Eldorado Holiday Tournament bracket released

The brackets for the Eldorado Holiday Tournament were released this afternoon  The West Frankfort Redbirds square off against the Fairfield Mules on December 28th, at 4:45 p.m.  Here is the full bracket.



Webb tosses in 31 as Goreville defeats the WF Redbirds handily

By Steve Dunford 

WEST FRANKFORT – It was a tale of two nights for the West Frankfort Redbirds.  Last night they gave their arch rivals and SIRR Ohio foes the Benton Rangers all they wanted in a 49-45 loss.

Coach Todd Tripp’s team fell to Benton two weeks from tonight 72-46 in the Goreville Invitational Tournament.  The Backcourt of Peyton Massey and Braden Webb were banged up during that contest.

Webb rolled an ankle in the tournament  Massey had a broken collar bone suffered in football.  He was a threat in the backfield for the Vienna-Goreville Eagles.

Tonight, the West Frankfort Redbirds did not have any answer for Webb as he tossed in a game high 31 points as the Blackcats defeated the Redbirds 78-61.

The Redbirds played their guts out on Friday night.  This is not a slam, but they looked like a team that was out of gas last night.  I told coach Toney Friday night, they had a Floorborn – U look from the SIU days.  They were diving after every loose ball.

On the other side, Todd Tripp’s Goreville Blackcats looked like the team that could possibly end up in Peoria in Class 1A.  The Trio of Webb, Massey and Tanner Dunn have started since their freshman year.  They had an eleven day gap in their schedule.  They had a nice win over Z-R on December 5th.

In the opening seconds of the ball game the score was Webb 7 WF 0.  C.J Johnson Began to match Webb with putting on a scoring clinic of his own.  He finished with 25 on the night.  Goreville Raced out to a 21-13 lead.

Webb Continued on his tear and at the Blackcats led 43-29 at halftime.  Webb had 27 at this point.  The Redbirds were in deep foul trouble.  Coach KevinToney had to go with CJ Johnson and Kyle Hammers with three fouls in the first half.

West Frankfort starts the second half in a trapping zone.  It shut Webb down but the Redbirds did not have an answer for Peyton Massey.  He bombed three trifectas in a two minute stretch to put Goreville up by 25.  CJ Johnson hit a buzzer beating 18 footer to cut the lead at the end of three 70-49.

The Redbirds came out on fire in the fourth quarter and cut the Goreville lead till 14.  Coach Tripp calls a timeout and the Blackcats began to eat some clock with four minutes and some change on the clock.  Goreville scored on a couple of back door cuts to expand the lead.

Both coaches called off the dogs then and both teams began to sub freely.

Goreville improves to 5-2 on the season.  They will host the Cobden Appleknockers on Tuesday, in a final tuneup before the Sesser-Valier Holiday Tournament.

West Frankfort falls to 0-7.  This closes out their schedule until after Christmas.  Seeds for the Eldorado Holiday Tournament will come out on Wednesday.

Box Score

GOREVILLE (78)  Webb 11 6-6 31, Massey 5 2-2 16, Dunn 4 4-6 12, Tosh 1 5-8 7, Glidewell 1 1-2 4. Allbright 0 4-4 4. Geyman 1 0-0 2, Bishop 1 0 0-0 2.  Three point field Goals:  Webb 5, Massey 4, Glidewell

WEST FRANKFORT (61)  Johnson 10 2-5 25, Trash 4 0-1 10, Croslin 3 2-2 8, Wolfe 3 2-2 8, Hammers 3 2-2 8, B. Russell 1 0-0 2  Three point field goals:  Johnson 3, Thrash 2

Score By Quarters

GOREVILLE (5-2)    21 – 22 – 27 – 8 –   78

WEST FRANKFORT (0-7)    13 – 16 – 15 – 14 –   61









Rangers – Redbrids face off tonight

By Steve Dunford 

The girls between the two rivals took the floor last night and it was a dandy.  It was an overtime win by West Frankfort with a buzzer beater being waved off at the end of regulation.  This contest has the potential to be another barn burner.

The Benton Rangers (6-1)(0-1) and the West Frankfort Redbirds (0-5)(0-1) will face off tonight at Max Morris Gym in West Frankfort.

