began to pay off. In the overtime, the Redbirds held Eldorado to three points total.

Tyler Deaton scored all three of those points. Meanwhile the Redbirds cobbled together some offense of their own, basically from the free-throw line. The only field goal scored was a Braxston Koehl bucket, and ensuing free throw. What did not show up in the box score was the fact that the Redbirds controlled the rebounding boards, limitting Eldorado to single shots in the extra period.

In the extra period, the Redbirds were 8 of 11 from the foul line as they wrapped up the victory.

With the win, the Redbirds are now 2-0 in pool play in the tournament. Saturday’s match-ups are determined by pool play and the Redbirds could move to the title game with a win Friday night. Friday’s 9 p.m. game is a match-up with Carterville. The winner will play for the championship against the winner of the other pool.

The Redbirds were led by sophomore Braxston Koehl with 17, and senior Trenton Easley with 14.   Eldorado was led by Joel Boulds’ 15 points.

Lady Redbirds fall to Herrin at MWC

By BRUCE A. FASOL

The West Frankfort Lady Redbirds had obviously set their goal to battle Herrin in the opener of the 2013 Mid-Winter Classic. And, they met that goal. However, their horn to horn effort fell just short as Herrin scored a 46-34 win that did not belie how close the game was for much of the contest. After one quarter, Herrin led the Lady Redbirds 12-10. The lead was 21-15 by intermission.

In the second half the Redbirds lost ground in the third quarter as they could not get their shots to fall, outscored in quarter three 13-4. But, in the final stanza, Matt Hampleman’s team made a comeback run out-pointing the Lady Tigers 15-12.

West Frankfort was led by the 11 points of Calvert, Wilce had 9, Stewart 6, Sailiez,4 Summers 2, melvin 2 and Williams 2 points.

This was the opening game for both teams in the tournament. Both teams are off until Tuesday night as Monday’s games are on the boys side of the tournament.