ABV Jack’s new ranklings: Devils, Bearcats ranked, Tigers, Redbirds honorable mention

Jack Bullock knows the pule on 1A and 2A Boys Basketball for Springfield south more than anyone.  There are a lot of polls floating around and I think they are a little off.

One thing that Jack mentioned is Jared Curry of Christopher will be back Friday night against Goreville.  The Bearcats have survived the storm since he has been injured.  Several have stepped up including Gage Hawkins in his absence.

Please click for his latest rankings form A Baseline View






By Steve Dunford

The Thompsonville Tigers are making a long road trip to Elizabethtown tonight to take on the Hardin County Cougars.

Thompsonville comes into tonight with an 8-6 mark and 3-1 in the GEC. They are fresh off a win over arch rival Galatia 50-42.

Hardin County comes in with a 4-7 mark and a 2-0 record in the GEC.

The Cougars record is deceiving. All seven losses occured in the tough Goreville invitational Tournament and in the Eldorado Holiday Tournament.

The tough schedule was the first thing that Thompsonville Coach Pete Gordon referred to in our conversation.

It was the first thing out of coach Rodney Lane‘s mouth.

I asked him about hanging around with Harrisburg in the first round of the Eldorado Holiday Tournament. He said, “I was without (Conrad) Cowsert (a 6′ 4″ forward) and we still played with him. Guard Hunter Cullum was sick during the tournament as well.”

In the Red Eye Special the same day at Eldorado, they faced the Hamilton County Foxes and ran out of gas. Two of their losses are to Hamilton County.

Hardin County plays a loose 2-1-2 zone that looks like a 2-3 and the guards trap out of it. “There were times even Benton struggled with it at Goreville, We just made to many turnovers early, and we are getting better at taking care of the Basketball,” Coach Lane said.

“We have to slow down Thompsonville’s penetration and make them shoot it from the outside, especially Corbin Fitch. That is their game going to the hole. If you get them in the open court, they could run with Norris City.” said Coach Lane.

Coach Gordon said this about the Cougars. “Hardin Co. is so solid. Coach Lane does such a great job. They are sound at both ends of the floor.”

“We will have to play our best game yet to hang in there. They are extra tough on their home court. Hicks is All World. Austin and Cullum are getting better every game. Fowler is also a veteran.”

I look for the Tigers to come out in a 2-3 zone tonight. Since Peyton Roberts has been added into the starting lineup, they have been playing a lot of man to man, with Tyson Kessler drawing their biggest match up. I am curious what they come out in when I watch the film later this evening.

The key player for Thompsonville tonight is Reed Raubach, and if he is hitting from the outside. You might see a lot of Grady Furlow tonight, the sharp shooting freshman for the Tigers.

It will be an uphill battle tonight, but Thompsonville gets better every game. I can not wait to watch the film tonight and tell you about it in the morning.

Steve’s Ramblings: One of the greatest, hidden rivalries in Southern Illinois

By Steve Dunford 

THOMPSONVILLE –  When you hear of rivalries in Southern Illinois, you think of teams such as Pinckneyville-DuQouin, Herrin-Marion, Carbondale-Murphysboro.  Here in Franklin County, Benton-West Frankfort tops the list.  Then probably Christopher/Sesser-Valier.

The hidden rivalry unless you have experienced it is Thompsonville-Galatia.  I will refer to we as Thompsonville.  I can not help it.

Jack Bullock was there covering the game.  I told him I would link his story to the website, and I was going to sit back, sit on the Thompsonville side, and be a fan last night.

The only reason WEBQ was not there, because there is a weak cell phone signal coming out of the steel structure gym.  The Harrisburg station always would broadcast the game, if there was not a conflict with the Bulldogs.  A lot of times it was on the FM Frequency that was Rock 100 (Which now is owned by River Radio and is Z-100 now.)

When both teams were in the Conrad Allen Holiday Tournament when Mike Mitchell was voice of the Benton Rangers, he would broadcast from Wayne City on Q-106 if there was not a schedule confict.

This is a rivalry where the record books are thrown out.  During the days the Tigers were independents, or in the Mid South they still had a home and home against each other every year.  The teams have eleven miles of State highway 34 separating them.

