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MIDLAND TRAIL CONFERENCE TOURNAMENT
Wayne City romps into MTC semifinals
Indians lead gate-to-wire, 56-29 over Waltonville; improve to 12-2 overall

01-17-18
BY JACK BULLOCK
WAYNE CITY – For head coach Jeff Morris and his Wayne City Indians, Wednesday night's makeup game in the Midland Trail Conference Tournament couldn't come soon enough.

After not playing in what seemed like and eternity, the Tribe finally got off of the practice court and into an actually game.

BENTON INVITATIONAL TOURNAMENT
Meridian, Pinckneyville, Benton post opening night wins
Bobcats claw Red Devils; Panthers pound Carlyle; Benton rolls past Ham Co.

01-16-18
BY JACK BULLOCK
BENTON – Mounds Meridian head coach Erik Griffin has been looking for his team to begin putting together longer stretches of good play since the 2017-18 season began.

On Tuesday night in the opening game of the 45th annual Benton Invitational Tournament, his Bobcats got off of the bus ready to play.

WEST FRANKFORT "MID-WINTER CLASSIC"
Pilots edge Marion
Cairo wins mistake filled game, 58-55; Taylor nets 29-points

01-13-18
BY JACK BULLOCK
WEST FRANKFORT – Cairo senior guard Damarius Taylor has been his club's top scorer and team leader this season and he stepped forward to lead his Pilots to an important, yet somewhat ugly to watch, win on Saturday night
.

NON-CONFERENCE
St. Anthony ends drought against BMD
Balanced scoring, defensive effort produces 57-47 win

01-12-18
BY JACK BULLOCK
EFFINGHAM – It has been quite some time since the Effingham St. Anthony boy's basketball program won a game against Breese Mater Dei.

In fact no one close to the program could come up with the date/year of the last victory over the Knights.

56TH ANNUAL CHESTER INVITATIONAL TOURNAMENT
Cobden rallies to "knock" off Yellow Jackets
Big 15-2 run puts Appleknockers in championship game

01-11-18
BY JACK BULLOCK
CHESTER - It's been a long time since the Cobden Appleknockers played for a boy's varsity basketball tournament championship.
It was in 2005 at the Class A regional title game at Herrin back in the two-class system of Illinois.

BLACK DIAMOND CONFERENCE
Devils' second half dooms Goreville
Sesser-Valier rallies past Blackcats, 64-48; take BDC West command

01-09-18
BY JACK BULLOCK
SESSER – In a game where offensive execution was difficult for both teams, it was the Sesser-Valier Red Devils who made the right adjustments while cutting down on their own mistakes in the second half to pull away from Black Diamond Conference rival Goreville.


Foxes' defense shines in road win
Hamiton County controls tempo, wins 46-28; NCOE falls to 2-11

01-06-18
BY JACK BULLOCK
NORRIS CITY – There is a phrase in horse racing that is “Pace Makes The Race.”
It can also be true in high school basketball.
When one team wants to run and gun and the other team wants to keep that from happening, then the pace of the contest is, indeed, important.

SIRR OHIO DIVISION
Rangers edge Patriots
Benton improves to 13-2, 4-0 in SIRR Ohio, with 59-56 victory

01-05-18
BY JACK BULLOCK
BENTON - For head coach Ron Winemiller and his 2017-18 Benton Rangers, the beginning of the season has been one of the surprises in southern Illinois boy's basketball.
After graduating most of what turned out to be a record-breaking 31-3 squad from a year ago which produced the first ever SIRR Ohio Division championship in the .....

BLACK DIAMOND VS. SOUTH EGYPTIAN
Falcons fly past Z-R
Elverado improves to 9-8; win 58-44 at home

01-04-18
BY JACK BULLOCK
ELKVILLE – The Elverado Falcons were in desperate need of a win as they began the second half of their season at home on Thursday night.

After an 8-4 beginning to the season, the Falcons dropped four consecutive games at the Pinckneyville “Duster Thomas Hoops' Classic” last weekend.

GREATER EGYPTIAN CONFERENCE
Tigers continue winning ways
Darge comes up "large" with double-double; Thompsonville tops Galatia

01-02-18
BY JACK BULLOCK
GALATIA - Coming off of a consolation championship game win last week at the Sesser-Valier Holiday Tournament, head coach Pete Gordon saw his club come out with a great second half defensive effort in a 50-42 win.

Behind an outstanding 17-point, 13-rebound effort by 6-foot-7 junior Anthony Darge along with four blocked shots .....

