Hoping to bounce back from their disappointing loss to their SIRR foes the West Frankfort Redbirds, the Benton Rangerettes (14-11, 4-4) hosted another SIRR opponent Thursday night.
The Harrisburg Bulldogs visited the Rich Herrin Gym to earn their own SIRR conference victory.
With hard work and determination, the Rangerettes put away the Bulldogs by a score of 61-42.
The visiting Bulldogs came out firing on all pistons and started the scoring on a 4-point run with help from senior Toni Crisp (six points) and junior Lotte Miller (seven points). The Rangerettes struggled to respond, getting on the scoreboard midway through the first quarter with a free throw by Ally Gischer (13 points).
"We knew it would be tough, it"s always tough to play here," said Jake Stewart, Lady Bulldogs" coach. "Benton is a really good team… their record doesn"t tell how good they are so we knew it wouldn"t be easy."
On the court, the home team kicked it up a notch and Eb Casey (14 points) sunk her first of four 3-pointers in the game to bring her team to within one point (5-4).
The Bulldogs responded with their own 3-pointer from Jessica Hopson (nine points). The home team continued to charge, though and knotted the game at 8 while back-to-back jumpers by Gischer and Alexis Abney (two points).
Moments later, the Rangerettes took the lead with a jumper by Ember Milby (nine points) and another trey by Casey.
But the Bulldogs would not go down easily and sophomore Karsyn Davis (eight points) drained her one 3-pointer to knot the score again at 13. Casey quickly put her team back on top with a last minute trey and then Kaylee Pedigo (seven points) added another jumper before the buzzer to put the home team up by a score of 18-13 going into the second quarter.
Casey opened the scoring in the second for the Rangerettes with her fourth 3-pointer. Then, Pedigo made a trip to the free throw line twice and drained three of her four shots.
Still needing to get on the board, Bulldogs" Hopson tallied back-to-back 3-pointers to cut away at the home team"s lead (24-19).
Lydia Miller (two points) added points for the Bulldogs at the free throw line and then Davis added a solo free throw to end the scoring for the visiting team in the first half.
The Rangerettes" responded with Milby"s first trey of the game to keep their wide lead of 29-22 going into halftime.
Back on the court, the Bulldogs started another point streak. They scored four points before Milby posted her second 3-pointer of the night to keep her team up by six points (32-26).
Her teammates Pedigo and Zoe Carlton (nine points) added a jumper each to extend the Rangerettes" lead even further.
The Bulldogs" Matty Hawkins (seven points) added points for her team at the free throw line and then her teammate Davis added her second trey to keep up with the home team.
Going into the final quarter, the Rangerettes brought a 6-point lead (41-35), but did not lose their focus. The Bulldogs needed to work to get back into the game.
Starting the scoring was Gischer for the home team who had been scoreless since the first quarter. Moments later, she added another jumper to bring her team"s lead up to 10 points (45-35). She added one more for good measure, but the Bulldogs were finally able to get on the board with help from a layup by Lotte Miller.
But the home team continued to add points and the visitors were not able to catch up. The Rangerettes left their home court with another SIRR victory over the Bulldogs.
"We didn"t play well defensively," said Stewart. "We didn"t play hard enough… we let their shooters get away and they shot a lot so we need to work on that."