SVHT Preview: #5 Cobden (8-6) vs Thompsonville (4-5)

By Steve Dunford 

From conversations on the Saturday Morning talk shows on the radio,  most have this game circled for being the best one of the day.

Both teams will come in hungry today, because the Appleknockers and the Tigers let their last games slip away from them.  Cobden led the whole game against a very good Goreville Blackcat team, before Braden Webb flat out took over, as Goreville won 71-68.

Thompsonville on the other hand, squandered an 11 point lead with four minutes to go down at Century to lose the game in overtime 74-71.   The Appleknockers defeated Century 65-45 in the Vienna Classic.

Some other common opponents.  The Tigers defeated Carrier Mills 64-37 and Elverado 52-51.  Cobden defeated Carrier Mills 75-53 and Elverado 48-43.

Three to watch for the Appleknockers tonight is 6′ 3″ Clayton Eck, who has a very good inside outside game.  Their point guard John Russell seems like he has been in high school for seven or eight years now.  Noah Franklin a 6′ 4″ freshman was giving Goreville fits on the inside on Tuesday night.

For Thompsonville, 6′ 2″ Sophomore guard Corbin Fitch has turned into a scoring machine, averaging 15 + points a game for the Tigers.  Reed Raubach a 6′ 5″ junior can fill it up from the outside, 6′ 7″ junior center Anthony Darge has been getting double doubles night in and night out, and 5′ 10″ junior point guard Tyson Kessler has been open for more points as of late, as teams are not keying on him as much.  He was the Tigers biggest scoring threat last year.  He is very unselfish, and been picking up five or more assists in most games.

Thompsonville has played a 2-3 zone most of the year, and on occasion go to a 3-2.  Eck and Russell might cause them to go man to man because both are shooters.

Cobden was running a half court trap against Goreville.  That can work either for or against the Tigers.

In the paint Franklin might cause the Tigers some problems, because he is a little more physical than Raubach and Darge.  However the duo from Thompsonville, especially Darge could pick up some blocked shots.

Over the last two years, these squads have been each others nemesis.  Two years ago Cobden won on last second shots twice.  Last year Thompsonville went to Union County and picked up a nice win over the Appleknockers.

Being a T’ville guy, what scares me about Cobden is the opponents they have played with.  They caused Goreville some problems last Tuesday night, in a game that I watched on Black Cats Network.   They also gave Anna-Jonesboro a good scare as well.

The Tigers have yet to put together a complete 32 minute game this year.  When they do, they can be a very dangerous ball club.  They have struggled at the free throw line, and turnovers have plagued them.

Like the prognosticators that are predicting this has the potential of being one of the closest first round games.  I think the match-up between Johnston City and Odin has the potential to be too.

A few Devil fans have asked me about Grady Furlow, a 6′ 1″ freshman who transferred from Sesser-Valier a couple of years ago.  On the JV level he is the Tigers biggest scoring threat.  On the varsity level, his minutes have been increasing every game.



Tigers lose in overtime to Century 74-71

By Steve Dunford 

ULLIN –  The Thompsonville Tigers led 55-44 at the four minute mark of the fourth quarter.   T’ville fouled the Centurions twice behind the arc just under the two minute mark. one converting on a four point play.  The momentum made a big swing to Century.

This led to both teams being tied at 63 at the end of regulation.  The Centurions outscored the Tigers 11-8 for a 74-71 victory.

The Tigers jumped out to a 16-12 lead after the end of the first quarter.  Reed Raubach finished off the quarter with 8 straight points, with six on back to back threes.  He likes that 22 foot baseline jumper.

Raubach starts the quarter with a 12 foot shot from the baseline to end his ten point run.  With their size, the Tigers have been mainly playing a 2-3 zone.  The Centurions started picking it apart hitting some threes.  Thompsonville was down by nine in a hurry.

T’ville switches to man-to-man.  That slowed the Century rally.  Both teams go to the locker room with Century with a 32-24 lead.

The Tigers come out of the locker room and wiped out the Centurion lead in a hurry.  The game was tied up at 42 after three.

As stated earlier, this is were things were interesting in the fourth quarter.

