The Benton Rangers’ Freshman squad hosted conference foes, the Herrin Tigers on Monday night. They faced off in the Rich Herrin Gymnasium in a battle to the final buzzer, but the home team suffered a 49-43 loss to the Tigers.
The visitors opened the game strong, taking an early 4-0 lead from which the Rangers were only once able to come back from. They came within one in the first when Brad Hammond drained his first of five 3-pointers of the night. His second came later on in the quarter to keep his team nipping at the Tigers heels 10-8 with just a few minutes left in the quarter.
The Tigers took a 14-8 lead going into the second where the Rangers quickly cut the lead in half with a 3-point bucket by Brady Gischer. Teammate Blake Stewart followed him up with three-straight field goals, the third of which gave the Rangers the lead for the first time (17-16).
But the Tigers were quick to snag back the lead and they did not give it back again. The Rangers continued to fight, though, and before halftime Grant Gordon sunk a pair of free throws to keep his team down by only three (22-19).
The third quarter was the highest scoring quarter of the game for both teams. The Tigers attempted to widen their point gap with 17 points, but the Rangers continued their charge and tried desperately to get back in the lead with 18 points.
Hammond started the scoring for his team with his third 3-pointer. Then, Gage Harmon got on the board with a pair of free throws. Other point-scorers for the Rangers were Gischer, Gordon and Stewart.
Midway through the quarter, Hammond drained his fourth trey, and his final one came at the buzzer signaling the end of the third.
In the final quarter, the scoring was significantly lower for both teams. The Tigers scored 10 points while the home team only sunk six. Jared Shaw got on the board for the Rangers while Harmon sunk another pair of free throws and Hammond rounded out the scoring late in the quarter.
Unfortunately it was not enough and the solid defense of the Tigers forced several turnovers and missed shots by the Rangers.