What a difference a month can make.
After getting pummeled by 16 points during the opening week of the season by host Nashville during its annual Thanksgiving tournament, the Benton Rangerettes got some revenge Saturday at Rich Herrin Gym.
A good start and a strong finish from the charity stripe resulted in a 43-33 Rangerettes victory during a girls-boys JV and varsity quadruple header. Benton's JV team was also victorious.
Leading by 12 points, 34-22, going into the final quarter, the Rangerettes were 9-of-10 from the free throw line and managed to hang on to the win, despite not scoring a field goal.
"I had no clue (we didn't have a field goal)," said Benton coach Andy Sloan. "We shot them (free throws) pretty good there at the end. That's something our kids have struggled with and they stepped up and knocked them down. I guess if you shoot them that well you don't need too many field goals."
Benton held a 25-15 halftime lead. A 7-0 run at the end of the third quarter gave the Rangerettes their largest lead of 34-22. The Rangerettes trailed just once, 10-9, late in the opening quarter.
Nashville scored the first seven points of the final quarter to cut the deficit to five points. However, when Zoe Carlton was fouled at the 4:50 mark, the Rangerettes were in the bonus and managed to hold off a Hornettes rally.
"When they made that run at us, I was definitely getting uncomfortable," Sloan admitted. "They were taking away so much of our stuff. They're just so good with their man defense. Luckily, we were able to attack the lane and get to the free throw line. That was the difference in the ball game. The first time we played them we kind of stood around and they got up and guarded us and we didn't get to the line."
Mady Wallace and Addisyn Miller shared high-point scoring honors for Benton with 11 points each. Carlton contributed six and Ember Milby and Lacey Jerkins five points each.
Libby Ahlers led Nashville, 8-4, with 12 points.
Jerkins gave the Rangerettes some needed energy off the bench when Nashville was pressuring Benton's backcourt.
"She's a kid that could start for us. The energy she brings off the bench not only helps us offensively, but defensively as well. To bring that in the game is awesome. She's a kid that hasn't been with us for two years and she's a difference maker and playing really, really well," Sloan said.
Benton got a conference win Thursday at home with a 59-29 victory over rival West Frankfort.
Three players scored in double figures, led by Miller's 17 points. Wallace poured in 12 and Jerkins added 10.
Benton, 8-3 overall and 3-1 in the conference, will host Sesser-Valier in a rare Wednesday night game this evening. The Rangerettes will then be off until the Rangerette Classic which begins Dec. 27.