If you would ask people from West Frankfort what is the nicest gym in Southern Illinois they would say Max Morris. If you would ask people from Benton, they would say Rich Herrin. I love the 1950’s era bowl gyms., which I feel Duff-Kingston is the grand daddy of them all. This photo is from the Peoria Journal star a few years ago, in which they featured the top gyms south of them. All three made the list.

The Rangers picked up a nice road win at Carmi on Tuesday night, a place the Rangers have historically struggled.   It has been a week since the Redbirds have taken the floor.  They were blown out by the Harrisburg Bulldogs in their SIRR Ohio opener, a team that can make a deep run in the post season in class 2A.

West Frankfort Coach Kevin Toney had to say this about the Rangers, “This group of kids is seeking name contribution in a historic program.  Last year they was able to watch a very fine team being celebrated by the community.   They want to chart their own reputation.  They are intense, hard working and most of all good kids.  They are very well coached as well.”

Benton Coach Ron Winemiller shared some thoughts about West Frankfort tonight. He said, “The Redbirds are very big and physical. Their size and strength will cause use lots of issues. (Kyle) Hammers has developed into a very good point guard that does a very good job of running their team. (CJ) Johnson is a very good scorer that does a good job of scoring and is a very tough match up for us. (Lucas) Wolfe and (Bradlee) Croslin can score if we aren’t with them. (Keagan) Thrash is a good in out kid as well.”

The five that I look for Coach Winemiller has went with all season can step out and hit the three.  Gehrig Wynn, Parker Williams, Cade Thomas, and Hamilton Page played a lot of minutes, and all four started at one time or the other through out the year on the Sweet 16 team in Class 3A last year.

Sophomore Carson Lewis stepped in that fifth starting slot for the Rangers and played well.   All five can stroke the three.  If the Rangers are hot behind the arc, it can be a long night for the Redbirds.

C.J. Johnson’s grandpa will be calling his name a lot tonight.  If Jim is making his signature “foul is called” on Thrash and Croslin, this would be an advantage to the Rangers.

There are two that can get hot from behind the arc for West Frankfort in Lucas Wolfe and Kyle Hammers.

Both coaches have played a lot of kids early.  I would not be a bit surprised if you would see 6′ 6″ Junior Braxton Lutz log a lot of minutes for the Rangers tonight, to counteract the Redbird tall trees in the post.

I know the contests at Rich Herrin Gym were a little ugly in favor of the Rangers the last couple of years, but the ones at Max Morris were pretty tight.

I might be wrong but West Frankfort played them to 10 points last year at home, and they about sprang a major upset on the Rangers on the “Saturday night after Thanksgiving game,” two years ago.

Personally I am glad they did away with that game.  That is like North Carolina and Duke playing in their season opener.

It is Benton and West Frankfort, enough said.  Sesser-Valier and Christopher are playing tonight as well.  Thompsonville and Z-R are off tonight.  This would be two opportunities to come out and see some great HS basketball tonight.

Keep in mind that Friday is one of the busiest nights for Candy Cane Lane.  The carriage rides start as well this weekend.  This will make parking less available, and those from Benton might consider taking Poplar or St. Louis street.





WF Lady Redbirds beat the Benton Rangerettes in OT

By Steve Dunford 

WEST FRANKFORT –  Throughout the game the Rangerettes on the verge of putting the Lady Redbirds away.  Each time, West Frankfort had an answer.

West Frankfort executed in the extra frame playing turnover free basketball and made their free throws, in winning the battle of Franklin County in a 45-38 win.

Redbird Center Chloe Peavey with a stick back in last night’s game

The first quarter both teams were very deliberate, at times taking close to a minute each possession.  They also forgot to remove the lids on the bucket as it was 5-1 Benton after the first quarter.

A nice post move by Zoe Carlton made it 10-3 Benton. A quick West Frankfort turnover gave the ball back to the Rangerettes.  They melted some time off the clock and coughed the ball up.  This resulted in Cali Wright hitting a pull up jumper to make the score 10-5.

This was the first field goal by the Lady Redbirds.  It came with a little over the five minute mark of the second quarter.

The Lady Redbirds kept chipping away.  In the closing seconds of the first half, Maddi Carpenter hits Megan Beery off of a Benton turnover for a layup to give WF their first lead of the game 14-13.

Benton Coach Andy Sloan employed a full court man-to-man that the Lady Redbirds began to struggle with.  The Rangerettes had a seven point lead twice in the frame.  West Frankfort came within two, before Eb Casey hits a three pointer in under a minute to go in the third.  It was 26-21 Benton after three.