Coach Pete Gordon has this to say about last night’s loss.   Unfortunately, it was one of those games. You got to make free throws down the stretch you have to defend better.  It was very disappointing.

On a positive note we played really well at times we defended well at times. We just have to put it all together for a full 32 minutes.

For Century, three players were in double figures Davis had 31, Ryan 12, and Jones 10.

Thompsonville had four in double figures.  Tyson Kessler led with 19 points, Reed Raubach 17, Corbin Fitch 16, and Anthoney Darge 15.

Century improves to (5-4) on the season.  They open up play in the Sesser-Valier Holiday Tournament facing #7 seed, the  Steeleville Warriors at noon on December 26th.

Thompsonville falls to (4-5) on the season.  They also are in the Sesser-Valier Holiday Tournament.  They face the Cobden Appleknockers on the 26th.   Cobden lost a heart-breaker to Goreville 71-68, in a game the led all the way until the last two minutes.

The Tigers won the battle of the boards 50-23.  Anthoney Darge had 16 rebounds on the night.

Coach Gordon had this to say about Cobden.  “They are going to be a ton to deal with  They are big, long, experienced, and a solid mixture of veterans and youth. We certainly will have our hands full.”

Box Score

CENTURY (74)  Davis 11 5-7 31, Ryan 4 4-6 12, Jones 3 2-2 10, Biggerstaff 3 1-4 7, Hight 1 2-2 5, Miller 0 5-8 5,  Long 2 0-0 4, Richardson 0 0-0 0,  THREE POINT FIELD GOALS: Davis 4, Jones 2, Hight  FOULED OUT:  Ryan, Hight

THOMPSONVILLE (71)  Kessler 6 0 7-8 19, Raubach 7 0-0 17. Fitch 6 4-9 16, Darge 7 1-4 15, Dixon 1 0-0 2, Roberts 0 2-4 2, Chullen  0 0-0 0, Furlow 0 0-0 0, Bybee 0 0 0-0 0 THREE POINT FIELD GOALS:  Raubach 3  FOULED OUT:  Kessler

Score By Quarters

CENTURY (5-4)    12 – 20 – 10 – 21 – 11 – 74

THOMPSONVILLE (4-5)  16 – 8 – 18 – 21 – 8 -71







Tigers improve to .500 with a nail-biter over Elverado

By Steve Dunford 

THOMPSONVILLE  –  The series between the Thompsonville Tigers and the Elverado Falcons started in the late 1970’s.  It ended when Thompsonville joined the Mid-South conference.  They were independents for several years.

When I was a freshman, we picked up a blowout overtime win.  I don’t remember how much, bur everyone picked up some playing time.  Current FCHS girls basketball coach Matt Hampleman had two monstrous dunks in the final frame that night.

Over thirty years later the Tigers came close to coming out of Elkville with an upset win.  The lost in overtime by around 15 as several Tigers fouled out.

Saturday night will go in the archives as another wild one as the Tigers pull out a 52-51 victory.

In the middle of the third quarter the Tigers had a 32-18 lead.  Falcon Coach Jason Emling called a time out  They came out in a 2-2-1 three quarter quart press.

The Tigers did a halfway decent job breaking the press.  It seemed to me it rushed them on the offensive end.  The Falcons chipped away and ended up tying it at 38 midway through the fourth quarter.  Dawson White and Aquantez Penn Caught fire.

Lets pick things up at :34 in the fourth quarter.  White comes to the line and knocks down two free throws to put Elverado up 49-46.

Tyson Kessler goes coast to coast to cut the Falcon lead to one.  White is fouled and hits both ends of a one and one to put Elverado up 51-48.

Reed Raubach (I believe could not pick up the baseline on the video)  hits a three to tie it back up at 51 with 16 seconds.  They go for one shot.  With :02 on the clock Elverado turns over the ball on a traveling violation.  Then the Tigers put it away when Corbin Fitch is fouled with :004 on the clock.  He goes to the line with no time left on the clock and hits the back end of a double bonus.

