GOREVILLE — Benton remains undefeated with a 54-35 win over previously unbeaten Hamilton County in the second game of the third day of the 10th annual Goreville Boys Basketball Invitational on Thursday night.
The game also was a milestone for Benton coach Ron Winemiller with the win being the 300th of his career.
“It’s a lot of really good players,” Winemiller said. “If you do it long enough 300 wins are going to come and I’m not going to tell you how many losses.”
Benton was led by Isaac Billington with 15 points followed by Luke Melvin and Docker Tedeschi with 12 points.
The Rangers came out blazing, hitting 50% of their shots overall, but more remarkably sinking 5-of-8 from beyond the arc, including making their first four from the perimeter.
“We really got off the a good shooting the ball well and did a good job defensively making them take some tough shots and keeping a lot of people around Wyatt (Hamson),” Winemiller said. “We are not the biggest team, so it was nice to make some shots early and make them have to guard us on the perimeter.”
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The Rangers took a 17-10 lead after the first quarter. Hamilton County shot only 3-of-8 in the first quarter and was actually worse in the second making just 2-of-11 shots, but the Foxes took advantage of the Rangers cooling off (3-of-10 overall and 0-of-5 from long distance).
Hamilton County (2-1) scored just seven points in the second quarter on a 3-pointer by a last second injury replacement freshman Ethan Kessler, a jumper by Trenton Pike and two free throws by Landon Fricker while the Rangers managed just nine points to hold a 26-14 lead at the half.
The Rangers came out of the intermission blazing again making their first three shots and four of their first five, including their first two 3-point baskets while the Foxes didn’t allow the margin to grow much by making their first four shots, including a 3-pointer by Eli Hanson.
Benton eventually extended its lead to 20 points by the end of the third quarter and finished with a 19-point victory. Pike led the Foxes with 11 points while Hamson was held to four as the Cougars fell to 1-2 for the season.
In the first game, Johnston City led 16 points by Logan Hunter and 15 points from Connor Mowery led 29-17 at the half and went on to win, 61-39.
“We played really well tonight,” said Johnston City coach Scott Burzynski. “We shot the ball well. We got inside and outside and I thought we did a really good job rebounding, especially a lot of offensive put backs. We knew we had a size advantage coming in and we did a really good job of taking care of that. You really have to be ready to play in this tournament. I’m pretty pleased with 2-1 to put ourselves in a position for the weekend.”
In the third game, Goreville (1-1) jumped out to a 21-12 lead after the first quarter and held on to beat Anna-Jonesboro (1-1), 60-52.
Friday’s schedule will start at 5 p.m. with Hardin County (0-3) against Benton (3-0) followed by Anna-Jonesboro and Hamilton County (2-1) at 6:30 p.m. and Johnston City (2-1) against Goreville at 8 p.m.