The Benton Grade School 5-8 Junior Rangers wrapped up regular-season competition in style Monday night, scoring a sweep against Mt. Vernon on 8th-Grade Night in the BGS gymnasium.
Benton tipped off with a 41-35 triumph over the Junior Rams in the seventh-grade game, preceding a 51-37 victory by the eighth-grade Rangers.
Benton’s varsity team opens play in the Hamilton County Class L Regional at 5:30 p.m. Thursday, Jan. 31, in McLeansboro, taking on West Frankfort. HamCo plays Johnston City at 7 p.m., and Thursday’s winners play for the regional championship at 10 a.m. Saturday, Feb. 2, in McLeansboro.
Against Mt. Vernon, the seventh-grade Rangers led throughout, building leads of 13-6 after one quarter, 20-13 at halftime and 31-21 going into the fourth.
Blane Pankey led a balanced scoring effort with 11 points, followed by Brett Bonenberger, nine; Hamilton Page, seven; Drew Owens, six; Parker Williams, five; and Eldon Owens, three. Mason Wills also saw action for Benton.
In the varsity contest, the Rangers trailed 15-7 after one period and 25-17 at halftime. Benton pulled ahead 35-34 by the end of three quarters, however, and outscored Mt. Vernon 16-3 in the final period for the victory.
Derek Oxford pumped in 30 points for Benton, which got 16 points from Austin Wills. Tyson Houghland added three points and Pankey two, with Oliver Davis, Jordan Richey, Scott Mosley, Page and Jourdan Garbo also contributing to the victory.
CARTERVILLE — Brett Bonenberger made the winning layup as the seventh-grade Rangers defeated Carterville 21-20 last Thursday — part of an impressive sweep by the BGS 5-8 boys’ basketball teams, as Benton prevailed 45-42 in the eighth-grade game.
The JV Rangers were down 7-2 after one quarter but went ahead 13-11 by halftime. Teams were tied 17-17 after three.
Gehrig Wynn scored eight points for the Benton JV squad, which got six points from Bonenberger, three from Blane Pankey and two from Hamilton Page. Bonenberger also had a team-leading eight rebounds to go with two steals and an assist.
Page had three rebounds, four steals and an assist, with Pankey grabbing two steals. Parker Williams chipped in two rebounds, two steals and a team-high three assists, and Drew Owens grabbed a rebound. Eldon Owens and Mason Wills also contributed to the victory.
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The varsity game also was a back-and-forth contest, with Benton going ahead 16-10 by the end of the first quarter but trailing 21-20 at the half. The Rangers took a 29-28 lead into the final period.
Derek Oxford scored 24 points to pace the Rangers, who got 12 from Tyson Houghland. Pankey scored four points and Austin Wills three.
Houghland’s eight rebounds led Benton, which got five apiece from Oxford and Willis. Oliver Davis had a team-high three assists; Houghland had one.
Wills chipped in two steals and Oxford one.
Wynn, Jordan Richey and Page also saw action for Benton.