Here is a link to the fourth quarter

The Tigers improve to 4-4 on the season.  They Travel to Ullin tomorrow night to face the Century Centurions.  Then they face another SEC team the Cobden Appleknockers in the first round of the Sesser-Valier Holiday Tournament.   Corbin Fitch Led T’ville with 16

Elverado falls to 8-4 on the season. They are off until they open in the Duster Thomas Hoops Classic.  They face Jerseyville and DuQuoin on December 29th.


Box Score

THOMPSONVILLE (52)  Fitch 7 0 2-5 16, Kessler 3 0 5-8 11, Darge 4 0 2-7, Raubach 0 3 0-0 9, Dixon 2 0 2-2 6, Kirkman 0 0 0-0 0, Furlow 0 0 0-0 0

ELVERADO (51)  White 1 6 4-4 24, Penn 4 2 2-2 16, Alstat 1 1 0-0 5, Bernandini 2 0 0-0 4, Floyd 1 0 0-0 2, Carraker 0 0 0-0 0, Shearer 0 0 0-0 0

Score by Quarters

THOMPSONVILLE (4-4)   9 – 13 – 12 – 18 –   52

ELVERADO (8-4)   6 – 10 – 12 – 23 –   51






Sesser-Valier Holiday Tournament Parings Released

SESSER – The Parings for the Sesser Valier Holiday Tournament were released about an hour ago.   The Woodlawn Cardinals received the top seed in the event.  They will face the Zeigler-Royalton Tornadoes at 5:00 p.m, in a first round matchup.  All first round games will be played on December 26th.

The Christopher Bearcats (4-1) are the #3 seed, facing the Galatia Bearcats (2-6)  at 10:30 a.m.

The Sesser-Valier Red Devils (2-5) are the #4 seed and they will face the Waltonville Spartans in their traditional 8 p.m. matchup.

The Thompsonville Tigers (3-4) are unseeded and they face the #5 seed the  Cobden Appleknockers (6-4) at 6:30 p.m.

Below is the full bracket – sd




Steve’s Bracketology: The Sesser Valier Holiday Tournament

By Steve Dunford 

Panoramic view of Sesser-Valier high school gym last season.

Over the last week, I have been asked by a few people to share my thoughts on the seedings of the Sesser-Valier and Eldorado Holiday Tournaments.  They will be released in the next few days.

I am not a coach, so I do not get a ballot to seed the teams.  I am going to go 1-16 in case they seed the teams all the way through.  In the past, both tournaments list 9-16 as unseeded.

I love to hear your thoughts.  I hope this spurs some conversation. Franklin County teams are in bold.

Goreville (#1  4-2) –  The Blackcats gave A-J all they wanted in their own tournament banged up.  They are in the middle of a two week break, which could not come at a better time for Coach Todd Tripp.  I have watched Goreville a few times this season on film.  I will get to see them live, if the Lord is willing on Saturday night against West Frankfort.

Sesser-Valier (#2 2-4) –  You might ask why I have seeded the hosts so high?  I am going to pull a “Mo” on you by answering my own question.  They hung around with every team at DuQuoin in their losses.  A blowout win over Joe Hosman’s Massac County Patriots as DQ and leaving Chester with a 15 point win on Friday upped their seed a few notches.  It is no disgrace getting beat by Okawville by 20.  

Woodlawn (#3 3-3) –  The Cardinals had a very good weekend, beating Odin by 20 and Christopher by 10.  They just keep reloading and winning.

Christopher (#4 4-1) –  The Bearcats slid a few notches after falling to Woodlawn.  They were projected as my top seed going into the game with the Cardinals.  If Young and Curry are on fire, they can be cutting the nets down two years in a row. 

Chester (#5 5-2)  –  Like Christopher, they slid down a couple of notches, after the Devils beat them on their own floor over the weekend.  A fifteen point loss to Murphysboro would not have hurt them one bit.

Odin (#6 5-3)  –  Eagle Coach Tyler Mitchell is no stranger to the SVHT.  The Eagles dropped two in a row to the top dogs of the Midland Trail, Webber Township and Woodlawn.

Cobden (#7 6-4)  –  If I ever need an attorney, I want Appleknoker coach Rhett Barke representing me.   I love to watch him coach.  They about knocked off Meridian over the weekend.