Since Thompsonville joined the GEC about ten years ago, it means much more is on the line since it was a conference game last night.  It would take me a while to explain the quirky setup of the Greater Egyptian Conference, but when they face each other in February at Galatia, it will not count in the conference standings.

Some still disagree with the move the Tigers and NCOE made to go to the GEC.  It did not cause the now defunct Mid-South Conference to crumble.  I will tell you my side of the story from a T’ville perspective form a one-on-one basis.

I will say this, along with Galatia, the rivalry between Crab Orchard and Thompsonville has been heated over the years.  It is ten miles to Galatia, and 15 miles to Crab Orchard and Carrier Mills.  Along with less travel, this alumnus loves having the two top rivals in the same conference.

In the Mid South days, the closest conference school was Webber Township if you took back roads, and if you took all highways, Waltonville, which is about 30 miles.  The long trips to Pope County and Hardin County are negated by the long haul to Grayville.

On a night when the temperature was six degrees at tip-off, there was a full house.  If it was not so cold, there would have been standing room only.  Because of the close proximity of the schools, the game is played on a Tuesday night.

I usually sit behind the scorers table.  I did not hold court as much as I usually do, because I was into the game so much.  As I was sitting on the front row at the center line, official David Hill, Sr., told me to behave myself.  I think I only barked one time at the officials.

Between the third and fourth quarter he told me that I am getting to old for this.  I have quit for years, but I am back at it again.

The two coaches that are opposing each other were Rod Wallace, who is on his second tour at Galatia is coaching because the love of the game.

Before the game, I don’t talk to coaches unless I am spoken to.  I will give them a handshake that is it.  If they want to talk, I will talk.  Since I was a fan, I was going to talk to him after the game.  There was a little grand-daughter that was holding his hand.  Being a “paw-paw” is a lot more important than talking to me.

As a coach, I think I would work the officials like he does.  I think I even barked to “T” him up.

On the other bench,  have Pete Gordon, who is seeing the rebuilding process through.  He is starting to reap the benefits now.  The Tigers only had one conference win last year.  They are in the thick of things in the GEC, with a 3-1 record in the conference and 8-6 overall.

There were some times last night things got a little chippy.  Even though Galatia has a 5-10 record, they are a good ball club.  They gave Christopher all they wanted in the Bearcats vs. Bearcats, first round game of the Sesser-Valier Holiday tournament. They played in the very tough Vienna Classic to start the year.

At the game last night, I began to reflect on some of the old tales that was told about the rivalry that happened way before my time.

Tales get stretched over time in cafes, barber shops, and years ago “fillin stations.” Some of the real old timers used to say there was a special train that used to run when the two met in basketball.  They would say there would be the teams waiting at the depot when they would exit the train, ready to fist fight.

I know the rivalry at one time was to the point the two did not schedule games against each other.  Some claimed the IHSA stepped in.  My gut feeling it was self imposed.  I think the IHSA at the time had too many schools to worry about, than two district schools in the Southeastern part of the state, in the one class system days.

There was a fist fight that took place on the stage between Doug Creel and a member of the Galatia coaching staff while playing at Galatia.   It was at halftime.  They went down to our locker room mouthing off to one of our players.   Creel chased him up the steps.  There was a skirmish on the stage.   There was no blows between blue and red thrown.

Someone pulled the curtain, I am not narking on who, but I got the blame for it.  The Galatia Cheerleaders were doing their pom pom routine.  Both bleachers emptied, just to watch the show.

Earlier that year there was a Galatia ban placed on us by Coach Creel.  We lost by one on a last second shot from the back divided half line in the old Thompsonville gym that was waved off.

We got over it pretty quick after we got dressed.  There was a convoy of cars that went and ate pizza at Bondo’a with a lot of the Galatia players.   We all passed the bus on the way down there.

I was holding court being entertaining to some “mixed company” of Tigers and Bearcats, around the front table that seats about 15.  (For those who have been there)  There was some good nature teasing and some heated pong games that took place.

We were enemies for 32 minutes.  During that time, we hated each others guts from the tip to the horn.  As soon as we changed into street clothes we were buddies.

The next Monday at practice we were banned from going to Galatia unless we were with our parents.   It was not a very fun practice to say the least. We were told how the Beers’ boys were laughing at us.  (They were jokingly.)

