BENTON INVITATIONAL TOURNAMENT
Pinckneyville starts slow, finishes fast
Panthers' big second half dooms Devils; Rangers rally past Carlyle; Bobcats tame Foxes

01-18-17
BY JACK BULLOCK
BENTON
- For even the best of teams, there are some nights that don't go as well as planned.

The first half of the Pinckneyville Panthers' contest against Sesser-Valier at the 44th annual Benton Invitational Tournament on Wednesday night would be considered a “clunker” of a performance.

Coach Bob Waggoner's team were outplayed for the most part by the Red Devils as they managed to lead by just a 25-23 margin heading into the lockerroom at the half.

But Coach Waggoner and his staff got their point across at the intermission and the Panthers responded with a much better performance in the final two quarters.

Three different Panthers scored 12-points as Pinckneyville improved to 17-1 on the season with a 66-39 win in a contest that was much closer than the final tally.

Pinckneyville outscored S-V 41-16 in the second half, including a 22-4 fourth quarter, as Pinckneyville improved to 2-0 in the BIT.

The Panthers' “dozen cousins” consisted of junior guard JC Moll, senior forward Tyler Rulevish and freshman guard Dawson Yates, all of whom combined for those 36 Pinckneyville points as they eventually pulled away late for the victory.

Alex Howard, a 6-foot senior forward, added 11-points and junior Kyle Luke put in nine.

But those weren't surprising numbers compared to the mistakes made by the Panthers.

Coach Waggoner's club was uncharacteristically careless with the basketball on Wednesday night, committing 24-turnovers.

That us usually a week's worth of miscues for this program.

Despite leading the entire game with just a single tie score at 23-all in the second quarter, Pinckneyville never got into its best rhythm until the second half.

For coach Shane Garner and his Red Devils the first half of success didn't carry over into the second.

Sesser-Valier (1-1, 8-10) was topped by junior guard Lukas Gunter with 15-points and sophomore Tyler Winchester with 11.

Those two carried most of the offense on this night but it turned out to not be enough.

However the Red Devils held their own in the first half as they kept pace.

Pinckneyville collectively tripped over themselves in the first half, stopping its own potential scoring runs with mistakes.

The Panthers jumped out to an early lead and were on the verge of putting this contest to rest in the first half.

But six first quarter turnovers allowed S-V to stick around.

Moll, a 5-foot-10 junior guard, netted six of his points in the first quarter with a 3-pointer and a three-point play.

That “and-one” was the beginning of a 7-2 run and a 14-8 lead at the first horn.

Junior guard Hunter Clark scored on a steal and fast break for a three-point play and Howard cashed in on a lay in which was followed by a transition bucket by Moll and a 21-13 spread with 4:51 left.

Again, the Panthers faltered and allowed the Devils to hang around.

Six turnovers and 2-of-8 from the floor in the second quarter was part of the reason Sesser-Valier trailed by just two at the intermission.

Winchester scored on back-to-back trips up the floor in transition after Panther turnovers.

Gunter also scored on a drive for a three-point play and when sophomore Seth Boles hit two free throws with 1:27 on the clock, the game was even at 23-apiece.

Luke hit a pair of free throws to send the teams to the half at 25-23 Pinckneyville.

“I thought there was a point in the first quarter where we were ready to blow the game open but we relaxed, and foul trouble caused a little bit of that,” said Coach Waggoner. “I said at halftime that you (the players) need to re-apply the pressure. I thought that their guards (S-V) got tired in the third quarter.”

That alarm clock (talking to) sound at halftime must have been eye-opening and ear-clearing as the Panthers responded with a big second half.

Forcing four of Sesser-Valier's eight third quarter turnovers in the first four Sesser-Valier possessions got the Panthers going with an 8-2 move.

Moll scored four of the points and Yates also added a basket in the run.

Pinckneyville also closed the quarter in fine fashion, with Luke hitting a 3-pointer and Yates adding another score.

A Rulevish basket closed the third at 44-35.

The Panthers moved in for the kill in the opening minutes of the fourth with a 10-0 run.

Rulevish scored two of the baskets in succession and Yates added a 3-pointer from the top of the arc.

Both of the Rulevish scores came on assists from Moll after S-V turnovers.

When Rulevish added two free throws, the run was complete at 54-35 with 6:36 left.

Leading 57-39 late in the contest, the Panthers closed it out with a 9-0 run.

Yates added his second 3-pointer and Howard scored in close to the basket before the benches were emptied in the final two minutes.

As it turned out, a staple of the Panthers program over the years (rebounding and defense) helped bail them out in this game where they didn't excel on the offensive end.

Coach Waggoner's team held a 27-13 edge on the glass while shooting the ball better than the opposition.

Pinckneyville was 19-of-38 (50 percent) overall and 4-of-10 from the 3-point line.

“We have had trouble (this year) playing well in a competitive game and backing that up with playing well in the next competitive game,” said Coach Waggoner. “Sesser was really ready to play tonight more than we were. They were focused more in the first half.”

The Red Devils closed out with a 14-of-37 performance overall (37.8 percent) and they also committed 24-turnovers in a game that featured 47-fouls and 54-free throws combined by both teams.

There is no rest for the weary as both clubs head back to action on Friday night in what will turn out to be three games in 24-hours for all involved in the Benton Invitational Tournament.

Pinckneyville will face Meridian on Friday night at 8:30 pm while Sesser-Valier will play the host Rangers at 7 pm.

