Benton won three of four games in the Nashville Thanksgiving Basketball Tournament this past week, including a dramatic one-point victory over Pinckneyville in the third-place contest.
Senior guard Lacey Jerkins scored the final seven points for the Rangerettes in their 47-46 come-from-behind victory over the Lady Panthers.
Trailing by 10 points early in the fourth quarter, Benton began to rally in the final two minutes. Jerkins cut a five-point deficit to 45-42 and then tied it up with a three-ball with 90 seconds remaining.
A free throw at the one-minute mark gave Pinckneyville a 46-45 lead. Jerkins then nailed a shot from the wing with 25 seconds remaining for the game-winner. After calling a timeout with 16 seconds left, the Lady Panthers still had a chance to win, however, two shot attempts were missed.
Benton finished 3-1 in the tournament -- its only loss coming at the hands of the host team in a Saturday morning contest. Nashville outscored the Rangerettes 12-2 in the final quarter for a 30-14 victory. The Rangerettes are 4-1 overall.
Benton's offense was sluggish in the opening half, held scoreless in the opening quarter and trailing 11-6 at the half. The Hornettes maintained an 18-12 lead heading into the final period.
Benton shot 5-of-27 for the game and no player scored in double figures. Addisyn Miller had five points, Mady Wallace four, Macie Cockrum two, Zoe Carlton two and Ember Milby one.
"Give Nashville a lot of credit. They had a good scout on us. They snuffed out our sets. When that happens, you have to make adjustments out there on the floor. Our kids had a hard time doing that," said Benton coach Andy Sloan. "We got some looks we didn't make. We're not made to play too fast so maybe we played a little too much to their pace."
Nashville's Libby Ahlers led the Hornettes with 14 points, including a 10-of-10 performance from the charity stripe. Benton was 3-of-4 from the line. Nashville improved to 3-0 and played Collinsville in the championship game.
"If we can hold a team to 30 points every game, I like our chances. Our defense did really well and we rebounded well outside a possession or two. Overall, we did a good job defensively," Sloan said.
In the tournament opener, Benton defeated Mt. Vernon, 43-33. Leading by four points at the half, the Rangerettes got the advantage up to eight by the end of the third quarter and maintained an 8- to-10 point lead to the final horn.
Miller led the Rangerettes with 12 points, including three treys. Jerkins contributed eight points and Milby and Wallace six each.
Benton had no trouble with Mascoutah in the second contest, defeating the Lady Indians, 50-34.
Benton jumped out to a 14-5 first-quarter lead and was up 25-15 at halftime. The Rangerettes outscored the Indians 18-7 in the third quarter to put the game away.
Carlton led the Rangerettes with 13 points. Miller dropped in 10 and freshman Jacey Eubanks and Wallace added eight points each.
Two conference games were scheduled this week. The Rangerettes traveled to Herrin on Tuesday and will host Murphysboro on Thursday.