Rockets outlast Rangers at BIT


The Okawville Rockets continue to open eyes this week, during the Benton Invitational Tournament. The success of the Rockets may come as a surprise to some.  But the fact that they were led by potential All-State candidate Jeremy Weeke should not catch anyone by surprise. Weeke turned in a double-double Friday night leading his team to a convincing 49-37 win over the host Benton Rangers.

Still, Ron Winemiller’s Rangers battled back at one point in the second half to be down by just a half dozen. However, Weeke gave them little chance to get closer. He scored 20 points in the game and pulled down 23 rebounds for a dominating performance at both ends of Rich Herrin Gymnasium.

Okawville took the home crowd out of the game early. after one quarter the Rockets led 15-4. Of the 15 points scored, Weeke had 7 of them, and 8 rebounds. That set the tone individually, and for the game, in Okawville’s favor. Benton trailed 30-18 at half. The Rangers made up a half dozen of theose points in the third quarter. However, the Rockets caught a second wind to cruise to the victory.

Benton was led in scoring by Nathaniel Higgins and 13 points, Sheeks and Ward added 10 apiece.

The BIT continues with both an afternoon and evening session in today’s final day of action.

Rangers score home victory


Four tight quarters of basketball was decided late as the Benton Rangers held off the Eldorado Eagles, Tuesday night. The non-conference game went the way of Rangers 74-71 at Duff-Kingston Gym.

Benton held a slight 31-27 lead at the half. They matched points with the Eagles through out the third and fourt quarters, barely besting the home team.

It took all of the game high 24 points from Cole Forby and the 15 from Nathaniel Higginson for the Rangers to score the close win.

Benton is now 6-10 for the year, and Eldorado 8-10 for the season.

Rangers lose at home to Massac County

In essence saying “do the math,” Benton Ranger coach Ron Winemiller pointed out something following Benton’s 66-46 loss at home to Massac County Friday night.
Winemiller said, “We played three good quarters of basketball. But as we all know, the game is four quarters long.”
What the Ranger head coach was referring to was a huge first quarter deficit that his club could not make up. After one quarter, Massac County did what every visiting team sets as a goal: survive and thrive the opening of the game in front of their opponent’s home crowd. At the end of the first quarter, the Patriots led 28-6.
For the next three periods, the Rangers played almost even basketball with Massac, even outscoring them in the second frame, 12-11. However, giving up 39 first-half points proved to be too much to overcome. Winemiller pointed to a problem for his club being confidence. “We needed to see the ball go into the hole more often.”
The Rangers, pressured by the Joe Hosmon-coached  signature defensive intensity, felt pressure from the opening tip. Another signature Patriot calling card is their ability to shoot behind the arc. Massac hit six 3-pointers while Benton could only manage three ( Higgins 2 and Head 1).
Massac was led in scoring by emerging star Daz Nickerson with 13 points. The Patriot offense featured balanced scoring with four players in double figures.
Game high-scoring honors went to Nathaniel Higginson with 17 points. Other Ranger output included: Sheeks 9, Forby 8, Head 3, Ward 3, and Hughes 2.
The Rangers fell to 5-9 for the season and to .500 in the conference splitting four league games.
Up next for Benton is undefeated Harrisburg at 15-0 for the season. The Bulldogs are looking for a sweep of Franklin County as they knocked off West Frankfort Friday night.

Holiday tourneys continue on last day of 2012


As the third front bringing snow into the area this holiday week moves in, holiday basketball tournament action – most delayed by the blizzard on Christmas night – resumes for the most part after a Sunday break.

Here’s an updated look on how local teams are faring:


The Rangers finished 11th in a 12-team field at the Duster Thomas Hoops Classic in Pinckneyville. The Jerseyville Panthers took the tourney’s title.


Christopher advanced to the Semi-Finals in the Sesser-Valier Holiday Tournament with wins over Vienna and Waltonville. The Bearcats dropped their semi-final game Saturday to Goreville.


Sesser-Valier dropped the first game of their hosted tournament to New Athens and entered the consolation bracket. Now, after wins over Elverado and Cobden, the Red Devils face Zeigler-Royalton for the consolation bracket title at 9 a.m. on Monday.