“This game was a lot closer than the final score. I thought that Sesser-Valier was physical and attacked us,” said Coach Waggoner. “They had us on our heels a little bit.”

1
2
3
4
-
F
Pinckneyville
14
11
19
22
66
Sesser-Valier
08
15
12
04
39
Pinckneyville (66) – Kreger 0 0 0-0 0, Moll 4 1 1-1 12, Kitchen 1 0 0-0 2, Yates 2 2 2-2 12, Clark 1 0 3-3 5, Luke 1 1 4-8 9, Louis 0 0 0-0 0, Rulevich 3 0 6-10 12, Jausel 1 0 1-2 3, Brueggemann 0 0 0-0 0, Houghland 0 0 0-1 0, Howard 2 0 7-8 11.
2FG-15, 3FG-4, FT-24-35, PF-21.

Sesser-Valier (39)
– G. Gunter 0 0 0-0 0, Basso 0 0 0-0 0, J. Gunter 1 0 2-4 4, L. Gunter 6 0 3-5 15, Winchester 4 1 0-0 11, Farmer 2 0 3-4 7, E. Gunter 0 0 0-0 0, Baxter 0 0 0-1 0, Launius 0 0 0-2 0, Fennes 0 0 0-0 0, Boles 0 0 2-3 2, Lance 0 0 0-0 0, Page 0 0 0-0 0.
2FG-13, 3FG-1, FT-10-19, PF-26.

Fouled Out
– Boles, Lance - Sesser-Valier.
Technical Fouls
– None.
MOUNDS MERIDIAN 89, HAMILTON COUNTY 71
The Bobcats evened their BIT mark at 1-1 with the high-scoring win over the Foxes behind 26-points from Ja'Quan Jones and 21-points from Demareon Nicholson.

Coach Erik Griffin saw eight different Bobcats score points as Meridian sits at 8-10 after the victory.

Hamilton County (0-2 BIT, 4-14) got an outstanding performance from 6-foot guard Oakley Dial, as the senior notched 38-points in the loss.

Dial nailed three 3-pointers while cashing in 9-of-11 free throws. Noah Rapp chipped in eight-points for the Foxes.

The Bobcats outscored Hamilton County 56-37 in the second half.

1
2
3
4
-
F
Mounds Meridian
17
16
30
26
89
Hamilton County
20
14
15
22
71
Mounds Meridian (89) – Nesby 1 0 0-0 2, Nichols 0 2 0-2 6, Patrick 2 1 1-2 8, Pratt 0 0 0-0 0, J. Amerson 0 0 0-0 0, Jones 4 3 9-11 26, Lowe 5 0 2-5 10, Nicholson 9 0 3-10 21, Vasser 3 0 0-0 6, Green 1 0 0-0 2, Rayford 0 0 0-0 0, Robertson 1 2 0-0 8, Williams 0 0 0-0 0, D. Amerson 0 0 0-0 0.
2FG-25, 3FG-8, FT-15-30, PF-21.

Hamilton County (71)
– Rapp 2 1 1-3 8, Potter 0 0 0-0 0, Whipple 2 0 2-3 6, Dial 10 3 9-11 38, Rubenacker 2 0 1-2 5, Pike 1 0 2-2 4, Van Abbema 1 0 4-4 6, Neal 0 0 0-0 0, Miller 1 0 0-0 2, E. Rapp 1 0 0-0 2, Ragan 0 0 0-0 0.
2FG-20, 3FG-4, FT-19-25, PF-20.

Fouled Out
– None.
Technical Fouls
– None.

BENTON 54, CARLYLE 53
The Rangers got 25-points from senior Austin Wills, including a game winning free throw wish :02 left as Benton stayed unbeaten in the BIT at 2-0 and 16-1 overall with the one-point victory over the Indians.

Senior Derek Oxford added 10-points for the Rangers and head coach Ron Winemiller as the host fell behind Carlyle early but rallied for the win to help them keep pace with Pinckneyville in the six-team round-robin format.

Gehrig Wynn tossed in seven-points for Benton while Timmy Henson and Parker Williams chipped six-points each.

Carlyle (9-9, 0-2) led 20-10 at the end of the first quarter and were led in scoring by Conner Toennies with 18-points.

Junior forward Tyler Siever added 14-points for coach Andy Palmer's squad while Dru Johnson added 11.

The two teams played a double-overtime game last season in the BIT, won by the Rangers 56-52.

Benton used a 17-6 second quarter to get back in contention and outscored the Indians 16-12 in the fourth quarter as Wills, a 6-foot-2 senior guard, netted 10 of his points in the final frame.

1
2
3
4
-
F
Carlyle
20
06
15
12
53
Benton
10
17
11
16
54
Carlyle (53) – Reinacher 1 0 0-0 2, Huels 1 2 0-2 8, Schatz 0 0 0-0 0, Cox 0 0 0-0 0, Johnson 4 1 0-0 11, Siever 5 1 1-4 14, Becker 0 0 0-0 0, Toennies 7 0 4-6 18.
2FG-18, 3FG-4, FT-5-12, PF-17.

Benton (54) – Thomas 0 0 0-0 0, Henson 3 0 0-0 6, Page 0 0 0-0 0,Wynn 2 1 0-2 7, Wills 3 4 7-7 25, Oxford 1 1 5-6 10, Pankey 0 0 0-0 0, Williams 2 0 2-3 6.
2FG-11, 3FG-6, FT-14-18, PF-14.

Fouled Out – Siever, Becker - Carlyle.
Technical Fouls – None.