High School Basketball around the region tonight

Benton (0-1) vs Hardin County (0-1)  

The Rangers fell in a 67-65 overtime loss to the Anna-Jonesboro Wildcats last night to open their season at the Goreville Invitational Tournament.

Here is a link to the story from last night’s game from Jim Muir.

Rangers drop season opener to AJ in overtime

Hardin County out of the Greater Egyptian Conference is featured by 6′ 6″ three year starter Jamison Hicks in the middle, 6′ 1″ G-F Hunter Cullom, 5′ 10″ PG Jaron Austin, and 6′ 2″ forward Gabe Fowler.  There could be a cast of four that will fill the fifth slot in the starting lineup for the Cougars tonight.

Hardin County Coach Rodney Lane stated that, “This is not the most athletic bunch that I’ve had but this is my favorite bunch.”

The Cougars, by far, play the toughest schedule in the GEC.  Along with this week at Goreville, they play in the Eldorado Holiday Tournament, have a home and home with Crittenden County KY, and also face Kentucky schools Union County and Webster County.  Webster Co., two years back, decimated the field at Eldorado.

I have the Cougars finishing third in the GEC, and Jack Bullock has the Cougars slated to finish fourth.

Here is the link to the box score from last night’s  35-25 loss by the Cougars to the Hamilton County Foxes from Jack Bullock of A Baseline view.


Thompsonville (1-2) at Pope County (3-2)  

After the Tigers pulled off a barn burner win against New Athens, their fortunes were not very good last week at Christopher as they were blown out by Webber Township and Wayne City.

The Pirates had a good week at Crab Orchard with a nice 18 point win over Elverado, and took the hosts down to the wire for a two point loss.

Both teams open Greater Egyptian Conference play tonight in Golconda.

Coach Bill Simmons will be going with 6′ 6″ Josh Floyd in the middle.  Floyd has been a three year starter since he transferred from Massac County.  In the paint with Floyd will be 6′ 3″ Cole Blankenship, and 6′ 1″ Nick Walker.

In the back-court will be three interchangeable guards that can pop the three in 5′ 11″ Sebastian Fasolo, and Matthew Davis and Jackson Eddington, both at 5′ 8″

When I asked Coach Simmons how he thought the season would go a couple of weeks ago, he said,  “I hope maybe we can win a conference game.  I know it is between us and Carrier Mills but Keil (Peebles) will out coach me.”  The veteran coach who came out of retirement to teach and coach at the Golconda school, always gives you the same song and dance that Joe Hosman gives and Bob Dallas used to by saying they would be lucky to win five ball games and ends up winning 15-20.

I was able to talk to Coach Simmons at halftime of the T’ville/Webber game.  He says, “If Pete (Gordon) comes out in that 3-2, we will have a tough time passing around 11 (Reed Raubach) and 21 (Anthoney Darge).   If we get the ball inside past them, I like our chances.”

Both Jack Bullock and I had Thompsonville finishing second in the GEC, and Pope County in the middle of the pack.


Harrisburg at West Frankfort

Herrin at Benton


ABV Jack: Christopher takes tourney title

CHRISTOPHER  The host Christopher Bearcats defeated Webber Township 66-60 for the Turkey Tourney title.

There are box scores for all the games.

Click on the link from Jack Bullock of A Baseline View.


WSIL-TV highlights of T’ville and Z-R’s games last night


CHRISTOPHER, IL –  Thompsonville held of a late New Athens rally as the Tigers beat the Yellow Jackets 53-52 last night.

In the nightcap Webber Township was better than advertised, as the Trojans defeated the Zeigler-Royalton Tornadoes 83-33.

Click below for the link form WSIL-Sports director Darren Kinnard.



Turkey Tourney Preview: The Wayne City Indians

Wayne City Coach Jeff Morris sent this to me he said it was from a local paper where he filled out a questionnaire.  I assume the Wayne County Press

How many starters did you lose from last season?

We lost four starters and some valuable players off the bench.  The lone returning starter from last year’s team is Jaxon King.

Who, if you have an idea yet, do you look for to fill those roles?

