Rangers rebound from loss with lopsided win over Hardin County

By Jim Muir

Ask any basketball coach and they will tell you the best thing for their team after a tough loss is to get back on the court as quickly as possible. In the case of the Benton Rangers on Tuesday ‘as quickly as possible’ translates to approximately 17 hours.

The Rangers wasted little time shaking off the loss and rolled to a 61-21 victory over an outmanned Hardin County team in the first game on night two of the 6th Annual Goreville Invitational Tournament.

The Rangers were defeated Monday night in overtime when Zach Parr of Anna-Jonesboro hit a difficult last-second shot to give his team a 67-65 win and a disappointing season-opening loss for the Rangers. The Benton team rolled out of Goreville at 11 p.m. Monday night and returned for the early game and a 5:30 p.m. start on Tuesday.

Benton shook the loss aside early and jumped out to a quick 13-7 first quarter lead, extended its advantage to 26-11 at halftime and then blew the game wide open with a 30-4 onslaught in the third quarter to take a 56-16 lead into the final frame that was played with a continuous clock.

Benton Coach Ron Winemiller said he was happy to get the first win of the season and was also pleased with the way his team responded after the tough Monday night loss. Winemiller said he is looking forward to getting back in the gym the next two evenings.

“Right now we’re just trying to see who we are as a team,” said the Benton coach. “So, I will be happy to get to practice the next two evenings to work on getting better as a team. It will be a tough weekend with three games in a 24-hour span.”

Everybody saw action for the Rangers in the lopsided win and nine players hit the scoring column, led by Gehrig Wynn with 15. Also in double figures was Parker Williams with 12 and Mason Morris with 11. Rounding out the scoring Hamilton Page and Carson Lewis added six each, Cade Thomas scored four, Joey Craig, Mason Wills and Brett Bonenberger each scored two points.

“It was a great chance to see everybody in a game situation,” said Winemiller.

The win moves the Rangers to 1-1 overall and 1-1in the round-robin format at the GIT. All six teams are off on Wednesday and Thursday and play will resume on Friday with three games and then six games on Saturday. The Rangers face Hamilton County in a 7 p.m. game on Friday and play Johnston City at 10 a.m. on Saturday morning before squaring off in the tournament finale at 8:30 p.m. against the host Goreville Blackcats.

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