Steeleville (#8 4-4)  –  Owen Gross is one of the better players in the tournament.  Whether they go left or right, the Warriors seem to always play four games.

Johnston City (#9 2-5)  –  This is a homecoming for Indian coach Scott Burzynski.  The coach can point to his #54 jersey hanging in the commons.  I have not watched them play, but it seems that JC gets better every time out.  They might make some noise.

Thompsonville (#10 3-4)  –  A fifteen point loss at Pope County probably cost them a top 8.  If the team shows up that played in the second half against Webber Township, the Tigers can spring an upset and move right. 

New Athens (#11 4-4) –  The Yellow Jackets are solid.  Jackson Heintz will be one of the better post players in the tournament.  They waltzed through the consolation bracket of the Christopher Tournament.

Century (#12 3-4) –  They had a decent Vienna Classic.  A loss Egyptian caused their stock to plummet.

Galatia (#13 2-6) –  A lot of people comment to me about T’ville and their big front line.  Galatia equally is as deep on the inside.  They lost their backcourt due to graduation.   The Bearcats picked up a nice win over Crab Orchard Friday night.

Marissa-Coulterville (#14 4-4)  The Meteors have a couple wins against private schools in the Metro East that are in the startup phases of their program.  Steeleville beat them by 30.  This is the reason for the low seed.

Waltonville (#15 2-6)  Their wins are against winless Z-R and Sandoval.  It is going to be a tough year for the Spartans.

Zeigler-Royalton (#16 0-6)  It is no secret the Tornadoes are rebuilding.  They came an eyelash from knocking off Woodlawn last year.  



Tigers comeback against Webber falls short

By Steve Dunford 

THOMPSONVILLE –  In the first half Coach Pete Gordon and his Thompsonville Tigers did not have an answer defensively for the Webber Township Trojans.  If the would have his ball club fall back in a zone, they started bombing threes.  If they would play man to man, post player Charles Neal would have his way on the inside.

Webber and Thompsonville mixing it up last night at Doc Harvey gym.

Early in the first half the Tigers were down by as many as 16 and were down by 20 early in the third quarter.

Webber goes ice cold, in which the Trojans shot over 70% from the field, and shot 48% for the game.  T’ville was ice cold for the first half, and went on a ten-minute stretch in the second half they could not miss.

At the 2:32 mark of the fourth quarter Thompsonville was down 47-43 with the ball.  They did not score the rest of the night.  The lid was on the bucket as the Tigers could not buy a basket.  Webber could not hit a free throw.

Webber was chipping away and went up 49-43 with seconds left on the clock.  Trojan coach Brad Beatty calls a “hell fire and brimstone” timeout.  He keeps telling his team they need to put someone away down the stretch.

Later, I found out that they about let their Midland Trail Conference opener get away from them against the Odin Eagles.  Webber left with a 53-43 victory last night.

“This was a different team than we played at Christopher a couple of weeks ago.   (Corbin) Fitch and (Tyson) Kessler cause us a world of match-up problems.  This is a team that gets better every time out.  I hope we are in different regionals in February.”  Webber coach Brad Beatty said about the Tigers.

Freshman Grady Furlow (20) on the post for the Tigers. The transfer from Sesser-Valier two years back is seeing his minutes increase each game at the varsity level for the Tigers.

We just could not get over the hump.  Turnovers (23) and free-throws (4-10 40%) hurt us again.  I loved the way we fought and battled back in the second half.  Webber, especially (Charles) Neal has had our number over the last couple of years.” Thompsonville coach Pete Gordon said about last night’s loss.

Charles Neal led the Trojans with 21 points on the night.  He held Tiger Center Anthoney Darge to seven points and one rebound on the night.  Dylan Stratton added 18 points for Webber.

Tyson Kessler and Corbin Fitch were the two Tigers in double figures with 11 points on the night.  Neal and Stratton will get their points.  The Tiger zone was effective on the third prong of the Trojan scoring attack in sophomore Dalton Adcock.  He was limited to three points on the night.

Webber improved to (5-1) on the season.  They will be making the eight mile trip up route 15 to face the Cisne Running Lions at the Conrad Allen Holiday Tournament as we speak.