I look for Senior Remington Henson to step into a starting position.  He is a big body that should supply a solid inside presence.  Transfer  (Overton High School, Memphis, TN)  Jayzale O’Neal (Junior) is extremely quick and has great court instincts.  I look for him to share duties at PG with King.   Juniors Dane Horton and Dalton Smith are both high energy players that are very athletic.  Sophmore Travis Dickey has really improved and will be able to spread the floor with his ability to shoot.  Junior, Nate Barbee is a high energy defensive specialist who should be able provide depth at the guard position.  Foreign exchange student Enrico Carbonetti has been impressive in practice and has shown good instincts on both sides of the basketball.  Several other players will provide valuable minutes in the rotation.

What areas do you look to improve on from last year?

Wayne City was really good last year.  To try and compare a team with so much experience to a team with so little varsity experience returning would be a little unfair.  Ultimately, we are going to work hard and try to get better every day.  Best case scenario, we are playing our best basketball by seasons end.

Who do you see being leaders on this team?

I look for King to be our floor leader with his previous varsity experience and high basketball IQ.  I also look for O’Neal to help lead the team, he has already shown his ability to communicate and help other players in practice.  Henson will also supply senior leadership for the team.

What style of game do you want to play this season?

On the defensive side we want to pressure the ball and play tough hard nose defense.  Offensively we would like to push the basketball in transition, but look for a high percentage shot if nothing is available on the break.


What are some goals you have for this season?

We haven’t really sat down and talked a whole lot about team goals for the upcoming season.   I believe most teams’ main goal for season is winning a Regional Championship and see what happens after that.   I think competing for MTC Conference among other tournaments would be our secondary goals.  I just try to tell the kids to work hard and get better every day.

What are the biggest challenges you face coming into a new program?

I would say the biggest obstacle is that everything will be new for both the kids and me.  I didn’t get hired until after summer contact day period and didn’t have any days to work with or see them play. The kids are learning a new system and how I expect things to be done.  I’m trying to learn about all the kids and their strengths and weaknesses.  Trying to do this and have a game after 2 weeks of practice is tough.  The kids have had a great attitude about everything and are working extremely hard.

What are you looking forward to the most, coming into a new program?

I enjoy the challenge and the process of being a part of a new program. The kids are extremely excited about what we are trying to do.    It’s definitely going to be a challenge, but if the kids continue to work we should have successful year.


Steve’s BDC West…SIRR Ohio…GEC……Turkey Tourney picks

by Steve Dunford 

You will see individual team previews of the Black Diamond, Southern Illinois River-to-River and Greater Egyptian Conferences.  Also I have how the hardware will be distributed next Saturday night at Christopher.

In the GEC, I used a little of sabermetrics.  Four through seven are even in my book.  The rankings might not determine strength of the opponent. It is a tough league to win on the road, so I slotted these four spots who has the home schedule advantage.

The conference is divided into two divisions.  One division is NCOE, Thompsonville, Crab Orchard, and Galatia, the other is Carrier Mills, Hardin County, Pope County, and Gallatin County.  You have a home and home with each team in the division.  The first game that you play against the team in your division counts as a conference game, the second a non-conference game.

I will do as many previews as ones I have made contact with from both divisions of the Black Diamond and River-to-River as well as the GEC of who I have made contact with.

I have did the same with the Christopher Turkey Tournament, as the teams outside the three conferences at Goreville and DuQuoin.

I only with predictions from the BDC West, and SIRR Ohio divisions.

Black Diamond West

1,  Goreville

2.  Sesser-Valier 

 3.  Christopher 

4.  Chester

5.  Vienna

6.  Trico

7.  Zeigler-Royalton

Southern Illinois River-to-River Ohio Division

1.   Murphysboro

2.  Harrisburg

3,  Benton 

4.  Massac County

5.  West Frankfort 

6.  Herrin

Greater Egyptian

1,  Gallatin County

2.  Thompsonville 

3.  Hardin County

4.  Pope County

5,  Crab Orchard

6.  Galatia

7.  Norris City Omaha-Enfield

8.  Carrier Mills

Christopher Turkey Tourney

Champion:  Webber Township

Runner up:  Christopher 

Third Place:  Thompsonville 

Fourth Place:  NCOE

Consolation Champion:  New Athens

Sixth Place:  Wayne City

Seventh Place:  Zeigler-Royalton 

Eighth Place:  Waltonville

I encourage you to get on social media, agree, disagree, or throw me under the bus even.


