Play kicks off at Goreville Invitational, Rangers open season tonight

By Jim Muir

The Benton Rangers will open the 2012-13 basketball season Tuesday night at the Goreville Invitational Tournament in a 6 p.m. contest against Egyptian.

The Rangers have kicked off the season the past 14 years at the Du Quoin Tip Off Classic but made the move to Goreville to the five-team, round robin tournament. Each team receives a bye during one session in the tournament that runs Nov. 26, 27, 29, 30 and Dec. 1.

Play opened on Monday night with Johnston City defeating Anna-Jonesboro 60-59 when the Wildcats couldn’t get a shot to drop in the final seconds. Johnston City led by as many as nine points in the opening half only to see A-J roar back to tie the game at the intermission 32-32.

The Indians began the second half on a 12-2 run to open up a 44-34 lead but again the Wildcats fought back to actually take the lead in the fourth quarter. After a pair of Hunter Zeigler free throws to give Johnston City a 60-59 lead with 8.1 seconds the Wildcats set up a final play but a Noah Fuller jumper on the baseline lipped off the rim securing the hard fought win for Johnston City.

Luke McCormick led the Indians with 18 points and also in double figures was Hunter Zeigler with 11. Also scoring for JC was Austin McPheron and Levi Tanner with nine, Jake Davison with eight and Derek Smith with five.

A-J was led in scoring by Tyler Vaughn with 14 followed by Noah Fuller with 13 and Ben McFarland with 10. Rounding out the scoring Colton James scored eight, Zach Parr added seven, Jonathan Kemp scored four and Damian Reed contributed three points.

In the nightcap the host Goreville Blackcats jumped out to a quick 17-7 first quarter lead and never looked back in defeating an out-manned Egyptian squad by a score of 75-57. The Blackcats extended the lead with a 21-9 blitz of the Pharaohs in the second quarter to take a 38-18 halftime lead.

Goreville featured a balanced scoring attack with five players in double figures led by Zeke Snell with 18 and Dayton Tripp with 13. Also scoring was Alex Andros with 12 and Blake Gray and Kyefer Cavins with 11 each. Rounding out the scoring for Goreville Nik Dunn had three, J.T. Russell, Daniel Lanham and Caleb Belcher each had two.

Leading Egyptian was the one-two punch of Justin Prewett and Devantae Price who contributed 19 and 17 points respectively. Cameron Grueninger also scored in double figures with 10 with Alex McCrite adding four and Austin Murphy and Brandon Woodson adding two each and Bryce Bigham adding a free throw.

Here is a schedule for the rest of the week at the Goreville Invitational.

Tuesday, Nov. 27

Benton vs. Egyptian 6 p.m.

Goreville vs. Anna-Jonesboro 7:30 p.m.

Thursday, Nov. 29

Anna-Jonesboro vs. Egyptian 6 p.m.

Johnston City vs. Benton 7:30 p.m.

Friday, Nov. 30

Benton vs. Anna-Jonesboro 6 p.m.

Goreville vs. Johnston City 7:30 p.m.

Saturday, Dec. 1

Egyptian vs. Johnston City 6 p.m.

Benton vs. Goreville 7:30 p.m.

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