Sesser-Valier wins…Thompsonville loses at the Murphysboro Sophomore Tournament

By Steve Dunford 

MURHPYSBORO – Sesser-Valier was on the upside of a 73-48 win over their BDC West rivals, The Trico Pioneers last night 73-48,

I only was able to watch the fourth quarter, as I was having trouble with the streaming (on my end.)

Leading the way for Brian Laur’s club was Logan Kirk with 21, Tanner Eubanks had 20, and Garett Gunter was the thrid Devil in double figures with 11.

Also in the scoring column for S-V was Peyton Bates with nine, Johsten Stanley and Clayton Bonner four, and Jaden Lance and Seth Loucks had two points each.

Caiden Snow, Jake Newburry, Zack Stnaley, Matthew Thery, and Matthew Galloway, played but did not score.

Sesser-Valier will face the Marion Wildcats, winners 53-46 over the Red Bud Musketeers last night.  They will play Saturday Morning at 11:30, in a consolation semi-final game.

Hamilton County  doubled up Thompsonville 46-23, and there is not a tactful way to say it, in an ugly one for David Payne’s team.  They could not throw it in the Big Muddy last night, with the river above flood stage.

I knew coming in that T’ville would have their hands full with Hamco.  I remember from the Christopher Tournament a year ago that Garrett  Webb and Evan Shelton could flat out shoot it.  Zack Weaver was a good post player.

You throw Robbie Morgan in there (6′ 5″ freshman and still growing), and I knew the Tigers would have their hands full.   In my last conversation with Super Fox, he told me that Morgan can be the best to wear the Foxes uniform since Brian Sloan, by the time he is a senior.

I knew coming in it would be good experience for 6′ 4″ sophomore center Bryson Chullen, facing Morgan.

The Foxes looked like the “McLeansboro” days of David Lee and Curt Reed, slowing the ball down and playing tough man-to-man defense.  They double teamed Corbin Fitch and Grady Furlow most of the game.

The Foxes shot the lights out last night.  Playing as a JV team in the 2016 Chirstopher Turkey Tournament, they set the tournament record for made threes over the three game span.  Keep in mind that NCOE has been in the tournament the last two years.

Fitch led Thompsonville with ten, Chullen seven, Furlow four, and Seth Clark two.  Tristan Haskins, Huner McDonough, and Josh Sullivan played for the Tigers.

West Frankfort is still alive in the winners bracket, as the face the host Murphysboro Red Devils Thursday Night at 8:30.

I was a little more elaborate on the T’ville game because I was able to watch all four quarters.  I was not being a “homer.”

I will stick with the Devils and the Redbirds as long as they are alive at Murphy.


Four from Franklin County advance to the Country Financial Three Point Showdown

Three Franklin County seniors will get to slip on their uniforms one more time shooting in the sectional finials of the Country Financial Three Point Showdown.

West Frankfort Seniors Lucas Wolfe and Brendan Russell will represent the Redbirds at the Trenton-Wesclin Class 2A Sectional.

Jared Curry, along with freshman Kye Garver, will be shooting for the Christopher Bearcats at the Hardin County Class 1A Sectional.

The contest starts at 5:00 p.m. state-wide -sd

Redbirds win, Tigers….Red Devils fall in the Murphysboro Sophomore Tournament

By Steve Dunford 

MUPRHYSBORO – The Murphysboro Sophomore Tournament gives a look in the future for several programs.  That is why I enjoy it as the basketball season is winding down.

Since the IHSA lifted the amount of quarters a player can participate in, several underclassman that received a lot of varsity minutes can participate.  That is the case yesterday with West Frankfort and Thompsonville.

Sesser-Valier played in the morning session yesterday.  They were the first Franklin County school to face a team from the SIRR Mississippi, as they faced the Nashville Hornets.  The Devils fell 48-36.

Peyton Bates led S-V with 14 points, Tanner Eubanks was the second Devil in double figures with 10.  Garrett Guunter, Jake Newburry, and Matthew Thery added three, Logan Kirk a bucket, and Josten Stanley a free throw.  Caiden Snow played and did not score.

Sesser-Valier will face the Trico Pioneers at 5:00 p.m. in a consolation quarterfinal match-up on Monday.

Thompsonville faced DuQuoin, out of the River-to-River, and gave them all they wanted, falling 69-62 in overtime.

Corbin Fitch led the Tigers with 26 points, Grady Furlow 25.  Bryson Chullen added six, and Aiden Ramsey five.  Tristan Haskins, Seth Clark, and Hunter McDonough played and did not score.

