Class 1A Z-R Regional Preview: (#2) Sesser Valier (18-11) vs.(#7) Thompsonville (18-9)

By Steve Dunford 

ZEIGLER – In a battle of two Franklin County teams vying for the right to play in the Championship game.  The Red Devils received a first round bye in the tournament.  In the old regional system, they are the top seed.

Thompsonville won in the quarterfinals by defeating Elverado 58-38, ironically, another team that had 18 wins on the season.

T’ville and S-V’s records might be identical,  there is a huge difference in playing in the BDC West vs. the GEC.

What Pete Gordon will come out in tonight defensively, I am mixed.  The Tigers defended the perimeter against NCOE well playing man to man, and did as well also playing a 2-3 zone.  I say they will come out in a 2-3 and if Tyler Winchester hits a couple bombs, they will go back man to man.

I don’t think I remember any Shane Garner coached team playing a zone.  I look for them to press tonight, especially on made baskets.

Here is how I think both teams will match up.

Preston Launius – Corbin Fitch

Lukas Gunter – Tyson Kessler

Joshua Gunter – Peyton Roberts

Tyler Winchester – Reed Raubach

Addison Page – Anthony Darge

There have the potential to be a couple of mismatches in there.

Bench wise the edge is to Sesser-Valier.  They have, by far the deepest bench in Southern Illinois.   I would put T’ville around three or four in 1A.   I can see Peyton Rock causing the Tigers a world of trouble.

Tempo is going to be the key to this one.  If the game gets in the 70’s, I would say Sesser-Valier is the 20 point favorites.   If it is a 20 point game it would not be 50-30.

A lot of pundits say the first few minutes of the first quarter is the key to the game.

Thompsonville can play McLeansboro ball and they can play it well.  If it is in the 40’s it means Thompsonville is in striking distance.  If it is low scoring, I would have to go with the Devils as the favorites still, but could be in a little hot water.

Its going to be a good one, and I am going to love telling you about it.


Senior night for Christopher, Sesser-Valier, and Thompsonville

By Steve Dunford 

Class 1A and 2A boys high school basketball teams are entering into their final weekend of the season, as February Fever will turn into March Madness.

There is a battle between two Franklin County teams, as Christopher will host the Zeigler-Royalton Tornadoes as it is senior night for Bradley Young, Jared Curry, Daniel Flowers, and Tyler Weeks.  Cole Sanders, Jon Meadows,  Noah Leeper, Andrew Basiallon, and Xander Schablowski played in their last regular season game for the Tornadoes last Tuesday night aginst Trico

It will not be their last appearance at Art Brandon gym. as Z-R will face the Woodlawn Cardinals on Tuesday night in their own regional.

Sesser-Valier tries to finish their perfect run in the BDC West as the face the Chester Yellow Jackets tonight.  It is Senior Night for Lukas and Joshua Gunter, Preston Launius, Peyton Rock, and Addison Page.

It is senior night for Zack Krikman and Jacob Dixon as the Thompsonville Tigers host the NCOE  Fighting Cardinals tonight at Doc Harvey gym.  It is always high scoring and a wild one when these old Mid South now GEC rivals get together.

The Junior Tiger Cheerleaders will be performing, and coach Lacey Cooksey has over 35 girls preforming.  There will be an overflowing crowd, so get a seat early.

Two grizzled veteran coaches will match up tonight down at Metropolis as Kevin Toney’s West Frankfort Redbirds and Joe Hosman’s Massac County Patriots will be hooking up.  Massac won in a makeup game at Max Morris Gym last Tuesday night.  It is the last chance for the Redbirds to pick up an SIRR-Ohio win on the season.

The Redbirds has senior night as Lucas Wolfe, Keagan Thrash, Bradlee Croslin, and Brendan and Jacob Russell played their last game in Max Morris Gym last Saturday night.  West Frankfort was defeated by the Herrin Tigers.

It will be senior night in Benton next Friday night as they face the Salem Wildcats.  The Rangers are trying to finish a perfect SIRR-Ohio campaign off as they face the second best team in the Conference the Murphysboro Red Devils at Rich Herrin Gym tonight.


Murphysboro Sophomore Tournament pairings released

The Sesser-Valier Red Devils – 2018 Black Diamond West Champs

By Steve Dunford 

GOREVILLE –  First of all, there were two teams on the floor that could very easily meet in a couple weeks in the Hardin County Sectional.

Goreville defends their home court well.  Not very many teams leave there with a win, especially in Black Diamond conference play.  Sesser-Valier came out with a 73-52 win over the Blackcats tonight.

A couple of things that does not show up in the box score that I am going to highlight.

  • Joshua Gunter took at least three Goreville charges at key times in the game.
  • Preston Launius held Braden Webb to nine points, three in the first half.  The all time leading scorer in Goreville history, has several 30 point plus games over his four year career.