At the Eldorado Holiday Tournament, the Redbirds beat the Fairfield Mules on Friday and then were beaten Saturday by the top-seeded Harrisburg Bulldogs. West Frankfort plays Union County, Kentucky, in the consolation bracket of the tourney at 8:30 a.m. on Monday.


Zeigler-Royalton lost to Waltonville in the first round of the Sesser-Valier Holiday Tournament. After consolation-bracket wins over Vienna and Century, the Tornadoes face tournament host Sesser-Valier Monday morning at 9 a.m. for the consolation bracket title.


The Rangerettes won four of their five match-ups in the Benton Rangerettes Classic, dropping their last game to Goreville, who went unbeaten in the six-team round robin. Rangerettes Cali Carney, Makala Carney and Morgan Corn were named to the all-tournament team.

Holiday hoops action kicks off this morning as region digs out from Christmas blizzard


A blizzard may have delayed holiday week basketball in Southern Illinois this year, but it couldn’t stop it. Many of the regions’ girls’ and boys’ basketball tournaments that traditionally start on the day after Christmas will begin today, Dec. 27. Here’s a look at each Franklin County team’s schedule for the first day of games:


The Rangers are playing in Pool C at the Duster Thomas Hoops Classic at Pinckneyville Community High School. They face Jerseyville at 10:30 a.m. Friday in Thomas Gym, and Teutopolis at 8:30 p.m. Friday in the Auxiliary Gym. Games on Saturday will depend on where they place in the pool Friday.


The Bearcats play Vienna today (Thursday) at 1:30 p.m. in the Sesser-Valier Holiday Tournament. Play will continue Friday, Saturday and Monday.


Sesser-Valier plays New Athens at 8 p.m. today in the holiday tournament they are hosting at Sesser-Valier High School. Play continues Friday, Saturday and Monday.


The Redbirds will play in the Eldorado Holiday Tournament, which runs Friday, Saturday and Monday. They face Fairfield at 10:30 a.m. on Friday.


The Z-R boys play Waltonville today (Thursday) at 10:30 a.m. in the Sesser-Valier Holiday Tournament. Play will continue Friday, Saturday and Monday.


Benton’s girls are playing in the tournament they host, the Benton Rangerette Christmas Classic 2012. The Rangerettes play Anna-Jonesboro at 11 a.m. today, Trico at 12:30 p.m. Friday and Goreville at 7 p.m. Saturday.




Sophomore Rangers get a win over Carbondale

Dakota Head makes a free throw to go up by 2 at the end of the game.


Benton took the lead early and held on for the entire game to win 56-54 over Carbondale. The sophomore squad was hitting on all cylinders Monday night equally sharing the scoring responsibilities.

Ahead 21-18 after the first period, Rangers extended their lead to 39-26 at the half maintaining a ten point lead at the end of the 3rd.

Carbondale made a run at Benton at the 6 minute mark bringing the score to 49-46 with 5:30 left to play. Rangers continued to battle for the next 5 minutes, then with 33 seconds remaining, Carbondale was within 1 point. Dakota Head hit the front end of a pair of free throws to make the score 56-54. Carbondale had time to tie it up but couldn’t get the shot to fall. Rangers held on to win 56-54.

Coach Brett Blondi said, “I thought our kids played extremely hard and turned out a gutsy performance.  We made big stops when we needed to.  I was very proud of our kids effort.”

Scoring for the Rangers:

Trey McDaniel – 12, Martin Ward – 12, Jesse VanHorbeke – 12, Gus Gibbs – 10, Dakota Head – 8, Brendon Ritchason – 2

JV Benton Rangers get their first win of the season


The JV Benton Rangers got their first win in overtime Tuesday night against Carmi-White County.

The first quarter of action proved the two teams were evenly matched ending with an 11-11 score. The score continued to go back and forth for the rest of the first half with the Rangers up 17-15 at half-time.

Rangers seemed to gain a little energy in the second half and gained the biggest lead of the game in the 4th going up 33-28 with 5 minutes left to play in regulation. Keegan Dawson hit a big bucket underneath to push the Rangers’ lead to 7 but Carmi immediately answered with a fast break and layup.

With 2 minutes left to play, Carmi was back within 2 points. Then at the 1:18 mark, Carmi tied the game at 36-36. Spike Buntin hit two free throws with 58 seconds remaining to make the score 38-36. A Ranger foul sent Carmi to the line to hit one of their two attempts and bringing them back within one.

