Carterville wins over WF at MWC

The West Frankfort Redbirds and Carterville Lions faced off Friday night for a spot in the MidWinter Classic title game.

The West Frankfort Redbirds and Carterville Lions faced off Friday night for a spot in the MidWinter Classic title game.


Christian Dunning shoots from the lane in the second quarter.

Christian Dunning shoots from the lane in the second quarter.

Carterville Lions Coach Scott Burzynski admitted after the game that teams that shoot 33 percent from the field rarely win games.

He also admitted that when his team did, they were fortunate enough to still win. However, the head coach did quickly credit his players for making the plays at the end of the game to have a chance to win. Carterville parlayed a Lucas Hunter corner shot to a win over the West Frankfort Redbirds 47-45.

The win propelled the Lions to Saturday night’s title game against Goreville. Both the Lions and Blackcats won their respective pools. The two teams played earlier with Goreville winning.

The West Frankfort Redbirds established their game plan early, and took advantage of Carterville’s cold shooting from the field.
After one quarter the Redbirds led 9-2. However, as ineffective as they were shooting the basketball in the first quarter, the Lions were as exact in the second frame. In fact, both teams simply traded places. It was the Redbirds who struggled with their first basket of the second frame coming at the 4:02 mark. That was a Christian Dunning turn around shot in the lane. At the half, Carterville led 18-15.
The third quarter belonged to the Redbirds. A pair of 3-point shots from sophomore Braxston Koehl and sophomore Dunning paced the home team. A third shot was mistakenly announced as a Redbird 3-pointer, but changed at the scorers table to the 2-point shot the referees had called on the floor. After three quarters,the ‘Birds  led 34-29.
Carterville's Lucas Hunter takes the game-winning shot from the corner.

Carterville’s Lucas Hunter takes the game-winning shot from the corner.

The fourth quarter  saw both teams turn in big plays, one after the other.  Carterville started their run early when they were down by seven points. Matt Galik and Blake Watson drained 3-point shots in the fourth quarter’s first four minutes. Galik’s trey pulled the Lions to within two points with 3:20 left in the game. At that time,the score 41-39.

The game was tied at 42 as the clock hit 1:30 remaining. Carterville’s comeback was aided by some key Redbird turnovers late in the game. A tie up on a rebound gave the Lions the ball underneath their own goal with the possession arrow favoring them. With :53 seconds left, Lucas Hunter hit a free throw to tie the game at 45.
That set the scene for the Lions receiving the winning shot from the left corner by Hunter.
As the ball exited the basket, the clock showed a tenth of a second. Officials informed the scorers bench that time had been officially called with 2.1 seconds left in the game. The Redbirds inbounded at the far end of the floor and manuevered to the top of the opponents key before Koehl tossed up a heave toward the goal. It was slightly off to the left, and there would be no Redbird miracle win this night.
Scoring for the Redbirds: Koehl 18, Dunning 17, Easley 5, Williams 2, Keller 1,  Fort 1, Maller 1.
Carterville was led by the 13 of Blake Watson.
With the loss, the Redbirds fall to 6-11 for the season. It snapped the first two win streak of the year for Dan Dewerff’s squad. West Frankfort will play for Third Place tonight against Herrin, in the 7 p.m. game of the MWC.


Redbirds win in overtime

Sophomore Braxston Koehl was the Redbirds' scoring leader Wednesday night at the Midwinter Classic tournament.

Sophomore Braxston Koehl was the Redbirds’ scoring leader Wednesday night at the Midwinter Classic tournament.


Former Hall of Fame basketball coach David Lee would tell his teams, “just win trips down the floor and the rest will take care of itself.” Coach Dan Dewerff may have given his team much the same advice Wednesday night.

The Redbirds held a short lead at two of the three quarter breaks going into the final frame. At times, the Redbirds cruised and held as much as a 13-point lead in the second half. However, a Joel Boulds three point shot was enough to send the Eagles into an overtime period at Max Morris gym.

It is then that the timely message of “winning trips” began to pay off. In the overtime, the Redbirds held Eldorado to three points total.

Tyler Deaton scored all three of those points. Meanwhile the Redbirds cobbled together some offense of their own, basically from the free-throw line. The only field goal scored was a Braxston Koehl bucket, and ensuing free throw. What did not show up in the box score was the fact that the Redbirds controlled the rebounding boards, limitting Eldorado to single shots in the extra period.

In the extra period, the Redbirds were 8 of 11 from the foul line as they wrapped up the victory.

With the win, the Redbirds are now 2-0 in pool play in the tournament. Saturday’s match-ups are determined by pool play and the Redbirds could move to the title game with a win Friday night. Friday’s 9 p.m. game is a match-up with Carterville. The winner will play for the championship against the winner of the other pool.

The Redbirds were led by sophomore Braxston Koehl with 17, and senior Trenton Easley with 14.   Eldorado was led by Joel Boulds’ 15 points.

Murphysboro defeats Redbirds on the mat


Murphysboro won the first four varsity matches and then was able to hang on for a 40-35 win over the Redbirds in Ohio Division wrestling Tuesday night. The Redbirds were held off the board until Maneese won in the 132 pound division by pin. Both Restivo brothers and Keegan Gardner then won consecutive matches to pull the Redbirds closer. Many of the following matches were split, with the Red Devils able to capture the win.

Other winners for the ‘Birds included:Riddle,Smith and Gaspar.

Redbirds dominate Hamilton County

Redbird senior Trenton Easley goes up for a shot under heavy guard.


Playing four strong quarters of varsity basketball, the West Frankfort Redbirds soundly defeated the Hamilton County Foxes Tuesday night, 59-43.

Gage Williams blocks a shot.