PINCKNEYVILLE "DUSTER THOMAS HOOPS CLASSIC"
Rangers earn championship win
Benton "blankets" Wesclin; tops Warriors 41-28 behind Williams 16-points

12-30-17
BY JACK BULLOCK
PINCKNEYVILLE - Two very tired teams took the floor Saturday night in the title game of the 11th annual Duster Thomas Classic.

But as it turned out, the Benton Rangers had more gas left in the tank as Coach Ron Winemiller's club took home the championship with a 41-28 win over Trenton-Wesclin.

46TH ANNUAL VANDALIA HOLIDAY TOURNAMENT
Bulldogs "defend" tournament title
Effingham St. Anthony blankets Flora, 49-38, for second straight VHT championship
Host Vandals rally past Shelbyville for third, Pana takes fifth

12-29-17
BY JACK BULLOCK
VANDALIA
A person, most likely a coach somewhere years ago, was quoted as saying “defense wins championships.”

This wise one couldn't have envisioned a better demonstration of that theory than the final 16 minutes of Friday night's title game between defending tournament champions Effingham St. Anthony and Flora.

46TH ANNUAL VANDALIA HOLIDAY TOURNAMENT
St. Anthony, Flora advance to title game
Bulldogs batter Vandals; Wolves edge Shelbyville; Both finish pool play 4-0
South Central wins two games; Pana, Patoka both pick up wins

12-28-17
BY JACK BULLOCK
VANDALIA – It's one of those often used basketball proverbs, an adage that has been talked about by coaches since John Wooden was a Indiana child.
“The first three minutes of the game and the first three minutes of the second half are the most important times of the game.”

37TH ANNUAL SESSER-VALIER HOLIDAY TOURNAMENT
Top-seed Woodlawn reaches final four
McKay rips Johnston City with 32-points; Cards improve to 8-3
Goreville, Christopher, Sesser-Valier round out championship semifinals
T'ville, Galatia, Odin, M-C advance in consolation bracket

12-27-16
BY JACK BULLOCK
SESSER – Woodlawn sophomore Blake McKay has really stepped up his game this week at the Sesser-Valier Holiday Tournament.

Wednesday evening the 6-foot-1 guard “stepped on” Johnston City, lighting up .....

37TH ANNUAL SESSER-VALIER HOLIDAY TOURNAMENT
Top seeds all advance
Host Red Devils romp past Waltonville; Goreville survives scare
Christopher tops Galatia, top-seed Woodlawn rolls
Steeleville, Johnston City, Cobden, Chester win

12-26-16
BY JACK BULLOCK
SESSER
Sesser-Valier's Preston Launius came ready to play on Tuesday night in the Sesser-Valier Red Devils tournament opener against long-time rival Waltonville.

The 6-foot-2 senior forward netted a game-high 22-points, 18 of which came .....

37TH ANNUAL SESSER-VALIER HOLIDAY TOURNAMENT
Woodlawn seeks eighth title
Top-seeded Cardinals face strong field
Goreville, Christopher, host Red Devils round out top four seeds

12-25-17
BY JACK BULLOCK
SESSER - The 37th annual Sesser-Valier Holiday Tournament shapes up to be a extremely competitive event with the top six seeded teams having a combined record of 37-19.
The Woodlawn Cardinals are the number one seed at the event, coming in with a 6-3 mark under head coach Brian Gamber.

46TH ANNUAL VANDALIA HOLIDAY TOURNAMENT
Bulldogs look to defend title
Top-seed St. Anthony will face worthy challengers
Shelbyville, Flora, Pana, host Vandals

12-25-17
BY JACK BULLOCK
VANDALIA - The 57th annual Vandalia Holiday Tournament has gone through some changes over the years but the bottom line is that there will be a champion crowned on Friday night December 29th that will be deserving.
Defending tournament champion Effingham St. Anthony is the prohibitive favorite to take the honors back to the North Side of town as they return a wealth of experienced .....

Indians top Galatia
Selby tosses in 27-points, Johnston City improves to 3-7 overall

12-22-17
BY JACK BULLOCK
JOHNSTON CITY - For a program with a new coach and system in place, any early season win is a welcome sight.

And it certainly doesn't hurt any that a veteran backcourt specialist has a monster night offensively.

Indians use two runs to top Webber
Du Quoin improves to 5-5 with 57-44 win over Trojans

12-21-17
BY JACK BULLOCK
DU QUOIN – In a game played on Thursday night between two unlikely regular season opponents, the Du Quoin Indians needed a couple of scoring runs to get an edge on visiting Webber Township.

Coach Justin Barrington got a 9-0 scoring run in the second quarter and ...