Thompsonville’s Harris -McClerren part of GEC Volleyball All Tournament Team

First Team

Halle Everett – Norris City-Omaha-Enfield   (MVP)

Kennedy Harris – Thompsonville  (Captian) 

Catherine Massey – Crab Orchard

Valerie Ahrens – Gallatin County

Ally Black – Norris City-Omaha-Enfield

Emily Bishop – Norris City-Omaha-Enfield

Second Team

Dani Renyolds – Galatia

Lindsay McClerren – Thompsonville 

Anna Stricklin – Galatia

Elizableth Martin – Gallatin County

Shaylie Black – Crab Orchard

Hailee Fromm – Gallatin County

43rd Annual Christopher Thanksgiving Tournament

Southern Illinois High School Scoreboard: WF Redbirds-Team of the week.

by Steve Dunford

The Redbirds in the final three minutes of halftime, getting ready to put together an impressive second half. Thank you Caryn Novak for letting me use your pictures.

There is not any upsets tonight.  I have to give the team of the week to the West Frankfort Redbirds.  I thought it would be a low scoring tight game.  Michael Marlo did an outstanding job brining it to me tonight.  I wish I was there .

There will be another homer pick tomorrow on Sportsvoice.  I look for Mike Murphy and Scott Hudson to give the Herrin Tigers the team of the week.  It is well deserved.

S-V-W-W makes the long trip to Albion tonight, pulled off another impressive win against the Edwards County Lions.  They were last weeks team of the week, they deserve some special mention.


Black Diamond

Carmi-White County 40 (1-1)   Christopher-Zeigler-Royalton 0 (0-2)

Sesser-Valier-Waltonville-Woodlawn 34 (2-0)  Edwards County 7 (1-1)

Fairfield 56 (2-0)   Chester 22 (0-2)

Johnston City 14  (1-1) Hamilton County 0 (0-2)

Eldorado (1-0) at Vienna-Goreville (1-0) (Sat 1 p.m.)


Southern Illinois River to River- intra division games

Benton 29 (1-1)  Sparta  13 (0-2)

West Frankfort  36 (1-1)  Pinckneyville  14 (0-2)

Herrin 49 (2-0)  Carterville 20 (1-1)

DuQuoin 33 (2-0) Harrisburg 27 (1-1)

Anna Jonesboro 43 (2-0)  Murphysboro 14 (0-2)

Nashville 17 (1-1)   Massac County 12 (0-2)




Thompsonville finishes their summer at .500

by Steve Dunford

It is July, and I was talking High School basketball this morning.  I will be getting to the rest of you in the next few days.

It was not biased, but I grabbed Pete Gordon first.  The reason was he was on Facebook when I did.  Matt Morgan was going to be next.  Most of you know that when I get to talking HS basketball, I get very long winded.

I will try to get to everyone in the next couple weeks.  It might be a while to get a hold of Kevin Toney.  He will probably be out west until week seven of the football season.

The Tigers got off to a quick 3-2 start last year with two victories over NCOE, and a win over cross county  Zeigler-Royalton in the consolation championship of  the Christopher Turkey Tournament.

The Tigers finished 7-18 last year.  There were high hopes after a 9-19 season in 2015-16.  Here were two things from last season.  T’ville was banged up, and there was a very good crop of seniors across Southern Illinois.

Thompsonville was very competitive down the stretch last year.  They gave Sweet 16 Gallatin County all they wanted, and with two starters with the flu bug, they hung around most of the night with Elite Eight Woodlawn in the first round  of the regionals.

In a quarterfinal game of the Murphysboro Sophomore Tournament, the Tigers gave 3A Breese Central all they wanted.  For the Cougars were a couple kids that played significant minutes, on the team that fell to Centralia in the Benton Sectional.

When I asked Coach Gordon about their summer, this is what he said, ” We were 9-9 (summer style games) which isn’t exactly the best measure to use. I subbed 5 for 5 most of the time assuring everyone equal minutes, which probably cost us a few wins.  I was very pleased with our summer effort.  There was very good participation.  We never had everyone there at the same time but most of the core guys were there.