To open the fourth Cali Wright goes on a six point tear to give WF a 27-26 lead.   Benton gets back to back threes from Ember Milby and Addisyn Miller, and tops off an 8-0 run for Benton to take a 35-27 lead.  West Frankfort finishes regulation on a 10-2 run going 8/10 from the free throw line.

At the end of regulation Megan Beery pulls up and hits a 22 foot jumper that would have sent us home earlier, but it was waved off to send the game into overtime.

Lady Redbird coach Matt Hampleman had this to say about last night’s win.  “We executed offensively in the fourth quarter and in OT.  We continue to improve.  It is small building blocks.  We are both young.  Andy (Sloan) will tell you the same thing (which he did).

I noticed the Lady Redbirds kept changing defenses up.  For instance, in four possessions, they were in a box in one, man to man. 2-3 zone and 3-2.  Coach Hampleman said it is something they have been working on in practice the last couple of weeks.

“Our guards were in foul trouble, and they capitalized on it.  We allowed them to stay in the game too long.  Defensively we played very well tin the first half.  We worked mainly on the offensive end of the floor in practice yesterday, and still have a little more work to do,”  Benton coach Andy Sloan had to say after last night’s loss.

West Frankfort (3-8)(1-2) on the season face off against the Gallatin County Lady Hawks Monday at 5:00 p.m.

The Rangerettes (2-7)(1-2)  are off until Wednesday when hit the road to play undefeated Sesser-Valier-Waltonville Lady Devils in another Franklin County matchup.

Box Score

WEST FRANKFORT (45)  Wright 5 1 6-8 19; Beery 2 0 8-11 10; Peavey 3 0 0-0 6; Carpenter 1 0 3-4 5; McLaren 1 0 1-2 3; Turner 0 0 0-0 0

BENTON (38)  Casey 0 3 0-0 9; Johnson 3 0 0-0 6; Carlton 2 0 1-2 5; Wallace 2 0 0-0 4; Miller  0 1 1-2 4; Wilcox 2 0 0-0 4

Score by Quarters

WEST FRANKFORT (3-8)(1-2)  1 – 13 – 7 – 16 – 8  –  45

BENTON (2-7)(1-2)  1 -13 – 7 – 16 – 8 – 38




Rangerettes square off against the Lady Redbrids this evening

By Steve Dunford

For the next two nights Benton and West Frankfort will be meeting at Max Morris gym.

Both teams records are pretty ugly, the Rangerettes come into the game with a 2-6 record and 1-1 in the conference.  They have a win over Herrin on their resume.

Two of their losses are against the powerhouse Nashville Hornetettes.

West Frankfort’s Max Morris gym, given the name “The Supreme Court” by the late Redbird broadcaster Bruce A. Fasol.

The Lady Redbirds are 1-7 on the season.  (Correct me if I am wrong).  They are 0-2 in the conference.  They were up at halftime against Murphysboro in their last contest.

West Frankfort Coach Matt Hampleman has this to say about tonight’s contest.  . “We have been playing pretty well for longer periods of time. We led Murphy at half down by two at end of third quarter. Missed some easy shots that turned into scores for them. We have been getting better, but are really young.” 

Benton Coach Andy Sloan had this to say about tonight’s game.   “We have been inconsistent and struggled to put  four good quarters together. “We are young, but that’s no excuse at this point. We are really going to have to do a good job of containing WF, especially (Megan) Beery and (Cali) Wright. We must get back in transition and limit them to one shot. Offensively we must be patient and get the shot we want, not the first one we see.”

If you can not make it to the game tonight, you can join Danny Czerwinski on WQRL radio, 106.3 FM, or on the internet at wqrlradio.com





Steve’s Bracketology: The Eldoroado Holiday Tournament

By Steve Dunford 

Eldorado’s Duff-Kingston Gymnasium

The parings for the EHT will be coming out in the next couple of days.  When I am asked by people in Franklin County, what is my favorite gym in Southern Illinois, Max Morris or Rich Herrin?  I say neither.  Duff-Kingston is my favorite gym.

It is on my bucket list one day to be at Eldorado for the 8:30 a.m. breakfast special all the way up to the 10:00 p.m. graveyard game.  When I still lived at home, I would make the rounds across Southern Illinois.  I would be at Eldorado at least one day for every game.  I am sure my top seed will cause a little controversy right off the bat.

