Eagles pick up big win over La Sallette

Ethan Winston looks to dribble past a defender during the Eagles game at Mattoon on Tuesday. 

RANTOUL — The Rantoul Township High School boys basketball team needed a win in the worst way. The Eagles had dropped five straight and entered Saturday’s home contest 1-13 on the season.

Sometimes teams that are on losing streaks are hungrier for wins than teams on winning streaks. That seemed to be the case for Rantoul on Saturday night. The Eagles took down La Salette Academy 56-47.

Rantoul got off to a slow start in the first quarter and trailed 14-7 after the opening eight minutes. 

The Eagles found their offense in the second quarter, putting up 17 points and taking a 24-22 lead into half. 

The second half started slower, with the Eagles only scoring nine points in the third quarter. The Eagles’ defense picked up, though, and helped them to a 32-28 lead heading into the final eight minutes. 

Both teams blew up in the fourth quarter on the offensive end. Rantoul had its best quarter of the season to date in a much-needed time.

The Eagles exploded for  23 fourth quarter points, including two clutch threes from Ethan Winston. 

Eagles head coach Ryan Parker talked about the team coming up big late.

“We had some different guys step up, and Ethan Winston hit two big threes to help us push the lead. He has been working really hard, and I was excited for him to see that work pay off,” Parker said.

Kam Rome hit five free throws down the stretch to help close out the game on his way to a team-high 13 points. 

Kejuan Caradine was also big for Rantoul, scoring 11 points while hitting three treys, one of which came in the big fourth quarter. 

Parker said he thought the team did a much better job of executing the things they do in practice.

“We took care of the ball, and we didn’t turn it over,” Parker said. “They were not very big so we wanted to get on the glass, and we did that well.”

Parker was glad for the win going into the start of conference action against Unity this week. (Results were unavailable at press time.)

“To get that win in front of a nice crowd was awesome. The mood in the locker room was very exciting. It was big for them to get a win as we head into conference,” Parker said. 

The Eagles will head to Illinois Valley Central on Friday night for an Illini Prairie Conference matchup.

You can contact Ryan Birch at Rbirch@RantoulPress.com or on Twitter @RyanBirchRP