Late basket lifts Lady Redbirds


A late basket by senior Rebecca Cunningham lifted the West Frankfort Lady Redbirds to a thrilling 28-27 win over visiting Anna-Jonesboro on Thursday night.

The Lady Redbirds had built an early 7-2 lead, and it was their largest of the game. In the second half, it also looked like the ‘Birds would pull away after building a 4-point lead. However, a determined Lady Wildcat team kept cutting those leads. After trailing initially, Anna-Jonesboro held a 15-13 lead at the half. and, indicative of the flow of this game, the Lady Redbirds had grabbed off a 23-21 lead going into the fourth quarter.

AJ took a one point lead after a dramatic three-point shot by Kaitie Grant with 5:16 to play. The Redbirds tied the game with a free throw at the 4:48 mark left. The game stayed tied at 26 apiece until Grant hit a free throw to give the visitors the one point lead with :53 seconds to go.
Both teams could not find the range, and both teams committed mistakes as the clock wound down. With just :13 seconds remaining Rebecca Cunningham fired a little jump shot in the lane to give the Redbirds a 28-27 lead. Anna-Jonesboro had a chance down the stretch but missed a key free throw, as did the Redbirds. A final shot hit the rim that could have won the game for the Wildcats.
West Frankfort Coach Matt Hampleman was happy with the win, but still admitted there were a lot of things to work on.
“We ran the sets we wanted to run, but couldn’t finish it off,” he said.
One of the areas needing work was free-throw shooting where the Redbirds were 5 of 12, or 42 percent, from the line. The Redbirds were also plagued by turnovers.
Coach Hampleman pointed out that the Birds are somewhat young, at times with three freshmen on the floor.  But, Hampleman put it into perspective, saying,  “Any win is a good win in front of our fans.”
Scoring for the Redbirds included Kiarha Wilce 10, Rebecca Cunningham with 8,Lindsey Williams 5,Jacklynn Calvert 4 and Hanna Melvin 1.
The game also marked the return of Jordan Crowder. However, it was short lived on Thursday as she was re-injured in the contest.
With the win, the Lady Redbirds are 3-7 and will host Johnston City on Saturday.
Benton, West Frankfort, Illinois News | Franklin County News