Harrisburg (#1 6-1) – Randy Smithpeters has been waiting for this club to become seniors for a long time.  They might be as good as Pinckneyville.

Eldorado (#2 8-0)  – It could be a rivalry game between the two heavyweights in Saline County for the championship.  Eldorado barely got past West Frankfort on Tuesday.  The Bulldogs gave the Redbirds a shellacking on Friday.  Harrisburg has played a much tougher schedule so far.

Anna-Jonesboro (#3 6-1) –  The Wildcats lost big at Nashville on Friday night.  I had them as a three seed before them and still giving them the three

Carmi-White County (#4 5-2) –  The Bulldogs are a veteran club.  I know the pairings will probably be out before then, but I will be keeping an eye on their game with Benton on Tuesday to get a better read of the Bulldogs.

Union County KY (#5 3-2) –  Thanks for all the information I received on Facebook.  The Braves always seem to get in four games each year.  If they were in Illinois, they would be a 3A school.

Fairfield (#6 4-4) –  The Mules had a very good Thanksgiving tournament in Lawrence County. They have been upset prone over the last few years.  Gallatin County has their number.

Hamilton County (#7 3-3) – I know Oakley Dial has graduated.  The rest of the Foxes seems like they have been in high school for seven or eight years now.  This is a team that could be in double digits in wins.  Hamco is heading in the right direction after a long dry spell.

Herrin (#8 2-5) –  It was a dilemma to me what to do with this group of SIRR-Ohio teams.  I put the Tigers at the top of the heap.

Gallatin County ( #9 5-2) –  The Hawks can slow it down against teams they are overmatched against and pull out a W.  They have been giant slayers at the EHT in the past.

West Frankfort (#10 0-5) –  The Redbirds playing Eldorado close bumped them up over Massac.  They have a big weekend coming up against Benton and Goreville.   Kevin Toney will have his troops well prepared.  I am sure he has several yellow legal pads on each team in the tourney.  It is on my bucket list to go with him when he scouts.

Massac County (#11 1-6) –  Joe Hosman knows his way around the EHT.  They have the potential to be a dangerous first round opponent for someone.  I would not be one bit surprised if they play four games.  Taking a beating from Sesser-Valier knocked them down a couple of notches.

Hardin County (#12 2-5) – Other than against Benton, they hung around with everyone at the Goreville tournament.  The Cougars crossed the Ferry and picked up a nice win over Crittenden County KY last night. Rodney Lane’s bunch has the potential to make some noise in the post season.  They play a brutal schedule.

Vienna (#13 4-3)  –  They are above .500 but their wins are over Century, Galatia, Carrier Mills and Z-R.  They are pretty deep and could cause some matchup problems for teams in the field.

Edwards County (#14 2-5)  –  The Lions are in a rebuilding mode.  They will most likely be two and out.

NCOE (#15 1-5)  – The Fighting Cardinals are a totally different animal.  Their goal is to put up 80 shots a game and half of them threes.  If their press is broken, they have no problem to give up an uncontested layup.  They shot close t0 50% behind the arc against Thompsonville earlier in the year and still got beat.  They hung around with Carmi for a while on Tuesday night. On the other side of the coin New Athens beat them by 25 in the consolation championship of the Christopher Tournament.

Carrier Mills (#16 1-7) –  No matter who they play, the Wildcats will struggle.  They own a 25 point win over winless Dongola.  I watched them against Thompsonville on You Tube this week.  T’ville beat them by 30 with Pete Gordon subbing liberally in the first half.  Coach Keil Peebles misses Will Gibbs bad, who is suiting up for Harrisburg now.






Redbirds came close to pulling out their first win of the season

By Steve Dunford 

2017-18 Redbird team picture (Provided by FCHS)


WEST FRANKFORT –  In a battle between winless West Frankfort and undefeated Eldorado, the Eagles came very close to flying back to Saline county with a blemish on their record.

The Redbirds led at every quarter stop, falling in a barn burner to the Eldorado Eagles last night 48-46 at Max Morris gym.

“We played as well as we could, and as hard as we could.  I am proud of these young men.  They play so hard and do everything I ask them to.  It is a pleasure to coach them and it is a joy to go to practice every day.”  Redbird Coach Kevin Toney told me this morning.