CAHOKIA CONFERENCE
Eagles edge Carlyle
Columbia beats buzzer, Indians, 47-44; improve to 4-4 overall

12-19-17
BY JACK BULLOCK
CARLYLE – The Columbia Eagles have, according to their head coach Mark Sandstrom, struggled mightily on the offensive end of the floor this season.

On Tuesday night, after a pretty good first half against host Carlyle, the Eagles' struggles continued.

64TH ANNUAL WAYNE CITY HOLIDAY TOURNAMENT
Webber wins WC title
Charles Neal's 25-point, 10-rebound effort leads Trojans championship win
O'Neal nets 16 for Wayne City; Gallatin Co., Crab Orchard, Cisne win on final day

12-16-16
BY JACK BULLOCK
WAYNE CITY – The Wayne City Holiday Tournament has an all-tournament team but the event doesn't name a Most Valuable Player.

If they did, there is little doubt who would have taken home the trophy.

64TH ANNUAL WAYNE CITY HOLIDAY TOURNAMENT
Indians move into title game
Wayne City overcomes mistakes, rallies for 48-41 OT win over Red Hill
Hosts will face Webber Township Saturday night
Louisville North Clay outlasts Cisne in 2OT

12-15-16
BY JACK BULLOCK
WAYNE CITY
Friday night's contest between Red Hill and the host Indians at the 64th annual Wayne City Holiday Tournament was a story that really wasn't worth writing home about.
But on this night, with the winner advancing to the title game on Saturday night, the final chapter of the saga was all that really mattered to Wayne City.

58TH ANNUAL ST. ELMO HOLIDAY TOURNAMENT
Pirates steal victory late
Magee nets 32-points, Cumberland rallies for 67-63 win over Aces

12-14-16
BY JACK BULLOCK
ST. ELMO – If the Cumberland Pirates performance on Thursday night was graded on a normal scale, a “B- or C+” would probably be the overall result.

Fortunately for head coach Justin Roedl, his top two players brought their “A” games to the contest, especially in the pivotal fourth quarter.

64TH ANNUAL WAYNE CITY HOLIDAY TOURNAMENT
Webber Township wins OT battle
Trojans rally past Gallatin County, 53-48 to reach title game
Red Hill, Wayne City also win to set up Friday night showdown

12-13-16
BY JACK BULLOCK
WAYNE CITY – The Webber Township Trojans have been looking for an important victory.

A signature win that has eluded this veteran senior group since their freshman season three years ago.

MIDLAND TRAIL CONFERENCE
Woodlawn "clamps down" on CORL
Cardinals force 18-turnovers, improve to 4-3 overall with 60-29 win

12-11-17
BY JACK BULLOCK
WOODLAWN -
It took the Woodlawn Cardinals a little bit longer than they wanted to shake loose from their conference foe on Tuesday night at home.

Christ Our Rock Lutheran played a pretty good first half and trailed the hosts just 26-21 at halftime.

64TH ANNUAL WAYNE CITY HOLIDAY TOURNAMENT
Hawks romp past Cisne
Goebel leads Gallatin County to easy win with 21-points
Webber Township, Crab Orchard also roll at Wayne City

12-11-17
BY JACK BULLOCK
WAYNE CITY - For the first few minutes of their game against Gallatin County on Monday night, Coach Kevin Bowen and his Cisne Lions were thinking upset.

The team did what they wanted to do, which was run clock and milk their first couple of possessions.

64TH ANNUAL WAYNE CITY HOLIDAY TOURNAMENT
Salukis' muscle past Crab Orchard
Defensive effort stymies Trojans, Red Hill starts tourney 1-0
Webber Township, Gallatin County, host Indians win on opening day

12-17-16
BY JACK BULLOCK
WAYNE CITY – Coming off of a tough conference road loss less than 24-hours earlier against rival Olney Richland, head coach Bryan Havill wanted his Red Hill team to forget about the loss and concentrate on the game against Crab Orchard at the Wayne City Holiday Tournament on Saturday afternoon.

1A NON-CONFERENCE
Rockets romp past Sesser-Valier
Okawville forces mistakes, dominates middle quarters in 58-35 road win

12-05-17
BY JACK BULLOCK
SESSER – The Sesser-Valier Red Devils suited up for their first home game of the season on Tuesday night after spending a week in Du Quoin facing some pretty tough opponents at the annual Tip-Off Classic.
Coach Shane Garner's team even jumped out to a .....

