CHS Boys’ Basketball beats Red Bud, 34-27 JV and 39-31 Varsity

Brings back winning atmosphere to CHS Colbert Memorial Gymnasium


By Jim Beers

CHESTER – Friday night, February 2, Chester High School’s Colbert Memorial Gymnasium came alive when the YellowJacket boys hosted the Red Bud Musketeers in a Cahokia Conference, Illinois Division match-up. The boys defeated Red Bud in both the 6:00 p.m. the Junior Varsity game and the 7:30 p.m. Varsity battle.


Winning was just part of the fun and excitement, however, as the CHS “HIVE” Pep Club, came out in full force to support the JV and Varsity Jackets, and the CHS Pep Band was fantastic throughout the night from start to finish to keep the atmosphere lively and motivating.


It has been quite some time since the crowd, student body and YellowJacket fans have teamed-up to create a winning, supportive environment. The atmosphere brought back some of the same excitement that Colbert Gym had back in the “good-ole-days”!



Chester’s Lucas Thompson (40)  scores the YellowJacket’s first points of the game Friday February 2 when CHS defeated the Red Bud Musketeers, 39-31. With the win the Jackets evened their overall season record to 13-13 and improved to 3-5 in the Cahokia Conference, Illinois Division race. Jim Beers Photo


The “HIVE” was especially to be commended as they stood the entire game and cheered with the CHS Cheerleaders and did everything possible to keep the winning atmosphere alive and conducive to getting the best from not only the players but everyone else in Colbert Gymnasium.


One Red Bud fan commented, “I am really happy that the atmosphere remained positive and good sportsmanship was maintained throughout the entire game!  Your band was fantastic and it was really commendable that there were two staff members in the student section (HIVE) to keep things calm and sportsmanlike. They even cheered with the students and demonstrated great sportsmanship.”



For the second game-in-a-row CHS senior, Gabe Steele (24) was the YellowJacket’s top scorer with 11 points against Red Bud Friday February 2. The 6’4″,170 lb. shooter also scored the first points of the second half to get the Jackets on the road to a 39-31 victory over the Musketeers. Jim Beers Photo


The combination of athleticism, talent, and relentless drive of the YellowJackets, the positive atmosphere and support of the students, the great sportsmanship of the teams, fans, and Chester High School staff, helped to achieve two wonderful Cahokia Conference victories; a 34-27 JV win and a 39-31 varsity win.



Chester’s Brenden Malley (34) jumps ball against Red Bud’s Owen Liefer (2) Friday February 2. Watching for the tip are Lucas Thompson (40) and Cayden Brunkhorst (1). Malley’s tip was good and the Jackets started the game off on the right foot that eventually led to a hard-fought, 39-31 victory over the Musketeers. Jim Beers Photo


Chester JV 34-Red Bud JV 27


The JV Jackets led 12-9 after one quarter of play. Chester’s Evan Dunning led the charge with a pair of 3-pointers and a 2-pointer. TaShawn Palacio and Gabe Coffman added one field goal apiece.



Chester High School junior, Evan Dunning (15) a 6’4″, 170 lb. shooting guard, led his Junior Varsity team to a 34-27 win over the Red Bud Musketeers JV squad Friday February 2. In the process, Dunning was the scoring leader for both teams with 16 points. He also grabbed 5 rebounds, dished out 2 assists, and recorded 1 deflection. Jim Beers Photo






Teams, Cheerleaders, officials and fans stand at attention Friday night February 2 at Chester High School’s Colbert Memorial Gymnasium as the CHS Pep Band, under the Direction of Steve Colonel, plays the Star Spangled Banner.  The event was the CHS YellowJackets and Red Bud Musketeers’ Varsity Basketball game. The photo was taken high above Rocky Bridges Court from the Hudl TV Broadcast Booth.  Jim Beers Photo


The second quarter had the YellowJackets outscoring the Musketeers by one point, 7-6. Once again Evan Dunning paved the way with his third 3-pointer and a 2-pointer. Tray Peters contributed a bucket and the Jackets led, 19-14, at halftime.


