JC, Benton, Goreville post wins
Indians overtake A-J, Benton blasts Hardin County; Blackcats best Foxes

- For the Johnston City Indians, things are looking up.

Head coach Jerry Hampleman has his team playing well in the opening week of the season and on Tuesday night at the Goreville Invitational Tournament, Johnston City showed the kind of effort and enthusiasm he has been looking for since he took over the job four years ago.

They got off to a good beginning and closed the deal in the fourth quarter, out-playing Anna-Jonesboro in all of the intangible categories in a 66-56 victory over the Wildcats in Game Two of the second night of the tournament.

Balanced scoring from the Indians and some key offensive rebounds in the fourth quarter kept the Indians in the title hunt at the fifth annual event.

Five-foot-eight sophomore guard Chase Selby proved to difficult to “chase” down for A-J.

Selby canned four 3-pointers and hit all four of his free throws to finish with 18-points.

Senior Wyatt Rix added three 3-pointers of his own and finished with 13-points while Coach Hampleman got 12-points from 6-foot-3 junior Luca Gualdoni.

Gualdoni also helped lead the club on the defensive end, and his key block of an A-J fast break attempt in the final quarter helped preserve the victory.

Gage Hall, another senior vet, added 10-points for the unbeaten Johnston City squad.

“I put Gage Hall in the high post against their zone and he made some good decisions, made some good passes to find some open shots,” said Coach Hampleman. “It has taken three years to get the right athletes to come and play basketball instead of just football. The coaches all work together to try and get the best athletes to play.”

For Anna-Jonesboro coming off of a big win in overtime over the hosts on Monday night, never looked in sync on Tuesday night as they fell to 1-1 on the season and in the tournament.

Coach Mike Chamness saw his squad commit 20-turnovers and only make one trip to the foul line all night.

That trip was by junior Jake Parr, a 6-foot-2 forward, who led all scorers for Anna-Jonesboro with 24-points.

No other A-J players had more than eight points (Jacob Zimmerman finished with eight) as the Wildcats didn't bring the same energy to the game that they brought the night before in an overtime triumph.

“We never really got into the flow of the game. We played tired. We made some mental mistakes that young, inexperienced teams are going to make,” said Coach Chamness. “I give them (Johnston City) a lot of credit, they did a lot of things defensively that didn't allow us to get into a flow.”

Johnston City came out of the gate with purpose, jumping out to a nine-point lead, taking advantage of A-J's six first quarter turnovers.

Senior EJ Thompson, scored eight points on the night and he converted one of the miscues into a fast break, followed by a Rix score on a nice one-handed bounce pass from Hall for another bucket in transition.

Rix handed out another assist to Gualdoni and then scored on a drive to the basket as JC led 11-2 with 3:42 left.

A-J managed a few offensive spurts, including a 7-0 run in the quarter, with Parr, sophomore guard Carson Reynolds and Zimmerman scoring.

Reynolds 3-pointer was his only points of the night and Zimmerman's score was on a fast break pass from Parr after a rebound.

But at this point, Selby got going from the outside.

He canned consecutive 3-point bombs and, when his second one from the top of the arc found the mark, the Indians led 17-9.

“Shelby is just a sophomore and he is getting used to the varsity experience,” said Coach Hampleman. “He is shooting with more confidence. Tonight he was catching it and letting it go.”

Parr converted a conventional three-point play while being fouled on an offensive rebound to close the quarter at 17-12.

Unfortunately for Anna-Jonesboro, that was the Wildcats only trip to the line in the game.

Gualdoni scored ten of his points in the first half and three of the baskets came in the second quarter.

He scored twice inside near the basket and Selby added another 3-pointer for a 26-18 JC lead.

For Coach Chamness' team, the second quarter was their best one.

Parr, after nine-points in the first quarter, added seven more in the second.

He scored twice on drives to the basket and then stepped out a drained a 3-pointer.

This bomb triggered the Wildcats' best run of the evening which gave them a halftime lead.

Junior guard Sheldon McGrath scored on a drive in the lane and after a JC bucket by Selby, Anna-Jonesboro closed the half with three-straight 3-pointers.

Zimmerman made two of the treys, one from the left wing and the next one from the right corner.

Sophomore guard Cameron Tweedy scored his only 3-points of the night on a shot from the left corner with just :05 left before the half.

With that score the Wildcats, despite their problems in the first 16 minutes, led 32-28.

“We didn't play well in the first half and we were up by four at halftime,” said Coach Chamness. “Playing a zone, you have to be able to locate their shooters. Rix and Shelby can shoot it. We lost them and they made us pay,” said Coach Chamness. “We got caught out of position a lot. I think it was just a mental thing. We weren't ready tonight. And we have to rebound from this and get ready for Benton on Friday.”

The momentum that A-J had going into the break, fizzled quickly in the third quarter.

The Wildcats committed six more turnovers in the third quarter, and Johnston City eventually took back the lead at the end of the quarter on a 9-2 run.

Gualdoni, 6-foot-6 senior Max Edwards and Selby all delivered points as the Indians took a 46-44 lead to the fourth quarter.

Gualdoni and Edwards produced a pair of baskets and Selby closed the run with two free throws and yet another 3-pointer.

Coach Hampleman's team took command and the victory with an 8-0 run to break the game's final tie.

The run began on a possession in which that Indians missed five consecutive shots but grabbed five offensive rebounds.

The sixth shot proved to be a dagger as Rix took a pass in the left corner and drilled home a 3-pointer for a 55-52 lead with 2:31 remaining.

