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The Daily Register - Harrisburg, IL
  • Boys Basketball: Bulldogs stay perfect in survivor weekend

  • Harrisburg improves to 16-0 with wins over West Frankfort & Benton
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  • Out wit. Out play. Out last.
    Yes, the Harrisburg boys' basketball team had to play a little game of Survivor this weekend as they were put to the test against West Frankfort (76-54) and Benton (53-39).
    In the end, Harrisburg stayed perfect, improved to 16-0 on the season, forcing Bulldog head coach Randy Smithpeters to point out how hard it is to stay on the "razors edge."
    "It's hard to stay on the that razors edge for 16 games and hopefully this is a lesson that we learned and were able to still get a win," Smithpeters said after his team went on a 10-1 run in the fourth quarter to pull away from the Rangers Saturday night after heading into the last eight minutes up just three points.
    Scoring was sometimes difficult for the Bulldogs on the Franklin County swing as they had to comeback in both games to beat the Redbirds and Rangers.
    "The shot didn't go in the hole early," Smithpeters said in the win against Benton. "We went inside more in the second half and got more shots out of the offense. You could almost compare it to the Herrin game, where the ball just doesn't go in the hole. You come out in the second half and make some adjustments and get some different type shots, higher percentage type shots and roll through."
    Harrisburg put five players in double figures in the win against West Frankfort, with Tyler Smithpeters and Ryne Roper each dropping 14.
    Capel Henshaw (15) and Eli Taborn-Scott (13) led the charge in the win over Benton.
    "We survived one of the problems that we wanted to avoid and that was a bad start," Smithpeters said. "It's really hard to sit here 16-0, playing a team you played just a few days ago and had some success and it's really a challenge to come out with the intensity and put the pressure on yourself to come out and play the way you need to play."
    In Friday night's win, Max Morris Gymnasium was just another stop during the Harrisburg Bulldogs' special season .
    Harrisburg won its 15th-straight game with a 76-54 rout of the Redbirds in Southern Illinois River-to-River Ohio Division play in West Frankfort.
    The Bulldogs (16-0), which also won at Benton Saturday, used an 18-0 run between the first and second quarters to put away the Redbirds, who jumped out to a quick 10-4 lead.
    This was the second-straight game between the two teams where West Frankfort (3-9, 0-4) led early but couldn't keep up with the state-ranked Bulldogs down the stretch. The Redbirds led after one quarter at the Eldorado Holiday Tournament last week, before eventually losing as well.
    "I thought we played hard, but Harrisburg is a special team," West Frankfort coach Dan Dewerff. "They haven't lost yet and they are the second-ranked team in the state. They have three guys out there who have been starting since they were freshmen. They have a lot of talent."
    Page 2 of 5 - Early on, West Frankfort looked just as talented. The Redbirds' Trenton Easley got West Frankfort on the board when he drew a foul on Harrisburg's Eli Taborn-Scott and hit two free-throws to give West Frankfort an early 2-0 lead.
    After Taborn-Scott tied the game at 2-2, West Frankfort's Gage Williams answered right back to give the Redbirds a 4-2 advantage.
    Taborn-Scott scored again to tie the game at 4-4, but West Frankfort answered in a big way. The Redbirds scored the next six points on buckets from Braxston Koehl, Zach Fort and Easley to go ahead, 10-4.
    Harrisburg then missed a 3-pointer and turned the ball over on its next possession, forcing Bulldogs coach Randy Smithpeters to call a timeout with 4:01 remaining in the first quarter.
    Harrisburg then stormed out of the timeout and scored the next 18 points. After Taborn-Scott drew a foul and missed both free-throws, the Bulldogs got the rebound and found Dakota Upchurch for a layup that made it 10-6.
    Harrisburg then put on a press that frustrated the Redbirds the rest of the night.
    Benton dropped to 5-10 overall and 2-3 in the SIRR Ohio after losing 53-39 to undefeated and state-ranked Harrisburg (16-0, 5-0) on Saturday.
    Rangers coach Ron Winemiller was ecstatic with his team's play against the Bulldogs, who led by just three points after three quarters but went on a 10-1 run to start the final frame.
