The end result turned out favorably for the Benton girls basketball team Thursday in a conference matchup in Murphysboro.
But the Rangerettes are fortunate that basketball games are four quarters instead of three.
Benton trailed for most of the first three quarters, but it finished the game on a 17-1 run and beat Murphysboro, 39-26, to clinch at least a share of the SIRR Ohio Division title.
"This is awesome, and some people asked me how many games we'd win at the beginning of the year, and I thought maybe 10 or 12," said Benton coach Andy Sloan. "Here we are at 20, and we've got at least a share of the conference, which hasn't been done since these kids were freshmen. It's an awesome feeling, and we hope we can get on a roll here and win a few more."
The sign of a good team is being able to win despite not playing particularly well. That's what happened with the Rangerettes Thursday evening.
Murphysboro led for almost all of the first 26 minutes of game time. The Red Devils never held a lead of more than seven points, and Benton helped out with an atrocious performance at the free-throw line.
The Rangerettes finished the game just 11-for-26 from the charity stripe, which is 42 percent. But Benton (21-8, 8-1) dominated the final six minutes of the contest.
"There is no excuse to miss free throws or turn the ball over as much as we did, but it's a tribute to our kids for continuing to battle," Sloan said. "They had to play through some adversity, and they have learned to do that pretty well."
After a basket from Emerald Hardimon, Murphysboro took a 25-22 edge with 6:20 left in the game. That's when Benton took over.
Zoe Carlton started the huge run with a basket, and Lacey Jerkins scored in transition to give Benton a 29-26 lead with 4:22 left. Mady Wallace sliced through the Murphysboro defense for a bucket, and the Rangerettes never looked back.
Addisyn Miller sank two free throws, and Ember Milby converted a three-point play off a nice feed from Wallace to put the contest out of reach.
"This means a lot, especially since we haven't done it since I was a freshman," said Milby, a senior. "It's really nice to get a good team win. This season we've been pretty good about playing as a team instead of focusing on ourselves. We knew how to finish when it counted."
Hardimon led all scorers with 14 points for Murphysboro. Carlton paced Benton with 12 points, Miller added nine, and Milby tallied eight.
On Saturday, Benton picked up its 21st victory of the season at the Rich Herrin Shootout. The Rangerettes defeated Paducah St. Mary, 54-8.
Benton can earn the SIRR Ohio Division crown outright if it can beat Massac County at home Thursday.