Redbirds pick up first two wins at the EHT finish fourth

By Steve Dunford 

ELDORADO – The West Frankfort Redbirds pick up their first two wins of the season at the Eldorado Holiday Tournament last weekend.

The first three opponents were out of the Black Diamond East, and they beat two of them in the first round.

C.J Johnson and Keagan Thrash, all tournament team recipients at the Eldorado Holiday Tournament

On Thursday, they defeated the Fairfield Mules, 60-49 for their first win of the season.  When I was talking to Coach Kevin Toney before the tournament, he said that Fairfield has some length on the inside and so do we.”  

Before the tournament started, Coach Toney said,  “We can play with anyone on the bottom side of the bracket.  We proved we could play with Eldorado.” 

I don’t know what the official stats were, but on most possessions the Mules had very few offensive rebounds.

Both teams were knotted up at 32 going into the fourth quarter.  Coach Toney said that assistant Mike Karoski made the call of going into a 1-2-2 half court trap.  The Redbirds outscored the Mules 26-19 in the final frame to get rid of the goose egg out of the win column.

C.J Johnson had a game high 19 for the Redbirds, 13 of those came in the fourth quarter.  Bradlee Croslin added 16, Kyle Hammers 9. Cole Levanti 7, and Lucas Wolfe 1.

Kobi Dagg had 15 to lead Fairfield and

One of the things that I talked with Coach Toney about was they play of Levanti off the bench.  He said, “He brought some energy, he has the desire to play really well, and has no fear of driving to the bucket drawing fouls.”

Going into the Carmi game, coach Toney said the key would be to shut down Travis Black and Bryce Northcot.  Whether it was Keagan Thrash or Bradlee Croslin on Black, he was held to seven points.  Northcot was held to four.

The Redbirds raced out to a 26-14 halftime lead.  They held off an early fourth quarter rally, as they picked up a 53-36 victory on the afternoon.

The Redbirds were a perfect 10/10 at the free throw line down the stretch.  C.J Johnson had 20 points to to lead the Redbirds, Keagan Thrash 10, Gavin Gaylor six, Lucas Wolfe five, Bradlee Croslin six, and Cole Levanti five.

The Redbirds made a valiant comeback against state ranked Eldorado, but it fell short. 64-55.  I posted about it after the game on Saturday.

The Redbirds were without Cole LeVanti and CJ Johnson for most of the nightcap as they fell to Anna-Jonesboro 71-55.  The Redbirds shot 60% from the field in the first half and the Wildcats over 70%

Jake Parr had 22 of his game high 28 for A-J in the first half.  Both coaches subbed liberally trying to keep fresh legs in there as both teams made comebacks against the semi-final foes and the rallies fell short.

Kyle Hammers led West Frankfort with 12 points on the night, Keagan Thrash 10, Bradlee Croslin and Lucas Wolfe nine, Reece Woolard, Matt Reiger, and Jacob Russell added two points each for the Redbirds.





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