MCDONALD'S SWNEWS4U.COM GAME OF THE WEEK (Dec. 3–10)
BOYS BASKETBALL: Benton 61, River Ridge (Ill.) 55, 3 OT
ELIZABETH, ILL. — Benton crossed the state border for back-to-back games last week and came away with a split decision after posting a thrilling three-overtime victory over River Ridge (Ill.) on Tuesday, Dec. 3, and then dropping a hard-fought clash at Scales Mound on Thursday, Dec. 5.
Four regulation quarters and two overtime periods weren’t enough to decide Tuesday’s game in Elizabeth, Ill., but Benton (1–2) outscored the host Wildcats, 9-6 in the third OT session to pull out an exciting 78-75 victory.
“The game came down to being tough. Some kids logged quite a few minutes and still had the mental toughness to make plays down the stretch. Free throw shooting was also a key. We shot fairly well from the line, which is necessary if you want to win a close ball game,” said Zephyrs head coach David Neis. “I was happy to get the W. It wasn’t pretty but the kids played hard. They earned it. I’m really competitive and I hate to lose. I think any time we come away with a W, it’s positive, even if we play poorly. We need to keep striving to be great.”
The Zephyrs went 19-for-29 from the foul line on the night, including a 16-for-22 performance in the fourth quarter and OT periods.
Junior guard Dominic Cummins scored nine of his game-high 28 points during the overtime periods to lead Benton, which trailed at halftime 33-28. Cummins sank one of his four treys in OT, and went 6-for-8 from the foul line to help seal the win.
Seniors Holden Murphy and Will Lawrence finished with 17 points apiece for the Zephyrs, while junior Nick Brant tallied eight points and senior Tyler Walton added six in the winning effort.
Tayden Patterson led the Wildcats with 25 points. Andrew Merkle added 16 and Bryton Engle netted 14 for the ‘Cats.
Benton 61, River Ridge (Ill.) 55
(Tuesday, Dec. 3 @ Elizabeth, Ill.)
Benton… 13 15 13 15 5 8 9 – 78
RR (Ill.).. 11 22 10 13 5 8 6 – 75
Benton – Tyler Walton 6, Caleb O’Neill 2, Holden Murphy 17, Will Lawrence 17, Nick Brant 8, Dominick Cummins 28. Totals – 26 19-29 78.
RR Ill. – Merkle 16, Albrecht 8, Engle 14, Wurster 8, Grube 2, Patterson 25, Pratt 2. Totals – 31 7-17 75.
3-point goals– B 7 (B Murphy 3, Cummins 4), RRIll 6 (Merkle 3, Patterson 3). Total fouls– B 19, RRIll 25. Fouled out– B: O’Neill; RRIll: Wurster, Patterson.