    "It was a great Ohio Division game," Winemiller said. "The last couple of years we've had great games with Harrisburg and tonight was no exception. The bottom line is that was great effort for 32 sustained minutes and it was the first time in a long time that we've had that kind of effort as a group.
    "There were kids laying on the floor exhausted in the locker room after the game and I told them that's how it should be every game. I'm very, very pleased with the effort."
    Capel Henshaw's 3-pointer at the halftime buzzer gave the Bulldogs a seven-point lead at the break. The Rangers outscored Harrisburg in the third quarter, 13-9.
    Dakota Upchurch scored six points and Bahari Amaya had a big 3-pointer in the fourth quarter to help the Bulldogs pull away from the upset-minded Rangers.
    "We were right there," Winemiller said. "The final score says a 13-point margin but it was close most of the way. We had our opportunities."
    Michael Dann can be reached at hbgsports@dailyregister. com Follow Michael Dann on Twitter @spydieshooter.
    Riley Swinford contributed to this article.
    Harrisburg 76
    West Frankfort 54
    Harrisburg
    Name         FG     FT     R     F     Pts
    Page 3 of 5 - Smithpeters         5-9     4-7     2     2     14
    Henshaw         5-10     0-0     10     1     10
    Roper         5-6     0-0     3     0     14
    Scott         6-8     0-2     4     1     12
    Upchurch         5-8     1-2     4     1     11
    Amaya         1-2     0-0     0     1     2
    Bjornsson         2-3     0-0     1     2     4
    Younger         1-2    1-2     0     0     3
    Bartok         1-2     0-0     0     1     2
    Oglesby         0-0     0-0     3     0     0
    Batts         0-0     0-0     1     0     0
    Hartley         0-0     0-0     0     1     0
    Goldman         0-0     0-0     2     0     0
    Simerly         2-2     0-0     2     0     4
    Houston         0-0     0-0     0     0     0
    Totals:         33-54     6-13     30     12     76
    West Frankfort
    Name         FG     FT     R     F     Pts
    Easley         4-9     5-5     0     2     14
    Koehl         3-5     0-0     1     0     7
    Fort         3-4     0-0     3     2     7
    Williams         5-8     1-2     3     2     11
    Page 4 of 5 - Maller         0-2     1-2     0     0     1
    Dunning         3-6     1-1     3     1     8
    Keller         1-4     0-0     1     2     2
    Sisk         1-2     2-2     1     1     4
    Bartoni         0-0     2-2     1     0     2
    Easton         0-0     0-0     0     1     0
    Totals         19-40     12-14     13     10     54
    3-pt FG: Harrisburg 4-14 (Roper), West Frankfort 3-7 (Koehl, Fort, Dunning). Turnovers: Harrisburg 15, West Frankfort 18.
    Harrisburg         16   46  63  76
    West Frankfort          10   25  41  54
    Harrisburg 53
    Benton 39
    Harrisburg
    Name         FG     FT     R     F     Pts
    Smithpeters         3-7     1-4     2     4     7
    Henshaw         6-10     1-2     9     0     15
    Roper         1-7     0-0     4     1     3
    Scott         6-9     1-2     4     2     13
    Upchurch         3-4     0-3     3     2     6
    Bjornsson         1-1     0-0     1     0     2
    Amaya         2-5     1-2     4     0     7
    Younger         0-0     0-0     0     0     0
    Totals         22-42     4-13     27     9     53
    Benton
    Name         FG     FT     R     F     Pts
    Rock         1-4     0-0     3     2     2
    Page 5 of 5 - Owens         0-0     0-0     0     0     0
    Buntin         2-5     0-0     3     0     4
    Higgins         5-14     0-1     6     1     11
    Ward         0-1     0-0     0     2     0
    Forby         2-6     1-2     3     2     5
    Sheeks         7-14     2-2     5     2     16
    Myers         0-0     0-0     2     3     0
    Totals         17-44     3-5     22     12     39
    3-pt FG: Harrisburg 5-12 (Henshaw 2, Amaya 2, Roper), Benton 1-7 (Higgins). Turnovers: Harrisburg 12, Benton 13.
    Harrisburg         09  28  37  53
    Benton         09  21  34  39
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