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Two days before the Rantoul Township High School boys basketball team played at Corn Belt Conference opponent Bloomington Central Catholic on Friday, Eagles head coach Brett Frerichs wasn’t quite sure what to expect from his team.
“I wouldn’t be surprised if we came out and played our best game of the year,” Frerichs said with a laugh, noting the up-and-down nature of the Eagles, who had a two-game losing streak going into the game after a disappointing 79-65 home loss to Charleston on Jan. 15.
If the Eagles play during their 72-62 victory at Bloomington Central Catholic wasn’t their best of the season, it was up there, especially in the fourth quarter.
RTHS (9-11, 3-5 Corn Belt) led 20-16 at the end of the first quarter and 34-30 at halftime before starting the fourth quarter behind 53-51. But the Eagles outscored the Saints 21-9 in the fourth quarter, with junior guard Johnny Jones pouring in 25 points and junior guard Talon Hardin adding 16 points.
“Our defense really stepped up,” Frerichs said. “Johnny was the leader, controlling both ends of the floor.”
Junior guards Tanner McLain (eight points) and Josh Oliveras (six points) chipped in as well.
RTHS hosted Pontiac on Tuesday night (results unavailable at press time) and hoped to keep its winning ways intact before getting a third shot at beating Prairie Central.
The Hawks — who own a 73-65 win against RTHS on Dec. 7 in Fairbury and a 57-56 win on Nov. 24 in the championship game of the Gibson City-Melvin-Sibley Thanksgiving Tournament championship game — will travel to Rantoul for a 7:30 p.m. tip on Friday.