Last night I witnessed the same.  When that ball was tipped up, on the court or end the stands, there were enemies across from each other.  After the game, there were people crossing the way, as friends, carrying on a conversation.

There are families that are intertwined.   There was a lady last night, well into her 80’s that lived in Thompsonville most of her life, had a great-grandson playing for Galatia.  She was all over the referees and “getting into the rivalry.”  I can think of four or five similar cases last night.

At half-time there was a “Parting of the Red Sea” moment.  The Galatia-Thompsonville Lady Cats (standing for Bearcats and Tigers)  had a varsity only contest at Galatia.  At halftime, ones who were team mates when they left Galatia, were sitting in opposite bleachers rooting their respective teams on.

Today I was thinking how many coaches over the year got their start at Galatia or Thompsonville.  In fact Congressman Glenn Poshard. coached at both schools in his younger days.

Long time coach Ed Belva, who spent the majority of his career at Waltonville, started at Galatia.  Long time coach and administrator at Sesser-Valier, Nick Laur started there.

Along with Creel, current Southeastern Illinois College coach Mark Motsinger, got his start at Thompsonville. Gallatin County Coach Doug Miller started his coaching career at T’ville.  Russ Hobbs, who has coached at the junior high level for around 40 years at Christopher. was the head coach of the Tigers at the start of his coaching

When these two schools hook up, over time they traditionally split with each other, with the home team coming out on top.  There is something that will happen until the Lord comes back, each team will leave the gym blaming the loss on the referees.








Tigers continue winning ways

Darge comes up “large” with double-double; Thompsonville tops Galatia

Thanks to Jack Bullock for letting me link this.  I was able to sit back and watch two long time rivals get together last night.

Here is a link to the story from “ABV Jack.”



Tigers win consolation championship at the Sesser-Valier Holiday Tournament

By Steve Dunford 

SESSER –   It was one of those games that defense won the battle.   Marissa-Coulterville was one of those teams that slid underneath the radar at the Sesser-Valier Holiday Tournament.  They gave the champions, Goreville all they wanted in the first round.

The Meteors reminded me of one of the old Curt Reed Hamilton County teams.  They do not take a bad shot.  They play tough man-to-man.  Point guard Cameron Bowlby waits for a good opportunity for dribble drive penetration.  They can shoot the three.

They held a Galatia team that likes to run to 36 points the day before.

The Tigers were patient on the offensive end, pounding the ball into 6′ 7″ center Anthony Darge as the Tigers win the consolation championship 43-41 on Friday.

The Tigers shot 60% from the field for the afternoon.  Just like the third place game and the championship that day.  The game came down to the final possession.

Corbin Fitch scored on a run out with around :30 on the clock to give the Tigers the lead for good.  A good defensive effort on the other end did not allow them to get off a decent shot.

Anthony Darge led all scorers on the afternoon with a game high 16.  Corbin Fitch added 12 for T’ville.

Cameron Bowlby was the only Meteor in double figures with 15.  The point guard was an all tournament team selection along with Thompsonville’s point guard Tyson Kessler.

Thompsonville improves to (7-6) on the season.  This is the first time in several years the team has been over .500 this late in the season.  They will face their arch rivals the Galatia Bearcats (5-9) in a Greater Egyptian Conference match-up.  There are several teams knotted up in the conference race.  Here is a link to the GEC standings on A Baseline View.


Marissa-Coulterville falls to (5-7) on the season.  They hit the road to face the New Athens Yellow Jackets on Friday.

Box Score 

THOMPSONVILLE (43)  Darge 8 0 0-0 16, Fitch 6 0 0-0 12, Raubach 3 0 0-0 6, Kessler 2 0 0-3 4, Roberts 0 1 0-2 3, Kirkman 1 0 0-0 2, Dixon 0 0 0-0 0, Bybee 0 0 0-0 0

MARISSA-COULTERVILLE (41)  Bowlby 5 1 2-4 15, Jones 3 1 0-0 9, Steinwaggoner 3 0 2-3 8, McHughes 2 0 2-4 6, Breshears 1 0 0-0 2

Line Score

THOMPSONVILLE (7-6)    13 – 6 – 12 – 12   –  43

MARISSA-COULTERVILLE (5-7)   9 – 12 – 15 – 6 -41


A Baseline View releases new rankings



The Sesser-Valier Red Devils are ranked fifth and the Christopher Bearcats sixth in the latest poll Class 1A released by Jack Bullock (ABV Jack) of the website abaselineview.com.