CAHOKIA CONFERENCE KASKASKIA DIVISION
Steeleville's defensive effort earns win
Warriors shut down Valmeyer, improve to 1-0 in Kaskaskia Division

12-04-17
BY JACK BULLOCK
STEELEVILLE
- On nights when the offense doesn't produce enough made shots, good teams get the job done in other ways.

On Monday night against visiting Valmeyer in the Cahokia Conference Kaskaskia Division opener for both teams, Steeleville got the victory with a .....

GOREVILLE INVITATIONAL TOURNAMENT
Anna-Jonesboro wins title
Wildcats beat Hardin County, 69-41, 5-0 for the week
Ham Co. defeats Johnston City; Benton beats host Goreville on final night

12-02-17
BY JACK BULLOCK
GOREVILLE – Two weeks ago on Saturday, most of the Anna-Jonesboro Wildcats were playing a playoff semifinal football game at Pleasant Plains.

Basketball was probably the furthest thing from their minds at that point.

DU QUOIN "TIP-OFF CLASSIC"
Pilots take bark out of Bulldogs
Cairo improves to 3-0 in the tournament, 54-38; CWC falls to 1-1
Du Quoin edges Sesser-Valier in nightcap

12-01-17
BY JACK BULLOCK
DU QUOIN – Disruption.

It's a common term in the English language.
Webster's Dictionary defines it as “disturbance or problems that interrupt an event, activity, or process.”

CARLYLE "KASKASKIAN CLASSIC"
Pinckneyville tops Midgets
Panthers roll to 87-48 win; Rockets edge Indians, 45-42
Okawville/Pinckneyville title game rematch set for Saturday

11-30-17
BY JACK BULLOCK
CARLYLE – The Pinckneyville Panthers can do a lot of things really well.

On Thursday night at the Carlyle Kaskaskian Classic in their game against Freeburg, Coach Bob Waggoner's club proved just how good they can be when everything is clicking.

TRICO PIONEER INVITATIONAL TOURNAMENT
Harrisburg rolls past host Trico
Bulldogs win 64-41; Chester tops North Tech; Steeleville edges Sparta

11-28-17
BY JACK BULLOCK
CAMPBELL HILL
- Head coach Randy Smithpeters always wants his Harrisburg Bulldogs to get off to a good start defensively.

It has been that way ever since he took over this program in 1993-94.

GOREVILLE INVITATIONAL TOURNAMENT
Goreville romps past JC
Blackcats first quarter run sets tone in 83-54 win
Ham Co tops Hardin Co in opener; A-J stuns Benton, 67-65 in overtime

11-27-17
BY JACK BULLOCK
GOREVILLE
Coach Todd Tripp wanted to see how his club was going to respond on the opening night of the Goreville Invitational Tournament against Johnston City.

In fact there were a lot of questions going into the first game of the season for the Blackcats.

CHRISTOPHER TURKEY TOURNAMENT
Christopher takes tourney title
Host Bearcats outlast Webber Township, 66-60 in overtime
Wayne City, New Athens, Waltonville win on final day of 43rd Annual event

11-25-17
BY JACK BULLOCK
CHRISTOPHER – The Christopher Bearcats captured the championship of the 43rd Annual Turkey Tournament.

And it took a gutsy performance by senior guard Jared Curry and his teammates to help the Bearcats outlast Webber Township 66-60 in overtime on Saturday night.

CRAB ORCHARD TURKEY TOURNAMENT
Crab Orchard wraps up turkey title
Trojans dominate Dongola, go 5-0 in tournament
Pope County, Elverado post final day victories

11-25-17
BY JACK BULLOCK
CRAB ORCHARD – Heading into the final day of the 19th Annual Crab Orchard Thanksgiving Tournament, the host Trojans had won 14-straight games in this event in taking home the last two tournament championships.

Win number 15 turned out to be an easy victory as they jumped out to a big ....

VIENNA "THE CLASSIC"
Eldorado stays unbeaten
Eagles dominate boards, force 25 Cobden turnovers, improve to 4-0


11-24-17
BY JACK BULLOCK
VIENNA In a basketball you don't want this to happen to you, ever.
It is sometimes referred to as the “turnover bug.”
At some point in time every team catches it. It can either be self inflicted or it can be forced upon your team.

CHRISTOPHER THANKSGIVING TOURNAMENT
Bearcats top WC
Young nets 32-points, hosts advance; Indians fall to third place game

11-22-17
BY JACK BULLOCK
CHRISTOPHER – With 5:34 remaining in the fourth quarter of their semifinal game against Wayne City and clinging to a narrow 51-49, Christopher head coach Eric Stallman called a timeout after giving up a 5-0 run.

Coach Stallman posed a question to his team when he asked “What is it that we do well?”