The game got off to a slow sloppy start at first, both teams were stuck on five points forever, until about the three minute mark.  Tanner Dunn scores on a run-out to give Goreville a 7-5 lead.  That was the last of the night.

Action was fast and  furious the rest of the first quarter to give the Devils a 19-14 lead after one.

The Devils go up 23-16 early in the second quarter.  Peyton Massey hits a 23 foot fade-away jumper on the wing and was fouled.  He completes the four point play and Goreville cuts it to 23-20.

There are little notes that I always make whether they would be momentum changers, and I thought the Blackcats might be in business.  What happened thought S-V goes on a 11-4 run, highlighted by a couple Tyler Winchester threes, and back to back buckets from Peyton Rock on a stick-back and slashing through the lane, took the Devils up 34-23.  Goreville closes the half on a 4-0 run to send everyone to the locker rooms with the Devils up 34-27.

The Blackcats come out in a 1-3-1 zone and it was effective.  Threes by Johsua Gunter and another one from Winchester brought them out of it.  Sesser-Valier went up 13 twice in the third quarter.  Webb drove in the closing seconds of the third quarter to cut the S-V lead to 50-39 at the end of the third.  

The fourth quarter started out with some “official initiated dramatics” and Tyler Winchester spent a lot of time at the free throw line. Goreville had one last gasp around the four minute mark, when Peyton Geyman had back to back steals off of a Blackcat press to cut it to 12.

They JV teams finished it out in the last couple of minutes, to give the Devils a 73 to 52 victory.

Tyler Winchester lead the Sesser-Valier with 20 points, Lukas Gunter, and Peyton Rock came off the bench with 13 each, Preston Launius was the fourth Devil in double figures with ten.

The Devils improve to 17-10 on the season and wrapped up the BDC West with a 10-0 crown.  They host their arch rivals. the Christopher Bearcats on Tuesday.  The Bearcats had a big win at Vienna last night.

Goreville fell to 15-10 and 4-5 in the diamond.  They make the short trip to face Vienna tonight at the Eagles Nest to settle the battle of Johnson County.

Peyton Massey was the only Blackcat in double figures with 21 points, 14 in the first half.

Box Score

SESSER-VALIER (73)  Winchester 4 3 3-4 20, L. Gunter 6 0 1-4 13, Rock 6 0 1-2 13. Launius 4 0 2-4 10, J. Gunter 1 1 2-2 7, Page 1 0 3-4 5, Boles 1 0 0-0 2, Basso 0 0 2-2 2, Bates 0 0 1-2 1, E. Gunter 0 0 0-0 0, Kislewski 0 0 0-0 0

GOREVILLE (52)  Massey 3 3 6-7 21. Webb 3 0 3-7 9, Geyman 3 0 0-0 6, Dunn 3 0 0-1 6, Tosh 2 0 0-3 4, Albright 2 0 0-0 4, Frassatto 0 0 2-2 2, Brown 0 0 0-0 0, Hankins 0 0 0-0 0, Glidewell 0 0 0-0 0, Johnson 0 0 0-0 0

Score by Quarters

SESSER-VALIER (17-10)    19 – 15- 16- 23 –  73 

GOREVILLE (15-10)    14 – 13 – 12 – 13  –  52

Hardin County Class 1A Boys Basketball Sectional parings

Hardin County Sectional

Tue., Feb. 27

Game 1 at 7:00 pm: Winner Norris City (N.C.-Omaha-Enfield) Regional vs. Winner Mounds (Meridian) Regional

Wed., Feb. 28

Game 2 at 7:00 pm: Winner Junction (Gallatin County) Regional vs. Winner Zeigler (Z.-Royalton) Regional

Fri., Mar. 2

Game 3 at 7:00 pm: Winner Game 1 vs. Winner Game 2

Zeigler-Royalton Regional

.Mon., Feb. 19

Game 1 at 7:00 pm: (7) Thompsonville vs. (8) Elkville (Elverado)

Tue., Feb. 20

Game 2 at 6:00 pm: (3) Woodlawn vs. (12) Zeigler (Z.-Royalton)

Game 3 at 7:30 pm: (6) Steeleville vs. (11) Waltonville

Wed., Feb. 21

Game 4 at 6:00 pm: (2) Sesser (S.-Valier) vs. Winner Game 1

Game 5 at 7:30 pm: Winner Game 2 vs. Winner Game 3

Fri., Feb. 23

Game 6 at 7:00 pm: Winner Game 4 vs. Winner Game 5


Norris City Omaha-Enfield Regional

Mon., Feb. 19

Game 1 at 6:00 pm: (9) Galatia vs. (10) Norris City (N.C.-Omaha-Enfield)

