Redbirds roll over Benton, 70-40
Weeks, Patton, suffocating defense, provide WF with SIRR Ohio road victory

BENTON - When West Frankfort and Benton get together on the basketball hardwood, fans are usually treated to a great game between two heated Franklin County rivals.

Those in attendance on Saturday night at Rich Herrin Gym that were expecting a close game left the gym after witnessing a overwhelmingly one-sided contest.

The Redbirds, ranked seventh in the latest Associated Press state-wide poll, took all of the air out of the Benton sails in a tornado-like third quarter and cruised to an easy 70-40 win on the road.

Using a suffocating defense that forced the Rangers into 16 turnovers, coach Kevin Toney's club improved to 23-3 on the season.

Ryan Patton, the 6-foot-3 senior point-forward, scored 15 points while picking up three steals that resulted in fast break baskets for his teammates.

Teammates Matt Weeks and Josh Webb, the two main benefactors of the assists from Patton, totaled 18 and 14 respectively.

"It is not really surprising to see Ryan Patton help us in a variety of ways on both ends of the court," said West Frankfort head coach Kevin Toney. "That is just the kind of kid that he is and he has the respect his teammates."

West Frankfort held the Rangers to just 8-of-32 (25 percent) from the field including a sorrowful 2-of-20 from behind the 3-point line.

"West Frankfort is a good basketball team with a lot of varsity experience and they were better than us tonight," said Benton coach Matt Wynn, whose Rangers lost a pair of lopsided games this weekend in the SIRR Ohio. "We made some poor decisions on the offensive end tonight and we are going to have to correct some things this week."

Benton held a trio of brief leads in the opening quarter but they could never sustain any momentum.
After getting fouled on a 3-point attempt, Benton's Seiger Shurtz hit all three of his free throws to give the Rangers a 3-2 advantage with just over a minute gone in the contest.

Shurtz hit his only 3-pointer with 5:50 left to give the Rangers back the lead at 6-5.

Then Greg McClintock connected on a pair of free throws to return to the front for one final time at 8-7 with 5:16 remaining.

Then the Redbirds flew the nest on a 9-0 run that took less than two minutes.

Weeks was strong on two consecutive possessions for WF, hitting on a lay up and then a 3-pointer from the left wing. His 'trifecta' made it 12-8 with 3:32 to go.

Then Patton scored his second basket in the quarter, which he followed up with a steal and pass to Josh Webb for a fast break lay in and a 16-8 lead.

Coach Wynn had seen enough and burned a timeout at 2:10 to go.

After a McClintock basket stopped the Ranger bleeding for a moment, Patton and Co. struck again on two straight possessions. Patton dished two assists on 'back-to-back' trips to Joey Dial and Weeks to make it 20-10.

The one solace the Rangers could take from the first quarter, as was the case for the entire game, was their accuracy from the free throw line.

Benton converted 10-of-11 opening period charities, including the last six.

Shurtz and Ben Erwin hit four straight to close out the frame at 20-14 West Frankfort.

West Frankfort extended its lead when Martin Conaughty, Weeks and Patton all put points on the board in a 6-0 run.

Patton rebounded a Zach Farkas miss and stuck it back home to give the Birds a 26-15 spread with 5:55 to go until intermission.

Benton had one decent run in the game and it came toward the end of the period.

The 7-2 scoring spree was highlighted by a tip-in by Caleb Muir on a Shurtz 3-point attempt and another McClintock basket in the paint.

When McClintock hit the first of two free throws with 2:17 to go, Benton had trimmed the Redbird lead to 28-22.

However Farkas stepped out and took yet another assist from Patton and drained a 3-pointer from the top of the arc to send the teams to intermission at 31-22.

After McClintock opened the second half with a score in the lane on a pass from Duke Mitchell, West Frankfort took command with a 13-0 run.

Webb was the main messenger of the Benton bad news as he scored seven of the points.

His 3-pointer from the left corner made it 42-24 with 4:42 to go. Ryan Kirkpatrick finished the run on a short lay in as the lead reached 20-points for the first time.

Weeks and Webb each added three more points in the quarter on three point plays.

Weeks' was a conventional one on a lay up while being fouled by Shurtz.

Webb connected again late in the stanza from long distance to make it 50-33 with 1:18 to play.

Six more points by Weeks along with baskets by Kirkpatrick and Conaughty finished off the Rangers.

When Conaughty hit his shot on a drive from the left baseline, the mercy rule came into effect at 68-38.

Benton got 13 points from McClintock and 11 from Shurtz as just two Rangers reached double-digits in scoring.

Coach Wynn's bright spot tonight was hits teams' 22-of-25 performance from the foul line.

"I thought we did some good offensively early, but our intensity in rebounding and on defense just wasn't there the whole weekend. I was disappointed in our effort tonight," said Coach Wynn. "We have to get back to practice and work hard this week to get better prepared."

West Frankfort was a 28-of-47 from the field, including 3-of-9 from behind the arc.

The Redbirds held a 24-15 rebounding edge while committing just five turnovers.

"This conference is very important to us and to compete and win games against the fine coaches and teams in this league night in and night out is tough to do," said West Frankfort coach Kevin Toney. "One of our concerns tonight was their (Benton) quickness and ability to shoot and handle the ball. We thought they might come out and try to use 10 or 15 passes to try and get a good shot. But we had a good defensive effort tonight."

Both teams have one final conference road game next Friday night when WF travels to Harrisburg while the Rangers head way south to play Massac County.

West Frankfort

West Frankfort (70) - Webb 4 1 3-4 14, Patton 6 0 3-5 15, Weeks 6 1 3-3 18, Farras 0 1 0-0 3, Conaughty 2 0 0-1 4, Dial 2 0 1-2 5, Kirkpatrick 4 0 1-5 9, Jones 1 0 0-0 2, Wall 0 0 0-0 0, Brown 0 0 0-0 0, Cunningham 0 0 0-0 0.
2FG-25, 3FG-3, FT-11-20, PF-18.
Benton (47) - Shurtz 0 1 8-9 11, Mitchell 0 0 3-4 3, Satterfield 0 0 3-4 3, McClintock 5 0 3-4 13, Muir 1 0 0-0 2, Hammond 0 1 0-0 3, Erwin 0 0 4-4 4, S. Smith 0 0 2-2 2, Melvin 0 0 0-0 0, E. Smith 0 0 0-0 0, Nolen 0 0 0-0 0.
2FG-6, 3FG-2, FT-22-25, PF-14.
Fouled Out - None.
Technical Fouls - Weeks, West Frankfort.