HERRIN — What Hayden Holloway started, Brandon Anthony and Drew Ringel finished.
Holloway’s personal 9-0 run that bridged the first and second quarters put the Herrin boys in control, and the 1-2 punch of Anthony and Ringel took it from there in the Tigers’ fourth straight win, a 69-58 decision over SIRR Ohio rival West Frankfort Friday night in Memorial Gym.
After a sloppy first five minutes rife with turnovers, Holloway straightened things out for Herrin (6-8, 1-2). He canned a high-arcing 3-pointer with 5.0 seconds left for a 14-9 lead after one quarter, then sandwiched transition buckets around a mid-range jumper.
That forced the first of three second quarter timeouts from Redbirds coach Kevin Toney, his team in a 20-9 hole.
“He started quite a bit,” Toney said. “We know he’s a nice player. He can shoot it, so I’ll reluctantly say it didn’t surprise us. But by the same token, we could have done a little bit better job.”
Holloway had 11 points when Toney took his first timeout. He had 11 points when the game ended. But Anthony and Ringel took his cue and kept West Frankfort (2-9, 0-3) at bay, even when it made a pair of nice runs.
Anthony got to the lane with impunity all night, canning his last six shots and finishing with 19. Ringel did the heavy lifting in the second half, scoring 18 of his game-high 21 points. He hit all six of his 3-pointers, including one with 6:03 left in the game, nine seconds after coach Sayler Shurtz took a timeout with a 16-point lead sliced to 54-44.
“Guys did a good job of making the extra pass and looking for a good shot,” Shurtz said.
Kyle Hammers, Keegan Thrash and 6-6 senior center Bradlee Croslin each scored 14 points for the Redbirds. West Frankfort ended the first half with a 10-1 run that cut its deficit to 35-27 at the half, but the Tigers went on a 12-4 spurt to open the third quarter.
Trailing 65-47 with just over three minutes left, the Redbirds kept working and rattled off nine points in a row, Thrash’s 3 making it 65-56 with 1:40 remaining. But Ringel canned his final 3-pointer from the top of the key with just over a minute left.
Both teams used Eldorado’s holiday tournament last week to build momentum. West Frankfort earned a spot in the semifinals, and Herrin won out after losing on a halfcourt buzzer-beater to Carmi-White County in the first round.
On this night, the Tigers kept the ball rolling downhill.
“You always like winning,” Shurtz said. “The things we’ve been preaching, they’re starting to see the rewards. It’s been great for us. Things are a lot less tense. They can go out there and play basketball.”