Then Hall scored the next five points, with a basket in transition and a score on an inbounds play.

Both of the assists delivered by Thompson.

When he added a free throw after making a steal, the Tribe was in command at 60-52 with just :52.8 left.

Thompson and Selby each added a pair of free throws and Hall took a pass from Rix on another inbound play score to close out the win.

The Indians, despite 14-turnovers of their own, won the game from the foul line, as they hit 8-of-14, 5-of-7 in the fourth quarter.

JC was 25-of-60 from the floor overall and 11 of their 26 rebounds were on the offensive end.

They hit almost half of their 3-point attempt (8-of-17) and forced A-J into a bad shooting night.

The Wildcats were only 23-of-55 from the floor.

Both teams head back to the floor with Johnston City playing the host Blackcats and A-J taking on Benton.

Both of those games are Friday night.

“I'm lucky enough that I have 10 athletes that I feel confident enough to put in at any given time and our offensive really doesn't slow down that much,” said Coach Hampleman. “We have the length and have the athletes to do things that we couldn't do before. We try to take advantage of our athletic ability and crash the glass.”

Johnston City
Johnston City (66) – H. Hall 0 0 0-0 0, Rix 2 3 0-0 13, Catore 0 0 0-0 0, G. Hall 4 0 2-5 10, Campbell 0 1 0-0 3, Peek 0 00-0 0, Thompson 3 0 2-2 8, Selby 1 4 4-4 18, Gualdoni 6 0 0-1 12, Edwards 1 0 0-2 2.
2FG-17, 3FG-8, FT-8-14, PF-10.

Anna-Jonesboro (56) – T. Smith 0 0 0-0 0, Pinnon 1 1 0-0 5, McGrath 2 1 0-0 7, Zimmerman 1 2 0-0 8, H. Smith 0 0 0-0 0, Reynolds 0 1 0-0 3, Parr 7 3 1-1 24, Markovic 3 0 0-0 6, Gillis 0 0 0-0 0, Hill 0 0 0-0 0, Sawyer 0 0 0-0 0, Tweedy 0 1 0-0 3.
2FG-14, 3FG-9, FT-1-1, PF-16.

Fouled Out – None.
Technical Fouls – None.

The Rangers spotted the Cougars a quick 2-0 lead and then proceeded to outscore Hardin County 27-2 in the next five minutes as Coach Ron Winemiller's club made quick work of the 1A team in the first game at Goreville on Tuesday night.

Senior guard Derek Oxford scorched the Cougars with seven 3-pointers, 24-points total.

The Rangers (2-0) hit 13 3's in the contest that was over before halftime.

Seven different Benton players scored as the lead expanded to 66-24 at intermission.

Austin Wills added 13-points for Benton while Gehrig Wynn chipped in 12.

Timmy Henson and Hamilton Page added eight points each in the rout.

The mercy rule with Hardin County trailing by over 30-points was in effect in the fourth quarter with a continuous clock.

Hardin County (0-2) was paced by senior forward Craig Hutson with 17-points.

Hardin County
Hardin County (43) – Austin 1 0 0-0 2, Winters 0 1 0-0 3, Cullum 1 3 0-0 11, Shaw 0 2 0-0 6, Bridgewaters 0 0 0-0 0, Fowler 0 0 0-0 0, Hutson 6 0 5-5 17, Hicks 2 0 0-0 4.
2FG-10, 3FG-6, FT-5-5, PF-10.

Benton (70) – Thomas 0 0 0-0 0, Henson 0 2 2-2 8, Page 4 0 0-0 8, Wynn 3 2 0-0 12, Wills 3 2 1-1 13, Tillman 0 0 0-0 0, Oxford 1 7 1-1 24, Morris 0 0 0-0 0, Pankey 1 0 1-1 3, Willams 1 0 0-0 2, Mosley 0 0 0-0 0, Lutz 0 0 0-0 0, Avery 0 0 0-0 0.
2FG-13, 3FG-13, FT-5-5, PF-9.

Fouled Out – None.
Technical Fouls – None.

The Blackcats finally put away the pesky Foxes late in the fourth quarter to get their first win of the season for head coach Todd Tripp.

Paced by 20-points from Braden Webb, a 5-foot-11 junior guard, Goreville evened their season and tournament mark to 1-1.

Six-foot-six senior Brant Glidewell added 16-points for the 'Cats.

Hamilton County (0-2) had three double-figure scorers on the night with Noah Rapp leading the Foxes with 14.

Jake Whipple and Austin Potter tossed in 12-points each in the loss.

Hamilton County

Goreville (58)
– Dunning 0 0 0-0 0, Geyman 1 0 0-0 2, Glidewell 4 1 3-6 16, Webb 5 1 7-10 20, Bishop 0 0 0-0 0, Crews 1 0 0-2 2, Lewis 0 0 0-0 0, Tosh 0 0 1-2 1, Dunn 3 0 0-0 6, Massey 2 0 3-4 7, Helton 2 0 0-0 4, Lenon 0 0 0-0 0.
2FG-18, 3FG-2, FT-14-24, PF-13.

Hamilton County (53) – N. Rapp 3 2 2-2 14, Potter 0 0 0-0 0, Whipple 6 0 0-1 12, Dial 2 2 2-2 12, Rubenacker 0 0 0-0 0, Van Abbema 0 0 0-0 0, Gray 0 1 2-2 5, Miller 0 0 0-0 0, E. Rapp 3 0 0-0 6, Dednck 2 0 2-2 4.
2FG-16, 3FG-5, FT-8-9, PF-23.

Fouled Out – None.
Technical Fouls – None.