The Redbirds scored the first 4 points of the game. Then, they saw HamCo score the next four. The Redbirds then regained the momentum putting up 13 unanswered points to end the quarter with a 17-4 advantage. The game would only get slightly closer than that with the home team holding a double digit lead for most of the contest. The game was also not close when the halftime horn sounded with the ‘Birds up 24-10 as they received an ovation from the home crowd on their way to the locker room.

In the second half, the Foxes made a few runs to cut the lead under double digits. The last time Hamilton County saw a single number disadvantage was when Levi Lueke hit a short jumper with 6:27 left in the game to cut the Redbird lead to 40-32. The Birds scored the next 8 points of the game. In the second half run, Gage Williams electrified the crowd when he cruised in for a one-handed dunk.

The game was a very physical game with West Frankfort going to the free throw line 29 times, and Hamilton County 18 times. The hard play drew ire from both sides of the gym, with one Fox fan receiving an early exit.

Scoring for West Frankfort included: Trenton Easley with 21 points, Williams and Koehl with 15, Dunning 8, and Sisk 2. Easley had both West Frankfort 3-pont shots,and both proved instrumental in halting Hamco rallies.

Both teams are now 4-9 for the season. The Redbirds get back to Ohio Division action Friday night, at Murphysboro.

Redbirds to host Hamilton County


The West Frankfort Redbirds boys varsity basketball team is back in action for a Tuesday non-conference match-up. Hamilton County comes to West Frankfort for a match-up of two teams who have struggled this year.

The Redbirds are on a three-game losing streak. However, it must be noted, that two of the losses have come against the regions top team in Harrisburg.

One of the losses came during the second round of the Holiday Tournament, and the other loss to the Bulldogs came last Friday. Sandwiched in was a narrow loss to Union County, Kentucky, also in the EHT.

The junior varsity game begins at 6:15 pm at Max Morris Gym. The varsity contest starts about 7:45pm. The broadcast of the game can be heard on the school’s web site at

It is the first meeting of the year between the Foxes and the ‘Birds.

Lady Redbirds crushed at Eldorado


A new page may have been torn from the calendar, but West Frankfort Lady Redbird coach Matt Hampleman found the same major problem carrying over from 2012 into the new year: no offense. A 22-2 first quarter lifted the hst Eldorado Lady Eagles to a 57-16 win, Saturday afternoon.

The Redbirds could make up no ground in the other quarters as well,outscored:12-1, 12-7, and 11-6.

Individual scoring for West Frankfort saw Wilce lead the way with 13 points.

Redbird boys drop 2013 opener


The second meeting of the Harrisburg Bulldogs and the West Frankfort Redbirds was quite similar to the first meeting between the two clubs. The first meeting came in the second round of the Eldorado Holiday Tournament. That game was won by Harrisburg 72-41.

Game One began with the Redbirds aggressively attacking the Bulldog defense, and holding a first quarter lead. But, Harrisburg came storming back to put the game out of reach by halftime.

Friday night, Dan Dewerff’s team stayed with the same battle plan. Early, that plan worked. At the high point of  the first quarter the ‘Birds held a 10-4 lead over their visitors. But, following a time out, and lecture by Harrisburg Coach Randy Smithpeters, the Bulldogs refocused, regrouped and went on a 12-0 run to end the quarter with a 16-14 lead.

Much of the first half momentum for the area’s best team came from a stifling full-court defense. The Redbirds wilted under the press, with frequent turnovers and mistakes.

At the half, the game was not in doubt as Harrisburg led 46-25 having doubled up their opponent’s second quarter scoring 30-15.

That second quarter pull-away for the Bulldogs was punctuated with three 3-point shots from Ryne Roper who had 11 in that frame alone.  By third quarter’s conclusion, Harrisburg was cruising 63-41.

Going into the final quarter, Harrisburg had cleared their bench leading 63-41 . The end result was another lopsided Bulldog win of 76-54.

Harrisburg remains unbeaten 15-0. The Redbird record is now 3-9. The ‘Birds are winless in the Ohio Division with a 0-4 mark.
Harrisburg placed all of their five starters in double figures. They were lead by the14 points of Tyler Smithpeters and 14 for Ryne Roper, 12 for Eli Taborn-Scott, 11 for Dakota Upchurch, 10 for Capal Henshaw.
The Redbirds had one player in double figures with 5-8 Senior Trenton Easley scoring 16 points. This was followed by:  Williams 9, Dunning 8,Fort 7.Koel 5,Sisk 4, Maller,Bartoni and Keller with 2 points, each.
Harrisburg completed the sweep of the night on the road having won the JV game easily crushing the Redbirds 75-35.
Tuesday, the Redbirds play host to Hamilton County in a non-conference game at Max Morris Gym. The JV game begins at 6:15 pm.

Bulldogs come to West Frankfort

West Frankfort senior Trenton Easley dribbles past Harrisburg defenders during the team’s Dec. 29 match-up at the Eldorado Holiday Tournament. Harrisburg travels to Max Morris Gymnasium on Friday night to take on the Redbirds in the first game of 2013.


The West Frankfort Redbird boys varsity basketball team believes that they are an improved ball club over the course of the season. and, they believed that they showed some of that improvement in the just completed Eldorado Holiday Basketball Tournament. The Harrisburg Bulldogs say: “Prove it.”

The champions of the recently concluded EHT invade West Frankfort’s Max Morris Gym Friday night as both teams get the 2013 portion of their schedules underway. They have one meeting already under their belts as Harrisburg pulled away from the ‘Birds for an easy win in the EHT second round. The Redbirds actually led by a bucket at first quarters end in that game.

The JV game begins at 6 p.m., and the varsity contest starts at approximately 7:45 p.m. Friday. It is an Ohio Division ballgame.

The Redbirds open 2013 with a 3-8 record, and are winless in the conference so far.

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.

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.

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