With 24 seconds left, Carmi fouled Tyler Owens sending him to the line for the Rangers. After missing the first free throw, Owens hit the second making the score 39-37.

Carmi inbounded the ball with 15 seconds and Clay Vaught hit a 10-foot jump shot to tie the game with only 9 seconds left.

Benton had time, but a turnover gave Carmi the chance at the last second shot. A missed shot sent the Rangers into Overtime.

The Rangers took control of overtime and steadily pulled ahead of the Tigers. The final score was Rangers 48, Tigers 42.

Spike Buntin led the Rangers is scoring with 20 points, followed by Dakota Head with 9, Keegan Dawson with 6, Tyler Owens with 5, Trey McDaniel with 4 and Jesse Vanhorebeck and Brendan Ritchason both with 2. Also seeing action for the Rangers was Andrew Simpson, Gus Gibbs, and Martin Ward.

Benton wrestlers split early season matches

The Benton Rangers wrestling team split a pair of early season matches losing to Sparta 39-36 and then rebounding with a big SIRR Ohio Division win over Herrin on Tuesday night.
Benton coach Duane Bean said his young team made great strides following the season-opening loss to Sparta.
“I think we might have taken Sparta lightly but they have 38 kids wrestling and a nice program,” Bean said.  “We came back and had a good week of practice and did a much better job at Herrin.”
The Benton team has 19 wrestlers that includes seven freshmen and five sophomores.
“We’ve got two juniors and four seniors and only two of our seniors have any experience,” said Bean.  “We are very young so I think we will get better as the season goes on.”
The Ranger grapplers will be at Carterville tonight for a SIRR inter-divisional match up before heading to Bethalto Civic Memorial on Saturday for a tournament that will draw some of the top schools from the region.
“It’s an excellent tournament, a really solid tournament with several Class AA schools in it,” said Bean.  “It will be a good test for us.”
  • 106 – Jarred Burnett pinned Triston Loucks in :58.
  • 113 – Nathan Flatt won by forfeit.
  • 120 – Double Forfeit.
  • 126 – Chris Worthey won by forfeit.
  • 132 – Collin Donaldson won by forfeit.
  • 138 – Peyton Smith pinned Anthony Carter in :58.
  • 145 – Alex Yates lost by pin in 3:29 to Charles Rodgers.
  • 152 – Daniel Krug lost 13-9 to Deon Baker.
  • 160 – Jarron Bennett lost by pin to Shawn Rogers in 3:55.
  • 170 – Benton Forfeited.
  • 182 – Zach Mocoby won by pin in 3:00 over Jay Baue.
  • 195 – Braxton Pullium lost by pin in :41 to Dillon Hatley.
  • 220 – Devon Siveking lost by pin in 1:02 to Cedric Briscoe.
  • HVY – Tyler Williams lost by pin in 1:15 to John Leuth
  • 106 – Jarred Burnett won by forfeit.
  • 113 – Nathan Flatt lost by pin in 4:52 to Braden Whitecotton(H).
  • 120 – Chase Worthey won by pin in :55 over Dustin Basler(H).
  • 126 – Chris Worthey lost 4-1 to Eli Roberts(H).
  • 132 – Peyton Smith won by pin in 2:24 over Jimmy Pearsley(H).
  • 138 – Daniel Krug won by pin over Brian Burgess(H) in 1:00.
  • 145 – Alex Yates won by disqualification over Pierce Martin(H) due to an illegal slam.
  • 152 – Jarron Bennett lost 20-4 to Chris Ward(H).
  • 160 – Luke Blackman lost by pin to Alec Smith(H) in 1:16.
  • 170 – Benton forfeited to Alec Franklin(H).
  • 182 – Zach Mocoby lost 10-3 to Tad Cravens(H).
  • 195 – Braxton Pullium lost by pin in :47 to Nathan Vaughn(H).
  • 220 – Devon Siveking won by pin in 1:37 over Dylan McRoy(H).
  • HVY – Tyler Williams won by pin in 1:42 over Alex Stewart(H).
Benton is 2-1 and 1-0 in the Ohio division of the River to River conference. Next, at Carterville on Thursday, November 29 and at Bethalto Civic Memorial on Saturday, Dec. 1.

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