BENTON -- Senior guard Cade Thomas scored 13 straight points in the first 9 ½ minutes of the second half in leading Benton to a 47-27 Ohio Division River to River Conference victory over Herrin on Friday at Rich Herrin Gym.
With the Rangers leading 26-19 at the half, Thomas went on his personal offensive splurge, pushing Benton's lead up to 38-25 with 6 ½ minutes left in the third quarter. Gehrig Wynn added a pair of free throws and Thomas hit two free throws on the one-and-bonus to put the game away at 42-26 with just over five minutes to play.
"Cade played really well. He took what the defense gave him. They were taking Hamilton (Page) away from us a little bit with a couple of guys which opened up some opportunities for Cade and he made the most of it down the stretch," said Benton coach Ron Winemiller.
Thomas finished with a game-high 22 points, including 7-of-10 from the charity stripe and three long balls. Wynn contributed 11 points for Benton, now 5-1.
"I thought we did a good job of taking advantage of what they were giving us. As a result, we were able to get inside and get some easy shots around the rim and make some free throws down the stretch," Winemiller added.
Meanwhile, Herrin suffered a case of shooting blahs. The Tigers made just nine field goals in the contest and were just shut out in the final quarter. The Tigers were 9-of-49 from the field for a lackluster 18 percent.
"We sometimes get a little stagnant on offense and we've got to have some guys to step up and make shots," said Herrin coach and BCHS grad Saylor Shurtz. "We've got to make more than two field goals in the second half or we're not going to be in the ball game with a lot of teams."
Sophomore guard Brandon Anthony was the only player in double figures for the Tigers, 2-5, with 13 points.
Despite getting on the one-and-bonus late in the third quarter, the Tigers were 4-of-14 from the free throw line in the second half and 7-of-18 for the contest.
"We had trouble putting the ball in the bucket tonight," Shurtz understated. "You're going to have those nights when stuff like this happens. It was tough to get some momentum when you can't hit your free throws."
The teams were knotted at 12-all after the first quarter. Wynn hit a pair of treys and Mason Morris added a 3-ball to give Benton a 21-12 lead midway through the second quarter.
The Rangers held their seven point lead heading into the second half and Thomas' subsequent offensive explosion.
"It's good to play at home and to play defensively like we did shows me that's the kind of team we're going to have to be to win games," Winemiller concluded.
Continuing their 2017-18 season, Benton was scheduled to play at Carmi on Tuesday and will host West Frankfort on Friday.