MURPHYSBORO — Murphysboro shrugged off a sluggish first quarter to beat West Frankfort, 52-39, in the key SIRR Ohio Division boys basketball game Friday night.
"I give West Frankfort some credit," said Murphysboro coach Daryl Murphy. "They ran kind of a delay offense looking for a backdoor cut that kind of lulled you to sleep. I thought for the most part we did a decent job after giving up some baskets early, but in the second quarter we did an outstanding job defensively giving up just four points and all coming from the line."
Murphysboro (17-5) improved to 6-1 in the conference to remain in the hunt to defend its conference title while West Frankfort (8-15, 0-8 Ohio) remained winless in conference play.
"Sometimes we have a difficult time scoring," said West Frankfort coach Kevin Toney. "Even though we had a hard time offensively I thought our defense played pretty hard. We made it about as difficult for Murphy to score as we could have. I was proud of our effort, but we tripped ourselves for about two or three minutes in the third quarter, but that wasn’t what got us beat. It was a good Murphy team and their talent."
The first two quarters were as different as night and day. The Red Devils came out cold, except for Jeremy House, who scored all eight of Murphysboro’s first quarter points. House fouled out with 6:45 remaining in the game and finished with 17 points
Murphysboro shot 3-of-10 from the field and also had trouble at the line making only 2-of-4, leaving the Red Devils on the wrong end of the 12-8 score. On the other side the Redbirds sank 6-of-8 shots from the field.
The second quarter was totally different. Mishont Gibbs hit a 3-pointer to get the Red Devils going at 19-second mark and 26 seconds later House did the same and Murphysboro led for the first time, 14-12.
House and Gibbs then combined to score the next three baskets and the Red Devils extended their lead to 20-12.
West Frankfort lost its shooting eye in the second quarter missing all eight of his shots from field. The Redbirds didn’t score its first point in the second until there was 2:08 remaining when Noah Allen made both free throws.
Jaron Gaston followed with back-to-back 3-pointers and Allen made two more free throws to give the Red Devils a 26-16 lead at the half. Gaston led the game with 19 points.
In the third quarter Murphysboro remained hot from the inside shooting 5-of-6 with the only miss coming on a hurried shot at the buzzer. The Redbirds shot only 3-of-9, including 2-of-6 from inside allowing Murphysboro to extend its 10-point halftime lead to 16 to open the fourth quarter.