In a battle of size and strength versus speed and quickness, size and strength won out Saturday night as the Eldorado Eagles held off a late Cairo charge to defeat the Pilots, 72-56.
Cairo had pulled to within one point of the Eagles in the fourth period at 49-48 before Eldorado went on a 23-8 run to close out the game.
With the win, the Eagles captured their first West Frankfort Mid-Winter Classic in more than a decade and remain unbeaten at 21-0.
All-Tournament selection Braden Attebury may have set a school record, attempting 28 free throws in the contest, making 19 in the process. Twenty-two of those attempts came in the second half. The senior finished with 23 points to pace the offense.
Fellow All-Tourney selection, Jacob Traxler, followed with 18 points with six field goals and 6-of-7 shooting from the free-throw line. Ray May was also in double digits with 10 points and John Meredith checked in with nine. Joe Mayberry scored seven for Eldorado, while Aiden Whitlock finished with four points and Kale Oglesby tossed in a free throw.
"It's hard to express in words how I feel about these guys," said Eagles head coach Josh Bradley. "After Marion beat us by three last year in the championship game, this (tournament) is really one we wanted. We hadn't won one in several years."
Bradley added that Attebury's free-throw festival could indeed be a school record.
"I challenged Braden to get on the boards, particularly the offensive boards, and he did," Bradley said.
Tournament MVP Damarius Taylor of Cairo led the Pilots with 21 points before fouling out at the 5:03 mark of the fourth period.
Eldorado led at each quarter break: 11-10, 26-25 and 49-44.
Eldorado 57, Anna-Jonesboro 52
Attebury continued his hot shooting as he heated up for 24 points in Saturday morning's 57-52 romp over Anna-Jonesboro. The game was originally slated for Monday, but had to be postponed due to weather.
In addition to Attebury's 24, Traxler reached double figures, netting 11 for the Eagles.
May scored seven points, while Mayberry chipped in with six points off the bench. Meredith finished with five, while Oglesby and Ladayyea Shewmaker each had two points.
Jake Parr, who represented the Wildcats on the All-Tournament Team scored a team-high 11 points for A-J.
Eldorado 56, West Frankfort 41
The Eagles put three players in double figures as Traxler had a team-high 15, while Attebury flipped in 14 points and May tacked on 10 in Eldorado's 56-41 win over West Frankfort Friday night.
Meredith netted seven, while Oglesby finished with five. Mayberry scored four and Whitlock tossed in a free throw.
Eldorado's lone game on the docket this week is a home game with Hamilton County Friday night at Duff-Kingston Gymnasium.