Redbirds win on the road

Have the West Frankfort Redbirds improved any this year? The answer is “yes”. Friday night the ‘Birds held a 9 point lead on the road, and could not hold it. Tuesday night their lead ballooned to 17 points, but again the opponents made a run at the Redbirds. This time, Dan Dewerff’s team stayed focused, and rebuilt their lead enroute to a 81-71 decision in Eldorado.
Playing some of their best basketball of the year, the Redbirds built on a lead after one quarter and went into the locker room with a 35-25 advantage.
Eldorado came out in quarter three a much more disciplined ball club That allowed them to cut into the Redbird lead. A pair of three point shots in the third and fourth quarter by Richard Graceffa  actually made it a three-point game in the final frame.
However, the Redbirds stayed poised. They ran a series of plays that ended in lay-ups, and trips to the free throw line. Nic Korolenko himself earned two old-fashioned three point plays with a bucket and a free throw twice down the stretch. The last triple trip down the court came with 2:38 remaining.
It was the incredible free throw clinic that Redbirds put on that iced the game for the visitors. In the fourth quarter alone, the Redbirds were of 16 of 19 from the charity line . Trent Easley sealed the win with a 15 of 16 performance in the game. In the fourth quarter alone, Easley hit all 12 free throws he attempted. Sophomore Braxton Koehl got his jumper to fall with consistency, and was an impressive 7 for 10 from the line, too.
The Redbird defense helped cause three key turnovers late in the game that kept Eldorado at arms length in the end. The turnovers came within a minute of each other beginning at the 2:01 mark of the fourth quarter.
West Frankfort was led in scoring with the 20 points of Braxton Koehl, 17 for Trenton Easley, 17 for Nic Korolenko, 8 for Gage Williams, 6 for Zack Fort, 4 Evan Keller, 3 for Drew Maller. Starter Christian Dunning was injured in the first half minute of the ballgame. His physical condition is being evaluated.
The junior varsity lost to Eldorado 54-28 and remain winless.
With the win, the Redbirds are 1-3 for the season. The ‘Birds are home Friday when they host Massac County in the Ohio Division opener for both teams. The JV game begins at 6 p.m.

Sesser-Valier Red Devils win hard fought game over West Frankfort Redbirds

The West Frankfort Redbirds lost their second game of the season Friday night 43-40. Playing a second straight road game this week, the ‘Birds played at Black Diamond conference opponent Sesser-Valier’s gym.
The game began slowly offensively. Both teams had leads in the opening quarter. At the end of the frame. the Redbirds held a slim one point lead, 9-8.  At the half, the same margin favored the visitors, 29-28. A series of shots in the paint, a square up jump shot and more allowed the Redbirds to build as much as a none point third quarter lead. At the end of the third quarter, the Red Devils hit a key three point shot at the buzzer. Jacob Vanway fired his shot as time expired to cut the defcit to 29-28 . That seemed to give the home team momentum that they lacked all quarter.
In the fourth quarter, the two teams spend the first four minutes trading mistakes, fouls and occasionally points. After Sesser-Valier caught and passed the Redbirds, Nic Korolenko regained the lead for West Frankfort with a three point play when he out muscled the Red Devils for a rebound basket, and converted a free throw off the ensuing foul, at the 4:01 mark of the game. N.
Nick Marlo answered with a bucket to give the Red Devils a 39-38 . The two teams traded buckets until the final seconds. Sesser-Valier inbounded the ball with :21 seconds remaining, with the game decided when Derek Hood beat the Redbird defense for a lay in with :12 remaining. A free throw gave them te final margin of victory, 43-40.  The balance of the game wasn’t however, officially decided until Christian Dunning’s full court shot bounced tantalizingly off the rim.
With the win, Sesser-Valier goes to 2-0 for the season. With the loss, Dan Dewerff’s team falls to 0-2 for the year. The Redbirds were led in scoring by Christian Dunning who had 13 points, and 10 rebounds.
Sesser-Valier won the junior varsity game 49-42.

Meridian spoils Redbirds’ season opener


The Meridian Bobcats rode the 26 points from senior Josh Jones enroute to a 67-43 win over the West Frankfort Redbirds. This was the opening game for coach Dan Dewerff and his Redbird team.

Meridian jumped out to a 15-9  lead after one quarter of play. The Redbirds mounted comebacks but could not get close enough to make the game in doubt. Meridian continued to build their lead in each quarter.

Leading the way for the Redbirds was sophomore Christian Dunning with a dozen points. Seniors Trent Easley and Nick Korolenko were the only other ‘Birds in double figures with 10 points apiece.

The Redbirds stay on the road as they travel to Sesser-Valier Friday night. The home opener is set for Saturday night against Pinckneyville.

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