The Thompsonville Tigers crack the honorable mention slot in Class 1A, and  the West Frankfort Redbirds crack the 2A honorable mention slot.

Please click on the link below for the latest poll.


All Tournament Team: Sesser-Valier Holiday Tournament

Cameron Bowby – Marissa-Coulterville

Matt Campbell –  Johnston City

Tanner Dunn – Goreville

Blake Fewkes – Woodlawn

Lukas Gunter – Sesser-Valier 

Gage Hawkins – Christopher 

Tyson Kessler – Thompsonville

Keith Kiener III – Chester

Preston Launius – Sesser-Valier 

Peyton Massey – Goreville

Blake McKay – Woodlawn

Chase Selby – Johnston City

Braden Webb – Goreville

Tyler Winchester – Sesser-Valier 

Bradley Young – Christopher 

Tigers pick up big win over Odin 78-66

By Steve Dunford 

SESSER – I have been saying when this team would put a full 32 minutes together to watch out.  Last night they did that.  They shot 72% from the free throw line, which there have been a lot of games they shot around the 50% mark.   I don’t know how many turnovers, there were a few in transition.

Most of all the Tigers had a big lead and held onto it.

The Tigers won in a consolation semi-final match-up against the Odin Eagles 78-66, at the Sesser-Valier Holiday Tournament last night.  They will play the Marissa-Coulterville Meteors at noon today.

This is an Odin team that won the consolation bracket of the Metro East Lutheran tournament.  They own wins over Patoka and Farina- South Central.  Webber Township barely escaped Marion County with a three point win.

In the first half is was Corbin Fitch vs. Seth Nix.  Fitch with his dribble drive penetration picked up 16 in the half. Nix had 18 points, as he had the hot hand with back to back to back threes.

The Tigers jumped out to an 18-15 lead with point guard Peyton Roberts was eight points in the first quarter.

Odin was up 34-33 at the half.  There were seven lead changes and three ties in the second quarter alone.  The Eagles hit four of their 11 threes in that quarter.

The guards were who the battle with in the first half. In the second half it was the post players. Anthony Darge had 11 in the half.  The transfer from Waltonville, Caleb Jordan had 14.

It was still a see-saw battle in the third with five lead changes.  Thompsonville goes on a 16-5 run to give them a 64-52 lead just under six minutes to go in the game.

Odin could not get past the eight point hump in the fourth quarter.  Frustration set in and a Odin player was “T”d up.  (I will never call a kid out who gets one).  Odin coach Tyler Mitchell decided he wanted one as well,  a few possessions later.  The Tigers capitalized at the free throw line, and they held on for a 78-66 victory.

Leading Thompsonville was Corbin Fitch with 28, Peyton Roberts 20, and Anthony Darge was the third tiger in double figures with 15.

Seth Nix led the Eagles with 24.  Caleb Jordan added 18.

Tiger coach Pete Gordon had this to say about last night’s game.  “It was a good win tonight. and all around it was our best game of the year. We executed our game plan.”

“Defensively we were solid. Tyson (Kessler) and Zack (Kirkman)did a great job face guarding Shaffer. Peyton (Roberts) and Corbin (Fitch) were great offensively. I am proud of our effort and felt we competed on a new higher level.”

Thompsonville improves (6-6) advanced to the Consolation Championship of the SVHT as we speak against the Marissa Meteors.

Coach Gordon had this to say about the matchup

Odin falls to (6-5) on the season.  They are off until January 9th when they make the short trip to Sandoval to take on the winless Hawks.

