A few days after defeating Vienna on a buzzer-beater, the West Frankfort Redbirds were locked in another hard-fought game Wednesday against Eldorado.
It took an extra session to get the job done this time as the Redbirds defeated the Eagles 61-55 in overtime. Four FCHS players scored in double figures. Braxston Koehl led the way with 15 points, while Trenton Easley had 14 and Gage Williams and Drew Mahler each chipped in 10.
"This wasn't a great win, but we'll take it," Redbirds head coach Dan Dewerff said. "We built up a good lead in the second half but couldn't hang on and it unfortunately took overtime for us to pull this game out.”
Both teams got off to a slow start, but two three-pointers by Koehl gave FCHS a 11-9 lead at the end of the first frame.
In the second quarter, Eldorado took the lead on the Redbirds thanks to some driving layups. However, FCHS was able to close the gap to two points at the break with a three-point play by Christian Dunning and back-to-back layups by Mahler.
In the second half, the Redbirds took control again. Two layups by Mahler and three-pointers from Koehl and Easley helped FCHS build up a 41-32 lead heading into the fourth quarter.
It appeared as if the Redbirds would coast to victory as Koehl hit a three-point play and Easley scored two layups, but Eldorado was continuously able to drive the lane for baskets and hit their free throws. Down by three with under a minute to play, the Eagles drilled a three-pointer to tie the game at 52-52. FCHS had a chance to win the game at the buzzer, but Easley's floater bounced off the rim twice.
In the extra session, Koehl got things started with an uncontested driving layup and the Redbirds were able to control the boards and keep Eldorado off the scoreboard. FCHS then hit their free throws down the stretch and emerged with their second victory of the Mid-Winter Classic.
Tyler Deaton and Joel Boulds led Eldorado with 17 points a piece.
Justin Wiseman scored seven points, while Dylan Lawrence chipped in with six points. Brennan Unthank finished with four points and Richard Graceffa tacked on three points.
Eldorado will play tonight (Thursday) against Vienna at 9 p.m.