Thompsonville falls to (3-4)  They will host the Elverado Falcons on week from tonight in a non-conference matchup.

Box Score

WEBBER TOWNSHIP (53)  Neal 8 0 5-8 21, Stratton 4 2 4-6 18, Mount 0 1 1-2 4, Adcock 0 1 0-0 3, Thompson 0 1 0-0 3; Taylor 1 0 0-0 2

THOMPSONVILLE (43)  Kessler 4 1 0-0 11; Fitch 4 0 3-6 11, Darge 3 0 1-4 7; Raubach 2 1 0-0 7, Dixon 2 0 0-0 4, Furlow 0 1 0-0 3

Score By Quarters

WEBBER TOWNSHIP (5-1)  15  – 18 – 10 – 10 –   53

THOMPSONVILLE (3-4)  5 – 12 – 14 – 12 –   43

T’ville improves to .500 with win over Carrier Mills

By Steve Dunford 

THOMPSONVILLE –  With a minute and some change left on the clock in the first quarter, Thompsonville coach Pete Gordon switches from a full court man to man to a 2-3 zone.  The Tigers were down 14-8 at that point.

T’ville then goes on a 33-9 run over the next 13 minutes.  They also go on a 10-0 run to close out a 64-37 win last night over Carrier Mills at William H. “Doc” Harvey gym last night.

Sophomore Corbin Fitch led the Tigers in scoring again with 22 points, Tyson Kessler added 17 with seven assists and seven steals, Anthoney Darge eight, Trey Bybee four, Grady Furlow and Jake Dixon three, Zack Kirkman, Bryson Chullen and Reed Raubach two, and Tyler Jones added a free throw for the Tigers.

Rostin Lewis was the only Wildcat in double figures with 11 points, Andrew Lollis added nine and Billy Lewis added eight.

Coach Gordon had this to say about last nights win.  It was a  slow start but played well as the game unfolded.  We took care of the ball better with only 12 turnovers. I think our size showed up, as we out rebounded them 40-26.

Carrier Mills fell to (1-6)(0-1).  The will host the Hardin County Cougars on Friday night in a GEC conference matchup.

Thompsonville improves to (3-3)(2-1) on the season.  They will host their former Mid South conference foes, the Webber Township Trojans.  Webber picked up a nice 56-53 win at Odin last night.

The Tigers are seeking to revenge a blowout win against the Trojans in the Christopher Turkey Tournament.  This is what Coach Gordon had to say about the rematch. “Webber is going to be a difficult game for us, but we are excited to get a chance to play better than the first time we played them. There is plenty of room for improvement.”

If the Lord is willing, I will be at Doc Harvey gym on Friday night covering this game.


Fitch-Raubach combine for 56 pts. as T’ville knocks off NCOE

By Steve Dunford 

NORRIS CITY –  So far this season, the Fighting Cardinals struggled from behind the arc, which is the bulk of their offense.  NCOE bombed 14 threes last night, but the Thompsonville Tigers held on for an 86-83 victory.

“It Was a layup fest, we scored 68 points inside the paint.  We only had one bucket outside of ten feet.  The rest came from the free throw line.”  T’ville coach Pete Gordon said after last night’s win.


Tigers Corbin Fitch who had a game high 32 points drives the lane against New Athens during the Christopher Turkey Tournament.

Of those points from the paint sophomore guard Corbin Fitch had 32 points on the night with Reed Raubach adding 24.

NCOE raced out to a 21-18 lead after the first quarter.  Freshman Jack Riggs had four of his seven threes on the night in that frame, which led to his 21 points on the night.

The fighting Cardinals expanded their lead to 46-40 at the half.  In the locker rooms, Coach Gordon said the Tigers tweaked their press breaker, using a 1-4, instead of the diamond which has been used very effectively with teams against the Cardinals across Southern Illinois.

Coming out of the locker rooms, Reed Raubach had a big third quarter with nine points and Corbin Fitch had eight points.   After three quarters, Thompsonville was on top 64-63,

It was nip and tuck through the fourth quarter.  At the two minute mark NCOE had a three point lead with the ball.  Tyson Kessler, who came up big down the stretch in the win against New Athens, came up with a big steal to cut the Cardinal Deficit to one.