Box Score

THOMPSONVILLE (78)  Fitch 11 0 6-9 28, Roberts 1 5 3-6 20, Darge 6 0 3-4 15, Kessler 1 0 6-6 8, Raubach 1 1 0-0 5, Kirkman 1 0 0-0 2, Dixon 0 0 0-0 0

ODIN (66) Nix 1 7 2-8 24, Jordan 8 0 2-5 18, Friend 0 3 1-1 9,  Schaffer 0 2 2-2 8, G. Roberts  2 1 0-0 7, K. Roberts 0 0 0-0 0, Wood 0 0 0-0 0, Arnold 0 0 0-0 0

Line Score

THOMPSONVILLE (6-6)    18 – 15 – 23 – 22  –  78

ODIN  (6-5)    15 – 19 – 15 – 17  –  66


Thompsonville barely escapes with a win last night against Waltonville

By Steve Dunford 

SESSER –  The Thompsonville Tigers and the Waltonville Spartans tangled last night, in what was the closest game of the Sesser-Valier Holiday Tournament.

In a game where there were ten ties and eleven lead changes, the Thompsonville Tigers leave Sesser with a 51-49 win against the Waltonville Spartans.

Junior point guard Tyson Kessler comes up big for the Tigers in the closing seconds.  His penetration has been giving  opponents fits since his freshman year.

The Tigers struggled against the Spartan 2-3 zone.  They were unable to bust it, because they were ice cold behind the arc.  The Tigers put on a three point shooting clinic in Monday night’s game against Cobden.  They hit eight for the game, and six in the fourth quarter.

The only lead the Tigers had in the first quarter was a bucket by Reed Raubach at 2-0.  The Thompsonville defense had trouble guarding Jaylon Malone.  He rattled off six points in the first quarter, and was involved in any other bucket by Waltonville in the first quarter picking up assists.  Waltonville raced out to a 15-11 lead after one.

The Tigers did not shoot the three well, but Corbin Fitch and Tyson Kessler was taking it to the Waltonville zone.  Fitch put up eight points in the frame, and Kessler six.  Two came with time expiring in the half with the game tied.  Kessler knocked down two free throws to put the Tigers up two at halftime.

The Spartans took a seven point point lead with about two minutes on the clock in the third quarter and had the ball.  An Anthony Darge stickback, a three by Raubach, and another dribble drive bucket put Thompsonville 43-41 after three.

The Tigers went up 49-43 and looked like they were in the drivers seat.  They struggled from the free throw line down the stretch, and let the Spartans sneak back in to tie it up at 49.  Dillon Banach came up big for the Spartans down the stretch.

Tyson Kessler takes over  he scores the bucket to put T’ville on top.  The Tigers only had five fouls in the second half, so they had one to give.

Kessler fouls Waltonville with :00.5 on the clock.  The inbound was tipped around and the Tigers walk off with the victory.

Kessler also scored a game high 15 points.  Corbin Fitch gutted through illness and added 12.  Anthony Darge was the third Tiger in double figures with 11.

Thompsonville coach Pete Gordon had this to say about last night’s win.  “Waltonville was a struggle for us. We continue to do some things well, and struggle in other areas.”

“The tricky thing is, every time we play, those things keep changing and we never know what are going to be our strengths and what will be are weaknesses.”

“We executed some nice zone offense sets tonight ( we didn’t shoot from the perimeter well, 2-11 from three) We didn’t play good man defense either.” 

“I am proud of our seniors, Zack Kirkman and Jake Dixon.  They  gave us some quality minutes off the bench in the 3rd and 4th quarter, and help change the momentum after getting down seven.” 

Jaylon Malone led the Spartans with 15 on the night, Dillon Banach 12.  Let me also add that Banach did a great job on both ends of the floor against the much taller Tigers on the inside.  Gage Berkermeyer added 10 for the Spartans.

The Tigers improve to 5-6 on the season.  They will take on the Odin Eagles in a consolation semi-final game at 5 p.m. this afternoon.   Coach Gordon shared a few comments about Odin. “They are solid, and big. We will face an uphill battle. If we can make some perimeter shots and defend better then we did tonight I think we can keep it close.”

The Spartans fell to 2-8 on the season.  They will be taking a trip across Jefferson County to Bluford to face the Webber Township Trojans.

Box Score

THOMPSONVILLE (51)   Darge 4 0 3-7 11, Fitch 6 0 0-0 12, Raubach 2 1 0-1 7, Kessler 6 0 4-4 16, Roberts 0 0 0-0 0, Kirkman 0 1 0-0 3, Dixon 1 0 0-0 2, Furlow 0 0 0-0 0 .2FG-19, 3FG-2, FT-7-12, PF-10. 