T’ville goes left in the bracket as they face the Hamilton County Foxes, at 7:00 p.m. Monday.

The West Frankfort Redbirds defeated the Chester Yellow Jackets, 60-47, late yesterday afternoon.

Josh Melvin led West Frankfort with 15 points, Quincy King 13, and Gavin Gaylor was the third Redbird in double figures with 12.  Andrew Cunningham had seven, Paxton Griffith and Ethan Culley six, Brock Dorris one, and Michael Scales played but did not score.

Below, is all the scores from yesterday, and the quarterfinal pairings.





Christopher falls to Webber in the NCOE Regional Championship game

By Steve Dunford 

NORRIS CITY –  Defense and free throw shooting wins championships. Webber Township executed at the stripe and getting in Christopher’s grill.  They earned the right to play Tuesday night in the Hardin County sectional by defeating Christopher 59-49,

Webber Township was was 14-20 from the line and 8-10 down the stretch.  Christopher was uncharacteristically awful, shooting 8-18 at the line.

Trojan coach Brad Beatty made a defensive adjustment in the second half, going from a box in one in the first half, switching off defenders on Jared Curry, to going man to man.

Curry was lighting it up in the first half with 14 points and several assists.  Coach Beatty put Dylan Stratton on Curry, and he shut him down.  Charles Neal turned in a great defensive performance on Bradley Young.  This resulted in the Bearcats losing their composure.

Neal owned the game on both ends of the floor as he had a game high 26.

Webber runs out to a 5-0 lead by Brody Mount and Charles Neal.  Curry was shooting the Bearcats back in it, with three trifectas in the quarter.  Both teams were knotted at 13 after one.

Bradley Young scores seven of his 14 points in a two minute stretch.  With a dunk, a three and and nearly picked up his second dunk, but was altered by the Webber defense.

The Bearcats were up 24-17 at that point.  The could have put Webber away, but their Achilles heel, free throws bit them.  Christopher had a 28-22 lead at halftime.

Webber came out chipping away in the second half.  The Trojans tie it up at 33 around the three minute mark as Neal converts on the “deuce and the abuse” to tie it up at 33.  That was the beginning of a 13-0 run by Webber as they had a 41-33 lead at the end of three quarters.

The Bearcats have their one last gasp as they cut the Webber lead to four from back to back buckets from Jared Curry and Bryce Pratt.  Webber goes on a 6-0 and extends the lead to 10. Pratt scores four straight points on a 15 footer and converts on two free throws to cut the Webber lead to 49-43 with a little over two minutes to go.

Stratton gets a run out to extend the Trojan lead to eight.  Someone on the Webber bench gets excited, throws a towel up in the air and it lands on the floor.  One of the officials gave a technical to the to their bench.

Starting this year, you can give the bench an official warning written in the score-book.  Should one been given there, yes.  But to “T” someone up for that in a close regional championship game, unreal.

Christopher could not convert on their good fortunes.  Pratt went to the line and missed both free throws, which he has been money all year.  The Bearcats cough it up on the next possession.

As said earlier, Webber made their free throws down the stretch, and coach Beatty had a do not foul philosophy the rest of the way, as there was celebrating in the streets in Bluford last night.

The Bearcats end their season at 20-9.   Along with Curry’s 21 and Young’s 14, Bryce Pratt had nine points.

Webber Township improves to 20-8 on the season.  They will face the Goreville Blackcats in the first round of the Hardin County Class 1A Regional, Tuesday night at 7:00 p.m.

Along With Neal’s 26, Stratton added 15, and Brody Mount added nine.

Box Score

WEBBER TOWNSHIP (59) – Neal  7 1 9-11 26, Stratton  4 1 4-8 15,  Mount  4 0 1-1 9,  Hart 1 1 0-0 5,  Davis 1 0 0-0 2, Adcock 1 0 0-0 2 Taylor 0 0 0-0 0

CHRISTOPHER (49) –  Curry  3 4 4-6 21, Young 5 1 1-3 14, Pratt 3 0 3-5 9,  Hawkins 2 0 0-2 4,  Motsinger  0 0 1-2 1, Garver 0 0 0-0 0, Saeger 0 0 0-0 0

Score By Quarters

WEBBER TOWNSHIP (20-8)  13- 9 -15 – 22  –  59

CHRISTOPHER (20-9)  13 – 15 – 5 – 17  –  49

Sesser-Valier….. Z-R Regional Champs!!!!!!!!