C.J Johnson led the Redbirds in scoring with 19 points, Kyle Hammers added 10, Lucas Wolfe seven, Bradlee Croslin four, and Keagan Thrash and Brendan Russell had three points to round out the scoring for WF.

Ray May led the way for Eldorado with 16 last night.  Braden Attebury added nine and Jacob Traxler added eight.  “The have three our four good guards and a couple of post players that compliment Traxler and Attebury.  They are a very good basketball team.,”  Coach Toney said.

Eldorado improves to (7-0) on the season.  They travel to the Mule Barn on Friday night to face Fairfield in their BDC East Opener.

West Frankfort (0-4) will face the Harrisburg Bulldogs Friday night at Davenport Gym.  The Bulldogs come back loaded with Blake Drue, Jordan Bartok, and Coach Toney had to remind me that Isaiah Saulsbury was still in high school.  Since he was not on the grid iron last fall, I thought he graduated.

Randy Smithpeters’ club will also feature sophomore Will Gibbs if he is cleared to play because of injury.  He is a transfer from Carrier Mills.  He was projected to be the starting point guard for the Bulldogs.


Cali Wright sinks 24 points in loss to DuQuoin

By Steve Dunford 

WEST FRANKFORT –  The Lady Redbirds raced out to a 30-24 half-time lead but the DuQuoin Lady Indians left Max Morris gym last night with a 66-61 victory.

Cali Wright led the Lady Redbirds with 24 points, Megan Beery Added 15, Madi Carpenter 11, Briley Turner and Lexi McLaren with four points each, McKenzie Boren two, and Chloe Peavey played but did not score.

West Frankfort (1-7) travels to Anna-Jonesboro on Thursday night.

Redbirds go on the road to face Salem and Carterville this weekend

By Steve Dunford 

The West Frankfort Redbirds will go on the road to face the Salem Wildcats this evening at BE Gum gymnasium.

I asked coach Kevin Toney this morning to share a little bit about Salem with me.  “He says they can throw four kids at you between 6′ 4″ and 6′ 6”  that are very athletic.  They compliment their point guard, Dawson Linder who can shoot the three and can handle the ball well. 

B.E. Gum Gym during a girls sectional game in 2016. advantagenews.com

Toney went on to say that B.E. Gum is his second favorite gym in Southern Illinois.  He also told me how he had  “yellow legal pads” on every team in the Lawerenceville/Red Hill Capital Classic.

Salem comes in with a 3-1 mark with all of their games played were in the Tournament. They narrowly lost to Mt. Carmel.  They have wins over Farifield, Olney, and Red Hill.

The Wildcats are second year members of the Cahokia conference, which all teams are in the 618.  They used to play in the Apollo which are schools in the Charleston/Mattoon area.

They are coached by Andy Fehrenbacher, which was a long time coach of the Teutopolis Wooden Shoes before coming to Salem to rebuild the Wildcats program.

The Redbirds come into tonight’s action with an 0-1 record, as they fell to Pinckneyville a week ago Tuesday 74-53.

Tomorrow night I will be able to get my first look at the Redbirds streaming, as the Carterville Lions post all their games live on YouTube.

The conversation I had with Coach Toney centered around Luke Ford, who will probably end up being a tight end in the SEC.  Coach Toney says, “His size and agility makes him significant. He says he makes all the players around him better, and helps the other pieces play with confidence.”

I love to watch the intensity that Carterville Coach Shane Hawkins shows on the sidelines. He played with the same intensity as a Pinckneyville Panther in high school, and later as an SIU Saluki.

The Redbirds have their home opener on Tuesday night against the Eldorado Eagles.



Harrisburg improves to 6-0 with win over West Frankfort

By Steve Dunford 

WEST FRANKFORT, IL –  Karsyn Davis put up a game high 17 points and Lottie Miller added 16 as the Lady Bulldogs took a 20-2 first quarter lead and never looked back as they defeated the West Frankfort Lady Redbirds 67-35 tonight at Max Morris Gym.  This was the SIRR Ohio Division opener for both teams.

Cali Wright led the way for WF with 15 points and Megan Beery added 9.  Also getting in the scoring column was Madison Freeman with five, Madison Carpenter with three, and rounding out the scoring was Lexi McLaren with two points.

Harrisburg (6-0) travels to DuQuoin on Thursday night, and West Frankfort (1-5) is on the road at Carterville Thursday night.

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