HARRISBURG — Benton clinched a share of the SIRR Ohio with a 58-51 win at Harrisburg Friday night behind 20 points from Gehrig Wynn.
Wynn, who knocked down six free throws in the final quarter, was one of four Rangers to score in double figures. Parker Williams added 13 points while Hamilton Page scored 12. Carson Lewis nailed three triples and finished with 11 points for Benton (23-3, 8-0 SIRR Ohio).
Harrisburg took its first and only lead on a 3-pointer from Carson Burtis with 1:24 left in the third quarter before the Rangers pulled back in front and took a 39-37 advantage into the fourth period.
"We took the lead by two and I thought we might be okay, but then in the next three or four possessions, we basically got beat down the floor," said Harrisburg coach Randy Smithpeters. "We gave up some easy baskets and then basically weren't able to return from that. Those are situations we have to fix."
Benton outscored Harrisburg 9-4 to open the final quarter before Harrisburg was able to close to within one possession on a pair of occasions during the final three minutes.
"Benton's a really good team. Their record shows that," said Smithpeters. "We were able to play with them. With two minutes to go we had a chance, so I guess there's some success in the idea of that, but this time of year we really want the victory and we weren't able to pull that out tonight."
Dalton Lambert scored 18 and Isaiah Saulsberry added 16 points for Harrisburg (20-6, 5-3 SIRR Ohio).
"They had a game plan. They were going to try and exploit our lack of size," said Benton coach Ron Winemiller. "I thought our post guys did a lot better in the second half of not letting them catch it where they wanted."
The Rangers, who won the league last winter, can earn an outright championship with a victory tonight in Metropolis.
"It feels good, but at the same time we talked to our guys in the locker room that this is nice, but this is just one step closer to the goal that we had. The goal that we had was to be a conference champion and we can accomplish that at Massac."