We faced Webber Township, Z-R, Joppa, Waltonville (twice), Elverado, West Frankfort, Chester, Benton JV, NCOE (twice), Gallatin County (twice),  Hardin County, New Athens, and Trico.
He said they split with GEC foe Gallatin County, and defeated Elverado and NCOE without Tyson Kessler, who is one of the most underrated 1A point guards in Southern Illinois in my book.
We were talking about the GEC race.  Coach Gordon thinks they have a good shot to win the conference.  If it was November and I would be writing a preview, I would have Thompsonville slotted in the two slot, right behind Doug Miller’s Gallatin County Hawks.
I would have thrown Carrier Mills in the mix, but Keil Peebles lost his point guard Will Gibbs.  He will be still wearing purple, but for Randy Smithpeters’ Harrisburg Bulldogs.
Rod Wallace has a lot coming back at Galatia, so does Rodney Lane at Hardin County.  Crab Orchard will not be as strong as they have been but they are still Crab Orchard.  Norris City and Pope County will be young.  I have heard through the grapevine the youngest of the Floyd brothers is not playing this year. There will not be any give me games across the conference.
The conversation drifted to the Christopher Turkey Tournament.  Pete said he would like to see a top four seed at the Tourney.  I started talking bracketology with Tom Wheeler last year around late September.
When I was talking with Pete about the tournament, I used my scientific approach to come up with the bracket in late July.
Here is the bracket.  I will learn to draw them on Excel before the start of basketball season.  (Franklin County Schools in Caps)
Monday, November 20th.
6:15 p.m.  THOMPSONVILLE vs. Wayne City
7:45 p.m.  CHRISTOPHER vs.  Norris City-Omaha-Enfield
Tuesday, November 21st.
6:15  p.m.  New Athens vs. Waltonville
7;45  p.m.  Webber Township vs. ZEIGLER-ROYALTON
I know I write with a Thompsonville bias.  I will call them we at times.  It just happens when you slid a jersey over your head at least 100 times.
I told Coach Gordon, I would like to see a top eight seed at Sesser-Valier also.
Speaking of tournaments, if you have not been to championship night of the GEC tournament, it would be well worth your trip to Southeastern Illinois College.  It is close to a sectional final atmosphere.
There has been high hopes on the east side of Franklin County for this bunch coming up since Junior High.
Coach Gordon said that for GEC standards they will be huge.  In my book they will be huge for River to River standards.
In the middle will be 6′ 7″ junior, Anthoney Darge, who Gordon said had a great summer.  He will be joined in the post by 6′ 5″ senior Jake Dixon.  Reed Raubach, a 6′ 4″ junior will play the three.  Corbin Fitch a 6′ 3″ sophomore will play the two, and Tyson Kessler a 5′ 11″ junior will play the point.
The Tigers will have a much deeper bench this year.  Sophomore guard Peyton Roberts, a transfer from Benton will provide some depth in the backcourt, and has more than a good shot to start.  Junior Trey Bybee can shoot the lights out.  Junior post player Tyler Jones played some big varsity minutes late in the year.
The Tigers have never won a regional title.  In fact, they have only appeared in one championship game, losing a heart breaker to West Frankfort in 2004 at the Johnston City Class 1A regional.
On this steamy July night,  HS basketball is a little over four months away.



West Frankfort Redbirds, 1922 Benton Regional Champs

There might be some scores missing, but it looks like West Frankfort won the 1922 Benton Regional defeating Eldorado, 21-16.  They fell in the first round to of the Mt. Vernon Sectional to the Centralia Orphans, 28-19


Goreville 27-9 Chester

Christopher 32-20 McLeansboro

Galatia 24-14 Thompsonville

Percy 17-13 Chester

West Frankfort 21-16 Eldorado

Christopher 17-16 Marissa

Carrier Mills 21-13 Broughton

Thompsonville 45-20 Percy

Mount Vernon

Centralia 43-22 Greenville

Marion 58-26 Bridgeport

Collinsville 27-20 Olney

Centralia 28-19 West Frankfort

Marion 36-21 Collinsville

Centralia 32-12 Marion

Benton, West Frankfort, Illinois News | Franklin County News