Rangers fall to Egyptian in season opener


The Benton Rangers opened the new basketball season on a losing note Tuesday night dropping a 68-59 decision to the Egyptian Pharaohs.

Egyptian rode the one-two punch of Demantae Price and Justin Prewett, who combined for 52 points in the victory in second round action from the first-ever Goreville Invitational Tournament. Prewett had 28 and Price had 24 respectively.

The Rangers fell behind 19-10 after one quarter and trailed by 12 points early in the second quarter before rallying behind the play of Nathaniel Higgins and Daulton Ward to outscore Egyptian 19-12 in the second frame and trail only 31-29 at the half.

Benton actually grabbed the lead early in the third quarter surging ahead 34-33 but fell behind again and trailed 43-41 heading into the final frame.

“I thought we showed some character to come back after falling behind early,” said Benton coach Ron Winemiller. “When we got the lead I thought we were going to be all right but we had a couple of possessions where we shot too quickly and we made a couple of ill-advised passes and then when we fell behind again we just couldn’t bounce back.”

The Rangers entered the game with virtually no varsity experience except for Cole Forby who was a mainstay on last year’s 19-9 regional championship team.

“I thought our inexperience showed some during the game and I really do think this team is going to get much better,” said Winemiller. “That is not coach-speak, I think we have the potential to be a pretty good team as the season rolls on. I really like this team, they have been a great group to work with.”

While Benton was playing in its first game of the season Egyptian, who played in last week’s Christopher Turkey Tournament, was playing game number five, a point not lost on Winemiller.

“I think we had some season opening jitters and they (Egyptian) got off to a great start tonight,,” said Winemiller. “But, I think we settled down in the second quarter.”

Nine players saw action for Benton in the season-opening loss but only four hit the scoring column with three of them going for double figures. Ward led the way with 23 points, followed by Higgins with 20 and Forby with 10. Ethan Hughes also added six points for the Rangers.

In other action last night Goreville, who has established itself as the team to beat in the tournament, walloped Anna-Jonesboro by a score of 81-41. The tournament is idle Wednesday night but resumes on Thursday with a pair of games and also two games each on Friday and Saturday.

Here is the schedule for the remainder of the week:


AJ vs. Egyptian 6 p.m.

Johnston City vs. Benton 7:30 p.m.


Benton vs. AJ 6 p.m.

Goreville vs. Johnston City 7:30 p.m.


Egyptian vs. Johnston City 6 p.m.

Benton vs. Goreville 7:30 p.m.

Play kicks off at Goreville Invitational, Rangers open season tonight

By Jim Muir

The Benton Rangers will open the 2012-13 basketball season Tuesday night at the Goreville Invitational Tournament in a 6 p.m. contest against Egyptian.

The Rangers have kicked off the season the past 14 years at the Du Quoin Tip Off Classic but made the move to Goreville to the five-team, round robin tournament. Each team receives a bye during one session in the tournament that runs Nov. 26, 27, 29, 30 and Dec. 1.

Play opened on Monday night with Johnston City defeating Anna-Jonesboro 60-59 when the Wildcats couldn’t get a shot to drop in the final seconds. Johnston City led by as many as nine points in the opening half only to see A-J roar back to tie the game at the intermission 32-32.

The Indians began the second half on a 12-2 run to open up a 44-34 lead but again the Wildcats fought back to actually take the lead in the fourth quarter. After a pair of Hunter Zeigler free throws to give Johnston City a 60-59 lead with 8.1 seconds the Wildcats set up a final play but a Noah Fuller jumper on the baseline lipped off the rim securing the hard fought win for Johnston City.

Luke McCormick led the Indians with 18 points and also in double figures was Hunter Zeigler with 11. Also scoring for JC was Austin McPheron and Levi Tanner with nine, Jake Davison with eight and Derek Smith with five.

A-J was led in scoring by Tyler Vaughn with 14 followed by Noah Fuller with 13 and Ben McFarland with 10. Rounding out the scoring Colton James scored eight, Zach Parr added seven, Jonathan Kemp scored four and Damian Reed contributed three points.

In the nightcap the host Goreville Blackcats jumped out to a quick 17-7 first quarter lead and never looked back in defeating an out-manned Egyptian squad by a score of 75-57. The Blackcats extended the lead with a 21-9 blitz of the Pharaohs in the second quarter to take a 38-18 halftime lead.

Goreville featured a balanced scoring attack with five players in double figures led by Zeke Snell with 18 and Dayton Tripp with 13. Also scoring was Alex Andros with 12 and Blake Gray and Kyefer Cavins with 11 each. Rounding out the scoring for Goreville Nik Dunn had three, J.T. Russell, Daniel Lanham and Caleb Belcher each had two.

Leading Egyptian was the one-two punch of Justin Prewett and Devantae Price who contributed 19 and 17 points respectively. Cameron Grueninger also scored in double figures with 10 with Alex McCrite adding four and Austin Murphy and Brandon Woodson adding two each and Bryce Bigham adding a free throw.

Here is a schedule for the rest of the week at the Goreville Invitational.

Tuesday, Nov. 27

Benton vs. Egyptian 6 p.m.

Goreville vs. Anna-Jonesboro 7:30 p.m.

Thursday, Nov. 29

Anna-Jonesboro vs. Egyptian 6 p.m.

Johnston City vs. Benton 7:30 p.m.

Friday, Nov. 30

Benton vs. Anna-Jonesboro 6 p.m.

Goreville vs. Johnston City 7:30 p.m.

Saturday, Dec. 1

Egyptian vs. Johnston City 6 p.m.

Benton vs. Goreville 7:30 p.m.

Benton, West Frankfort, Illinois News | Franklin County News