WALTONVILLE (49)   Newell 1 1 1-2 6, Berkemeier 5 0 0-0 10, Malone 6 1 0-0 15, Banach 5 0 1-3 12, Webb 1 0 0-0 2, Haley 0 0 0-0 0, Tucker 2 0 0-0 4, Sheldon 0 0 0-0 0, Griffith 0 0 0-0 0. 2FG-20, 3FG-2, FT-3-5, PF-

Fouled out – Banach

Line Score

THOMPSONVILLE (5-6)    11 – 19 – 13 – 8  –  51

WALTONVILLE (2-8)  15 – 13 – 13 – 8  –  49





Appleknockers defeat Tigers in opening round of the SVHT

By Steve Dunford 

SESSER – In a game in which there were several lead changes, the Cobden Appleknockers defeated the Thompsonville Tigers last night 67-58, in the first round of the Sesser-Valier Holiday Tournament.

The Tigers went with a change in the starting lineup last night, inserting 5′ 10″ junior guard Peyton Roberts, who transferred from Benton.  Coach Pete Gordon had his team come out with a new look as well, as they played man-to-man all 32 minutes last night.  In the last several games, Thompsonville either played mainly a 2-3 zone and on occasion a 3-2 zone.

Tiger PG Tyson Kessler getting ready to drive on Appleknocker Dylan Lewey for two of his ten points on the night.

T’ville came out of the gate early as Cobden did not have an answer for Tyson Kessler or Corbin Fitch as they raced out to a 13-10 lead at the end of the first quarter.

There were five lead changes and one tie in the second quarter but a three by Joe Brumleve and two points of a steal by Appleknocker PG John Russell for two, had Cobden up 28-23 at the half.

There were three more lead changes in the third quarter as Freshman Grady Furlow gives the Tigers a 33-32 lead midway through the third quarter.  Russell again in the closing seconds of the quarter comes up with a big three to give Cobden a 42-38 lead going into the fourth quarter.

Around the five minute mark of the fourth quarter Clayton Eck hits a three and Brumleve posts up  put Cobden up 55-43.  They came up with a steal, and they looked like they were on their way to a 20 point win.

The Tigers then go on a tear from behind the arc bombing five consecutive threes.  Two were by Furlow, and Reed Raubach had three.  His last cut the Tiger deficit to 61-58.

Cobden executes and hits their free throws down the stretch for a 67-58 final.

Clayton Eck led the Appleknockers with 18 on the night, John Russell 14, Joe Brumleve 13, and Noah Franklin 12.  Brumleve, a 6′ 5″ sophomore, and Franklin, a 6′ 4″ freshman did an excellent job on Tiger center Anthony Darge,  who has several double doubles already on the season.   They limited him to four points and kept him off the glass most of the night.  Cobden coach Rhrett Barke had both of them defensively sagging on Darge.

Reed Raubach had a game high 19 for the Tigers, Tyson Kessler added 10, and Grady Furlow and Corbin Fitch had nine points on the night.

The Appleknockers improve to (9-6) on the season and will play the host, Sesser-Valier Red Devils in a quarterfinal match-up at 8 p.m. this evening.

The Tigers fall to (4-6) on the season and will face the Waltonville Spartans in a consolation round game at 6:30 p.m.

Box Score


COBDEN (67)  Eck 8 0 2-4 18, Russell 2 3 1-2 14, Brumleve 4 1 2-4 13, Franklin 3 0 6-8 12, Lewey 1 0 3-4 5, Allen 1 1 0-0 5, West 0 0 0-0 0,

THOMPSONVILLE (58)  Raubach 3 4 1-2 19,  Kessler 4 0 2-2 10, Furlow 0 3 0-0 9, Fitch 4 0 1-2 9, Roberts 2 1 0-0 7, Darge 2 0 0-0 4, Dixon 0 0 0-0 0, Kirkman 0 0 0-0 0

Score By Quarters


COBDEN (9-6)    10 – 18 – 14 – 25  –  67

THOMPSONVILLE (4-6)    13 – 10 – 15 – 20  –  58





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