GOREVILLE — Almost every coach in every sport at every level does it after a win, even one accomplished in impressive fashion.

“We won and played well, but we could have done this better,” the coach might say.

Sesser-Valier’s Shane Garner couldn’t quite go there Friday night, not after how his team performed to clinch the Black Diamond Conference West.

Tyler Winchester’s 20 points led four Red Devils in double figures and a solid defensive performance kept Goreville’s explosive offense in check during a 73-52 decision.

Sesser-Valier (17-10, 10-0) led almost wire-to-wire, owning a double-figure lead for the last 10-plus minutes on a floor where the visiting team rarely enjoys that kind of advantage. It was like a baseball pitcher which has the entire arsenal working.

“Our kids played pretty good ball on both ends of the floor,” Garner said. “Our offense was probably the best we’ve had all year. Guys were moving it. We were able to get some open shots, and our guards did a great job of not panicking, not trying to force stuff.”

Lukas Gunter and reserve Peyton Rock added 13 points for the Red Devils, while Preston Launius chipped in with 10. Senior forward Joshua Gunter contributed 10 rebounds and a nifty coast-to-coast drive after grabbing a missed shot in the second quarter.

Gunter also took multiple charges, part of a defensive effort that held Blackcats senior Braden Webb to just nine points.

“Toughest guy on the team,” Garner said of Joshua Gunter.

Goreville honored Webb before the game for becoming the all-time leading scorer in school history Tuesday night in a win over Chester. But the 5-11 point guard simply couldn’t get off the mark in this one, hampered by two quick fouls in the first 3:04. His third occurred in the first half’s final minute on a charge.

While Webb did convert a couple of his patented twisting layups, Winchester and Launius were able to keep him from getting his usual penetration that can carve up a defense.

Peyton Massey tried to take up slack for the Blackcats (15-10, 4-5) with a game-high 21 points, 14 in the first half to keep them within 34-27. But Sesser-Valier canned 63.2 percent of its field goals in the second half while committing just six turnovers against pressure defense.

Goreville finished the night at just 38 percent from the floor.

Garner finished the night with no “but” lines.

“Just a good night for us,” he summed up.


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