Redbirds eliminated from EHT


The West Frankfort Redbirds gave fourth seeded Union County, Kentucky all they wanted, before the Braves pulled away for a victory. The game was played as the first game of the Monday morning session of the Eldorado Holiday Tournament. With the loss, the Redbirds were eliminated from the EHT. However, they continue to show improvement and are arguably a better team than when the tournament began.

Quarter number one saw the Redbirds take a 7-6 lead after the first period. The fortunes of the Union County team changed in the second quarter. four of their five starters scored in the quarter. Three of those players had two field goals. That balanced scoring made the Braves difficult for the slower Redbirds to guard. Transition buckets after turnovers also plagued West Frankfort. Still, at intermission it was anyone’s game with Union county taking a 26-19 lead into the locker room.

Both teams replicated cold shooting and ball handling problems in the third quarter. West Frankfort scored 5 points in the quarter and Union county just 6 points. And, the third quarter ended with the game still in doubt, 32-24 with the Kentucky team leading.In the fourth quarter, Stan Helmsley ordered his team to spread the floor and work for good shots, while winding down the clock. The plan worked to perfection, as especially Jahad Flemming was the resilient of passes that led to lay-ups. Flemming had 8 of his game high 19 points in the fourth quarter. He was top scorer for the fourth seeded club.

The loss eliminated West Frankfort from the tournament. scoring for the Redbirds: Korolenko 12, Koehl 7, Easley 5,Fort 3,Maller/Williams/Keller 2 points.

The Redbirds were outrebounded 26-22 in the game.

The ‘birds fall to 3-8 for the season. The next regular season game is at home friday when the Redbirds welcome in EHT tournament champion Harrisburg in an Ohio Division game, at Max Morris Gym.

Redbirds fall to top-seeded Bulldogs

West Frankfort Senior Trenton Easley shoots under heavy guard from the Harrisburg Bulldogs at the Eldorado Holiday Tournament on Saturday.


The Harrisburg Bulldogs may well win the 2012 Eldorado Holiday Tournament, but or a brief moment, at least one team threatened to block their path. Playing aggressive basketball in their quarterfinal match-up, the upstart West Frankfort Redbirds led 15-13 after one quarter Saturday afternoon.

The Redbirds came out of the locker room with nothing left to lose except take it to the #1 seeded Bulldogs.

The Redbirds got to the bracket match-up with a thrilling last second 3-point shot by Braxston Koehl the day prior. In the first quarter against Harrisburg, the Redbirds were patient and used skillful passing to build the lead.

The first points of the second quarter came on a 3-point shot by Tyler Smithpeters, giving Harrisburg a 16-15 lead. Whatever Coach Randy Smithpeters said to his ballclub between quarters ignited a fire inside his team.

Harrisburg exploded for a 31-9 second quarter advantage to re-establish their credibility.

By the half, the Redbirds found themselves hopelessly out of reach, 44-24.  In that decisive frame, Smithpeters had three swishes beyond the arc as part of his 12 point second frame total.  By the end of the third quarter the score was 66-36. That 30 point advantage involved the continuous clock at Duff-Kingston Gym.  The final score was Harrisburg 72-41 win. It was similar to the first day’s first round win over Hardin County for Harrisburg.

Game high scorer was Tyler Smithpeters, who burned the nets for 30 points. The Redbirds were led by 14 points from sophomore Christian Dunning. Trenton Easley also scored in double figures for the ‘Birds with 10 points. Other Redbird scorers included: Maller and Koehl with 4 apiece, 3 points for Sisk, 2 for Keller, and a single point for Korolenko.

Harrisburg had a huge rebounding advantage in the game, 33-21. WF turned the ball over 16 times, Harrisburg 15 times.

With the loss the Redbirds drop to 3-7 for the season. They continue in the Eldorado Holiday Tournament with an 8:30 a.m. game Monday morning. In the breakfast meeting, they will play Union County, Kentucky. Union County dropped a 46-44 game to Massac County on Saturday, in which the Braves had three consecutive misses under the basket as the game ended.

