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Top-ranked Bulldogs post a win over Benton

By Rick Hayes
Contributing Writer
Posted on 12/13/2017, 3:45 AM

BENTON -- Harrisburg protected its No. 1 ranking in Class 2A while picking up a conference victory to boot, defeating Benton 41-30, in Rich Herrin Gym on Tuesday.

The unbeaten Lady Bulldogs used a 10-0 second quarter to break the game open after leading by five points after the first quarter.

The Rangerettes tried to slow the pace down in the early going, even after Harrisburg jumped out to a 5-0 lead.

The game was tied just once, at 5, before the Lady 'Dogs took the 12-7 lead into the second period.

"They kind of held the ball a little bit to start the game. We had to adjust and I thought they did a good job of running their offense and I thought we did a good job of not breaking down," said Harrisburg coach Jake Stewart.

During the 10-0 run in the second quarter, junior forward Karsyn Davis scored the first and final baskets while senior guard Jessica Hopson drove down the lane for a pair of uncontested layups.

Davis and 6-2 senior center Matty Hawkins led Harrisburg with nine points each.

Benton did not have a field goal in the second quarter.

"We just made shots. This is always a tough place for us to shoot. I thought we shot better tonight than we have in the past," Stewart said of the run.

Harrisburg led 22-7 at halftime and scored the first seven points of the third quarter -- capping a 19-0 run -- to jump out to a 31-7 advantage.

Benton's Eb Casey finally broke the ice for the Rangerettes, hitting a trey at the 3:52 mark.

Casey led the Rangerettes, 2-6, with seven points. Zoe Carlton and Macie Cockrum added five points each.

The Lady Bulldogs, 10-0, led by as many as 22 points near the end of the third quarter.

"They're ranked No. 1 in the state for a reason," said Benton coach Andy Sloan. "They have a lot of weapons. For us to be successful, I thought we needed to slow the pace of the game down.

"We did that a little bit. We got down early and that forced us to play a little faster. And when shots don't fall, it makes it difficult."

On Saturday, Nashville defeated the Rangerettes 53-28 in Benton.

Trailing by eight at halftime, the Rangerettes were outscored 16-5 in the third quarter, leading to a 39-20 deficit. The Hornettes led by as many as 27 points in the fourth quarter.

No Benton player scored in double figures.

Miller led the Rangerettes with eight points and Wallace added six.

The Rangerettes were 8-of-25 from the field for a shooting output of 32 percent.

The Rangerettes are set to go on the road this week. First they go to West Frankfort on Thursday. Then, they play at Sesser next Wednesday. When the return home, they host the Rangerette Classic Dec. 27-29.