NCOE turned the ball over and the Tigers quickly was up by one.  The Tigers go with junior guard Peyton Roberts down the stretch, who transferred from Benton during the offseason.  He goes 4/4 from the free throw line. To give the Tigers an 86-83 lead.

A buzzer beater by Brandon Skaggs rims in and out, which would have sent the game into overtime. Skaggs had a team high 25 on the night for the fighting Cardinals.

Tiger big man Anthoney Darge had 14 on the night for the Tigers and Tyson Kessler added 11 for the fourth Tiger in double figures.  Teams are starting to key on Kessler some.  The junior in my book will be the top point guard in 1A in the south his senior season.

Roberts added his four points down the stretch and Jake Dixon chipped in a free throw.  Bryson Chullen and Grady Furlow logged some minutes for the Tigers and did not score.

Also in the Scoring column for NCOE was Trey Simmons with 11,  One thing that jumped out at me was Evan Healy, who came into the game averaging 20+ ppg. added nine.

Thompsonville (2-3)(1-1) on the season will host Carrier Mills (1-5)(0-1) on Tuesday night.  NOCE (1-4)(0-2) host their cross county rivals the Carmi-White County Bulldogs (1-1) on Tuesday as well.




Thompsonville (1-3) travels to NCOE (1-3)

By Steve Dunford 

After a first round barn burning 53-52 win against New Athens in the Christopher Turkey Tournament, the Thompsonville Tigers have dropped three games in a row by double digits.

Tonight they travel to Norris City to face the NCOE Fighting Cardinals.  Both teams fell in their Greater Egyptian conference openers to teams that have taken off to surprising fast starts.

The Tigers fell to Pope County (4-2) on the road last week 55-40.  NCOE fell at Crab Orchard 62-46 last Tuesday night.

The Trojans who were supposed to be rebuilding are suddenly 6-0 on the season.  The travel to Golconda to take on the Pope County Pirates tonight.

I am curious to see what will happen in this one.  Evan Healey has seemed to replace Matt Long as the long bombing three point threat.  It seems like the Fighting Cardinals are having a tough time replacing Cooper Wells.

One of the keys for tonight’s game for the Tigers is not to get foul happy.  They have the horses to run with Coach Evan Wylie’s run and gun offense with the goal of shooting 80 shots a game and 40 from behind the arc.

Tonight’s game will be streamed on WROY in Carmi.  Here is a link to the broadcast





Tigers drop third straight….lose to Pope County 55-40

By Steve Dunford 

GOLCONDA –  In a road venue that has not been too kind in the past, it was the case again tonight as the Thompsonville Tigers lost their third straight to the Pope County Pirates 55-40.  It was the Greater Egyptian Conference opener for both teams.

Pope County rushes out to an 18-6 first quarter lead and never looked back.  Sebastian Fasolo hit two of his four 3’s on the night.  He had a game high 20 points.

Reed Raubach, led the TIgers with 13 points in tonight’s loss to Pope County

Reed Raubach and Anthoney Darge each had 6 each in the second quarter for the Tigers, but Pope Big Man Josh Floyd had all of his seven points on the night, with stepping behind the arc to hit a three.  T’ville cuts the lead to eight, 29-21 at halftime.

There was very little offense to speak of in the third quarter, as the Pirates outscored the Tigers 8-4 to take a 37-25 lead.

Foul trouble played the Tigers in the fourth, and Pope County made their free throws down the stretch for a 55-40 final.

Along with Fasolo’s 20 on the night, Matthew Davis added 10 points on the night for the Pirates.  Pope County improves to (4-2)(1-0) on the season and host the Crab Orchard Trojans in a GEC match up.

For the Tigers Raubach had a team high 13, Darge Added 12, Corbin Fitch 10, Tyson Kessler 3,  Zack Kirkman 2 to round out the scoring for T’ville.  Trey Bybee, Grady Furlow, and Peyton Roberts saw action, but did not score.

Thompsonville falls to (1-3)(0-1) on the season.  They travel to Norris City on Friday to take on Evan Wylie’s high octane offense, the NCOE Fighting Cardinals.






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