ZEIGLER –  The Sesser-Valier Red Devils punch their ticket to head to the Hardin County sectional as they defeated the Woodlawn Cardinals in a more than packed house at Art Brandon Gym tonight.

Preston Launius hit a game tying three with less than :02 on the clock at the end of regulation to tie it at 41.

Lukas Gunter had a game high 19 for the Devils, Tyler Winchester, 13 and Launius added 10.

For Woodlawn Chase Hollenkamp had 14.  Something that jumps out at me, Blake McKay was held to 13 and Race Rynski added 10.

Woodlawn ends the 2017-18 campaign with a record of 21-9.

Sesser-Valier improves to 20-11 on the season.  They face the Cairo Pilots, 58-42 winners over the hosts at the Gallatin County Pilots.  Game time is Wednesday at 7:00 p.m.


Representatives of Franklin County Schools in the Country Financial 3 pt. showdown.

Zeigler-Royalton Regional


Recent Z-R grad Brendan Whiting in the showdown last year at the NCOE Sectional.

Lukas Gunter

Tyler Winchester

Preston Launius

Joshua Gunter


Reed Raubach

Trey Bybee

Grady Furlow

Peyton Roberts


Trevor Mills

Landon Bate

Dalton Humphrey

Noah Leeper

Johnston City Regional


Ethan Culley

Josh Melvin

Lucas Wolfe

Brendan Russell

Norris City Regional


Jared Curry

Gabriel Motsinger

Ty Garver

Braden Ingoldsby



Christopher punched their ticket to the NCOE regional title game by defeating the hosts

By Steve Dunford 

NORRIS CITY –  In the second half of the season, several teams have discovered the way to beat the high octane offense of the NCOE fighting Cardinals is to slow the ball down and turn it into a half court game.  Hamilton County and Thompsonville were very successful at this.

Christopher outscored the fighting Cardinals 28-12 in the second half Tuesday night,  en route to a 58-32 win.   They punched their ticket to the regional championship game of the Norris City Regional against Webber Township tonight at 7:00 p.m.

The philosophy of NCOE Coach Evan Wylie is to shoot 80 shots a game, and 40 threes, if you get the ball across half court, they will give up an uncontested layup.

The gym at Norris City. The best 1A facility in the south, in my opinion. Thank you Andrew Dunford.

Coach Eric Stallman,  tried running and gunning with the Fighting Cardinals, and Bearcats were only up 20-17 after one.

The Bearcats, uncharacteristically, slowed down the tempo and took a 30-20 halftime lead.

In the third the Fighting Cardinals did not take care of the basketball, resulting in  several Christopher run-outs.  The exclamation point at the end of the quarter were two Bradley Young dunks.  You can see the video of one, on the website’s Facebook Page.  They put the game away, leading 50-28 after three.

The Bearcats took the air out of the ball in the fourth, and the JV teams finished it up for both teams in the last three minutes.

Christopher picked up their 20th win on the season, coupled with eight losses.  Game time for the championship game is 7:00 PM.

Jared Curry had a game high 21 points and Bradley Young added 15 for the win.

Hats off to the Bearcat defense for shutting out sharpshooters Evan Healey and Jack Riggs from behind the arc.

Norris-City-Omaha-Enfield ended the season  at 9-17  They were led in scoring by Jeb Baumgart and Brandon Skaggs with nine points each.

Box Score

NCOE (32) Healy 1 1-2 3, Riggs 0 1-2 1, Skaggs 4 0-0 9, T. Money 0 0-1 0, Richardson 1 0-0 3, Simmons 1 0-0 3, O’Neal 1 1-2 4, Baumgart 3 3-4 9. Brown 0 0 0-0 0, Dauby 0 0 0-0 0, H. Money 0 0 0-0 0, Travelstead 0 0 0-0 0, Melton 0 0 0-0 0,  Team Totals: 11 6-11 32

Christopher (58) Motsinger 2 2-5 6, Young 7 0-0 15, Pratt 3 0-0 6, Hawkins 5 0-0 10, Curry 9 3-3 21, Saeger 0 0 0-0 0, Garver 0 0 0-0 0, Fletcher 0 0 0-0 0, Ingoldsby 0 0 0-0 0, Dorris 0 0 0-0 0, Blankenship 0 0 0-0 0, Weeks 0 0 0-0 0  Team Totals: 26 5-8 58

Three Pointers: NCOE: 4 (Skaggs 1, Richardson 1, Simmons 1, O’Neal 1) Christopher: 1 (Young 1) Fouls NCOE: 11. Christopher 13

NCOE  (9-17)  “17”3″8″4″ “32

Christopher (20-8)  “20”10″20″8″ “58

Zeigler-Royalton falls in their own Class 1A regional to Woodlawn

By Steve Dunford 

ZEIGLER –  Around the three minute mark of the first quarter Z-R was down 11-6, had and had the ball.  They were doing a decent job handing the Woodlawn Cardinal pressure.  They were being fairly patient on the offensive end.

