Benton placed themselves in a good position to compete for a conference title Thursday, upsetting state-ranked Harrisburg, 39-32.
It was the first conference loss for the Lady Bulldogs. Benton improved to 7-1 while the Lady Bulldogs are 6-1. Harrisburg still has three conference games to play while the Rangerettes will travel to Murphysboro and host Massac County.
The Lady Bulldogs fell to 23-5 overall while the Rangerettes need just one more win (19-8) to reach the 20-win plateau.
"We knew to even have a chance (at the conference) we had to win this one," said Benton coach Andy Sloan. "They're probably not going to get beat, which is no disrespect for anyone else. We had a game plan, we guarded very well and that's what we have to hang our hat on because offensively it's not always there. We struggled at times tonight but our defense kept us in the ball game."
Harrisburg scored the first six points of the final quarter to take a 28-25 lead after trailing 25-22 at the end of the third quarter. However, the Rangerettes would go on a 9-0 run midway through the quarter -- culminated by a short jumper in the lane from Jacey Eubanks to take a 34-28 lead with 1:45 remaining.
The Rangerettes, who were 12-of-15 from the free throw line, put the game away at the charity stripe. Ember Milby hit three of four attempts and Mady Wallace hit two more following a technical foul with 22 seconds left for Benton's largest lead of 39-30.
Wallace led the Rangerettes with 17 points, including 10 in the second half. Ivy Brown and Summer Sanders scored six points each for Harrisburg.
Defensively, the Rangerettes took back-to-back charges late in the contest to take away potential offensive threats by the Lady Bulldogs.
"That's something we talk about. I told them a while back I would give them a steak dinner if they would take a charge. I think I'm going to have to get a second job now," Sloan cracked. "I thought our ability to give up our body and get in front of the basketball was huge."
Harrisburg coach Jake Stewart didn't complain about the officiating, but noted his team has been called for a charge just once this season.
"The difference is that we made plays with about three or four minutes to go at our place and tonight they made the plays," Stewart said. "I thought we did a good job of fighting through some foul trouble tonight. We stayed with them, they got loose at the end and executed when they had to."
The Lady Bulldogs defeated Benton, 49-37, earlier in the season at Harrisburg.
Hamilton County 65, Eldorado 51
Eldorado, who has excelled at the free throw line as of late, shot 70 percent (17-for-24) but it wasn't enough as Hamilton County edged the Eagles 65-51 Thursday night in Black Diamond Conference action.
Lilly Mosby led Eldorado with a team-high 16 points, while Lexie Mitchell tossed in 11 to also finish in double figures.
Jade Hise added eight points, while Emma Wargel and Lacey Hobbs both scored six points. Paige Munds finished with four points.
Galatia-Thompsonville 42, Dongola 20
Galatia-Thompsonville closed out its regular season with a 42-20 win over Dongola Thursday night.
Kate Bond had a game-high 16 points with three rebounds and seven steals.
Bailey Crisp netted nine points in the win, while Jaedyn Beers finished with five points. Destiny Taylor tacked on four points, while Josie Martin, Maddie McFarland, Chloe Mays and Hayley Brown all tossed in two points.
The Galatia-Thompsonville basketball team took third place in the Elverado tournament, going 3-1 with a trio of victories over Shawnee, Cobden and Elverado and the lone loss coming to Woodlawn.
The Bearcats closed out the tournament with a 40-31 win over the host team, where Beers had a team-high 16 points and Bond finished with 14 points to also reach double figures.
Crisp scored six points for G-T, while Martin and McFarland both had two points.
Beers, Crisp and Bond were each named to the All-Tournament Team.
G-T is now 10-11 on the season and will played Pope County Monday in the Greater Egyptian Conference Tournament at Hardin County High School.