Game 2 at 7:30 pm: (5) Wayne City vs. (13) Grayville

Tue., Feb. 20

Game 3 at 7:00 pm: (1) Christopher vs. Winner Game 1

Wed., Feb. 21

Game 4 at 7:00 pm: (4) Bluford (Webber) vs. Winner Game 2

Fri., Feb. 23

Game 5 at 7:00 pm: Winner Game 3 vs. Winner Game 4


Gallatin County Regional

Mon., Feb. 19

Game 1 at 7:00 pm: (6) Marion (Crab Orchard) vs. (7) Elizabethtown (Hardin County)

Tue., Feb. 20

Game 2 at 6:00 pm: (4) Cobden vs. (12) Carrier Mills (C.M.-Stonefort)

Game 3 at 7:30 pm: (5) Junction (Gallatin County) vs. (8) Golconda (Pope County)

Wed., Feb. 21

Game 4 at 6:00 pm: (1) Cairo vs. Winner Game 1

Game 5 at 7:30 pm: Winner Game 2 vs. Winner Game 3

Fri., Feb. 23

Game 6 at 7:00 pm: Winner Game 4 vs. Winner Game 5

Meridian Regional

Mon., Feb. 19

Game 1 at 7:00 pm: (10) Tamms (Egyptian) vs. (11) Joppa (J.-Maple Grove)

Tue., Feb. 20

Game 2 at 6:00 pm: (3) Goreville vs. (14) Dongola

Game 3 at 7:30 pm: (9) Ullin (Century) vs. (13) Wolf Lake (Shawnee)

Wed., Feb. 21

Game 4 at 6:00 pm: (2) Mounds (Meridian) vs. Winner Game 1

Game 5 at 7:30 pm: Winner Game 2 vs. Winner Game 3

Fri., Feb. 23

Game 6 at 7:00 pm: Winner Game 4 vs. Winner Game 5


Hardin County Class 1A Boys Basketball Sectional seedings

NOCE/ZR Sub Sectional

1. Christopher

2. Sesser (S.-Valier)

3. Woodlawn

4. Bluford (Webber)

5. Wayne City

6. Steeleville

7. Thompsonville

8. Elkville (Elverado)

9. Galatia

#10. Norris City (N.C.-Omaha-Enfield)

11. Waltonville

#12. Zeigler (Z.-Royalton)

13. Grayville

Meridian/Gallatin County Sub Sectional

1. Cairo

#2. Mounds (Meridian)

3. Goreville

4. Cobden

#5. Junction (Gallatin County)

6. Marion (Crab Orchard)

7. Elizabethtown (Hardin County)

8. Golconda (Pope County)

9. Ullin (Century)

10. Tamms (Egyptian)

11. Joppa (J.-Maple Grove)

12. Carrier Mills (C.M.-Stonefort)

13. Wolf Lake (Shawnee)

14. Dongola




NOTE;  I was going to release mine today.  I started doing some notes on 2A, and I was nearly identical with Jack Bullock, so I will second his motion.

I know the West Frankfort Redbirds have only won four ball games, but they were going to get a six from me.  They are still the best team in Southern Illinois that has only won four ball games

In the Gallatin County/Meridian regional-sectional complex I was identical with Jack, except swapping Century with Egyptian for the eighth and tenth seeds. I came close to putting Pope County above both of them but I did not want to show too much GEC Bias.

In the Zeigler-Royalton/Norris City-Omaha-Enfield complex, we are all over the place with each other.  I will be releasing that soon. -Steve

Here is a link to Jack’s projected seedings

Here is a link to Jack’s weekly poll.



Four Franklin County programs mentioned in ABV Jacks latest rankings







In Jack Bullock’s latest rankings the Christopher Bearcats are ranked fourth, and the Sesser-Valier Red Devils fifth with Thompsonville knocking at the door being in the top 10 in 1A.

Even though they are 4-15 the West Frankfort Redbirds are honorable mention in 2A.  He had some kind words about the Redbirds.

Please click on the link below for his full list.




LOOKING BACK NEARLY 16 YEARS: The birth of S-V-W-W football

SESSER –   I came across this yesterday when I was checking the Lady Devils schedule on the website

I have used the site over the years to check out schedules for the teams.  All six Franklin County High Schools have a page on the website.

They have excerpts from stories of the school’s athletic history.  This article was on the Sesser-Valier page of Schedulestar, which also goes by the name Big Teams now as well.

This story was in the Red Devil’s history page.  It was the story when the S-V school board approved the co-op.  The story was written by Jim Muir when he wrote for the Southern Illinoisan.

Stories about the history of Franklin County perform very well on the webpage.  You will see more and more content like this.  Steve

All South Football team released

The All South Football team was released this afternoon.  There are seven from Franklin County that are listed.   They are the following:


Hamilton Page – QB

Blaine Pankey RB/LB

Cade Thomas – WR/DB


Madison Allen – RB/LB

Greg Cooper – OL/LB


Lukas Gunter – WR

Bryce Jones


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