Considering this was against one of the six teams that most pundits are giving the chance to play in the SIU Arena two weeks from the night, the young Z-R team was holding their own in  the first quarter, hits a seventeen footer, then another three in the opening ticks of the second quarter.  After he scored 14 unanswered points, Woodlawn rolled a huge halftime lead.   McKay had a game high 28.

The Cardinals did not let the gas of the pedal as they rolled to a 65-29 win.

Along with McKay’s 28, Race Rinski added ten for the Canals.

Landon Bate (3) Trevor Mills (10) and Gannon Dollins (52), all freshman on the floor for Z-R. All three played several varsity minutes for coach Matt Morgan.

Freshman center Gannon Dollins led the Tornadoes with,  Trevor Mills and David Eldridge added six.

Woodlawn advanced to the championship game last night as they defeated Steeleville 66-58 to face the Sesser-Valier Red Devils.

There were stretches at times there were five freshman on the floor for the Tornadoes, in Dollins, Mils, Landon Bate, Ricky Checkevida, and Cole Gelso.

Yes the Tornadoes finished win-less, but I guarantee will not happen next year.   The Black Diamond West has been loaded over the last few years.  A lot of three and four year starters will graduate in May.

Along with that, and a little more schedule flexibility because the IHSA is letting schools increase the schedule to 31 games , there should be a few more wins on the schedule for Z-R.

Box Score

WOODLAWN (65)  McKay 5 5 3-4 28, Rinksi 5 0 0-0 10, Fewkes 3 0 1-2 7, Hollenkamp 0 2 0-0 6, Mahassey 0 1 0-0 3.  Hun England 0 0 2-2 2, Hay England 0 0 1-5 1, Fewkes 0 0 1-2 1, Arringron 0 0 0-0 0, Smith 0 0 0-0 0, Tiermann 0 0 0-0 0, Wenzel 0 0 0-0 0, Burcham 0 0 0-0 0, Riesaw 0 0 0-0 0

ZEIGLER-ROYALTON (29)  Dollins 3 0 1-3  7, Mills 0 2 0-0 6, Eldridge 2 0 2-2 6, Rebolledo 0 1 0-0 3, Sanders 1 0 1-4 3, Bate 0 0 0-0 0, Humprey 0 0 0-0 0, Cross 0 0 0-0 0, Gelso 0 0 0-0 0, Imhoff 0 0 0-0 0, Leeper 0 0 0-0 0,

Score By Quarters

WOODLAWN    20 – 20 – 16 – 9  –  65

ZEIGLER- ROYALTON    6 -7 -5 -10  –  29





ROAD CLOSED ~ Murphysboro High School, 16th Street Entrance/Exit

From Len Novara, Murphysboro High School Athletic Director 

MUPRHYSBORO – Please be advised, the Murphysboro High School 16th Street Entrance/Exit (Harry Ray Drive) is currently CLOSED!   It is expected to be closed during and/or through the upcoming 41st Annual MHS Sophomore Boys Basketball Tournament, in which Sesser-Valier, Thompsonville, and West Frankfort Participate in.



Sesser-Valier defeats Thompsonville to earn right to the Z-R Regional championship game

ZEIGLER –  Tyler Winchester popped five three pointers in the first ten minutes of the game, scoring a game high 19 points, as Sesser Valier beat Thompsonville 50-44 last night at the Zeigler-Royalton Class 1A Regional.

Sesser-Valier improves to 19-11 on the season, and advances to the championship game to face the Woodlawn Cardinals, winners over the Steeleville, 66-58 last night.

Lukas Gunter also added 15 points, and Peyton Rock added 10.

Anthony Darge had a game high 14 and Cobin Fitch added 12.

The game had a lot of media coverage last night.  Below are links to stories from Geary Dentison of the Southern and Jack Bullock of A Baseline View.  A box score is included in both stories.

I do not believe in redundancy.   I am going to take a different approach.  I will be sharing my take shortly.

Benton, West Frankfort, Illinois News | Franklin County News