Redbirds win EHT thriller

Sophomore Braxston Koehl puts up the winning shot in the West Frankfort Redbirds 55-52 defeat of the Fairfield Mules on Friday in Eldorado.


The ability to dig out of things comes in handy these days. The West Frankfort Redbirds proved themselves adept at digging out of a huge hole Friday morning. Sophomore Braxston Koehl’s desperation 3-point  heave with no time remaining gave the West Frankfort Redbirds a 55-52 win  over the Fairfield Mules. The game was the opening game for the Redbirds in the 2012  Eldorado Holiday Tournament.

It was all Fairfield in the first half. The Mules took advantage of an anemic West Frankfort offense in building an 11-point first quarter lead. By half-time, the Mules led 27-16.

Senior Trenton Easley prepares for a fourth quarter drive toward the basket.

But, by the end of the third quarter the “Birds had cut the double digit lead to 37-35 and had momentum on their side entering the final eight minutes of regulation. Zack Fort was 3 of 3 behind the arc and added a field goal as well with an 11-point third quarter outburst to lead the comeback.

In the final quarter, both teams had leads and chances to put the game away. The final two minutes were hectic for both teams. Koehl’s 3-point shot tied the game at 8 with 2:12 left to play. Senior Trenton Easley’s acrobatic reverse lay-up gave the Redbirds a 52-50 lead with 1:44 left.

Redbird cheerleaders pump up the crowd in between the first and second quarters of Friday’s game.

After mistakes by both teams, Fairfield added a bucket with 3.8 seconds remaining that seemed to send the game into overtime.

However, the Redbirds inbounded the ball, putting it into the hands of Koehl. He crossed the half-line and let go of a shot between the half-line and the three-point arc. It went through the net as time expired to cap off the comeback win.

Koehl was mobbed by teammates and cheered by West Frankfort fans sitting directly behind the winning goal. at Duff Kingston Gymnasium.

The team mobs Braxston Koehl after his game-winning shot.

Scoring for West Frankfort: Fort 15, Easley, 14.Koehl, 11, Keller 6, Dunning , Korolenko 4.The Redbirds were out-rebounded 31-26 by Fairfield. Dan Dewerff’s club was 12 of 21 from the free-throw line. West Frankfort was called for 16 turnovers on the game.

With the win, the Redbirds go to 3-6 on the season. Their next opponent is the Harrisburg Bulldogs. The top seeded Bulldogs easily dispatched Hardin County 74-32. The two Ohio Division members meet at 3:15 Saturday afternoon in a second round winners bracket game.

Eldorado Holiday Tournament draw set


The West Frankfort Redbirds have been assigned their 2012 opening opponent in the Eldorado Holiday Tournament. The Redbirds will play the Fairfield Mules in their first round game.

Fairfield was seeded No. 8, and will play West Frankfort in the 11:30 a.m. game, on the tournament’s first day, Dec. 27. If the ‘Birds win that game, they advance to play the winner of top seeded Harrisburg/Hardin County. Should the Redbirds drop the contest they play the breakfast game at 8:30 a.m. the following morning.

The tournament grid begins at 8:30a.m., when No. 4 Union County, Kentucky, tips off with Carrier Mills. The next game is set to begin at 10 a,m. when No. 5 Massac County plays Hamilton County. The Redbird game follows this one. Then, at 1:45 p.m., the Harrisburg Bulldogs take on Hardin County.

The Herrin Tigers return to the EHT field for a 3:15 p.m. game vs. Carmi-White County. Herrin is seeded No. 6. The tournament’s third seed, the Meridian Bobcats, play the 4:45 p.m. game against NCOE.

The evening session begins with a match-up between No. 2 seed Gallatin County and Galatia. The evening session concludes with host Eldorado, a surprising 7 seed, meeting Anna-Jonesboro.

The tournament concludes Saturday night with the title game starting at approximately 9 p.m. Harrisburg, top seeded and state rated with an unbeaten mark, is a heavy favorite to win the tournament.

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