The JV Jackets continued to fly high after the break with an 11-6 performance behind a three point barrage led by Tallen James who knocked two treys, and Evan Dunning who hit his 4th 3-pointer of the game. Gabe Coffman hit his second basket of the game and the Jackets led, 30-20 after three quarters of play.




The Chester High School Pep Band, under the direction of Steve Colonel, performs throughout the CHS Basketball game Friday February 2 when the Jackets hosted Red Bud. The band was fantastic and was instrumental in helping motivate the “HIVE” student section, crowd, teams, fans and cheerleaders throughout the very exciting game between the YellowJackets and the Musketeers. Chester won the hard-fought contest, 39-31. Jim Beers Photo




The area directly behind the basket at the south end of Colbert Gymnasium is now where the Chester High School student section s located. The CHS Pep Club, better known as the “HIVE” is supervised by CHS staff members and is one of the keys to the success of basketball games at Colbert Memorial Gymnasium. Friday night February 2 was a prime example as the students teamed up with the CHS Cheerleaders and Pep Band to help support and motivate the Boy’s Basketball Teams to  hard-fought victories over the visiting Red Bud Musketeers. The CHS JV squad won, 34-27, and the Varsity YellowJackets won, 39-31. Jim Beers Photo



In the final quarter Red Bud scored seven and Chester scored four points. Tallen James sank a pair of free throws and TaShawn Palacio knocked down a field goal. The Jackets won, 34-27.


In the win, Chester was led by Evan Dunning who scored 16 points, led the team in rebounds with 5 rebounds, dished out 2 assists, and had 1 deflection. Tallen James recorded 8 points and had 1 rebound. TaShawn Palacio and Gabe Coffman each scored 4 points apiece. Palacio grabbed 2 boards, and blocked 1 shot. Coffman had 1 rebound, and 1 steal. Tray Peters had 2 points, 1 rebound, 3 assists, and 1 deflection.


Red Bud JV was led by Lee Major who scored 13 points. He was followed by Luke Quintin (9), Greyson Herriman (2), Nathan Cato (2), and Landon Kilpatrick (1).


Chester Varsity 39-Red Bud Varsity 31


The Varsity game began with Red Bud’s Issac Moll draining a 3-pointer at the 4:28 mark. The first 3 1/2 minutes was a very fierce defensive battle with neither team allowing a score. Chester’s Lucas Thompson connected for Chester’s first points of the game at 3:10 and the Jackets trailed, 3-2.


Cayden Brunkhorst popped a trey to give the Jackets a 5-3 brief lead. Trent Sternberg followed immediately with a 3-pointer for Red Bud and the Musketeers led, 6-5, at the 1:38 mark. With only .35 remaining in the first quarter, Red Bud’s Owen Liefer sank a free throw to give the Musketeers the final points of the first quarter. Red Bud led, 7-5.  The first quarter was fast and furious with little scoring and a lot of defense! The first quarter featured one lead change per team.


The second quarter stared with Chester’s Devante Palacio tying the game 7-7, just one minute into the period on a 2-point basket. Five seconds later, Red Bud’s Chase Lucht took a slim 1-point Red Bud lead, 8-7, when he hit a free throw at the 5:55 mark.


Just seconds after that, Chester’s Gabe Steele started a 6-0 run with back-to-back baskets followed by a Devante Palacio basket to give the YellowJackets a 13-8 lead at the 4:10 mark. 


The remainder of the second quarter would see the Jackets finish the half with a 7-4 run. Red Bud’s Chase Lucht would sink two more free throws followed by a Sam Easter 3-pointer.


 Chester would get scoring from Lucas Thompson who hit a 3-pointer, Devante Palacio who would score his third 2-pointer of the second period and Brenden Malley who would hit a basket at the buzzer to end the half with the YellowJackets up, 20-13, at halftime.


The third quarter was another fast-and-furious period, this time led by Red Bud who would outscore Chester, 10-4. The Musketeers started with a Sam Easter free throw, followed by a Trent Sternberg 3-pointer to complete a 4-0 run at the 5:43 mark. The Musketeers trailed by only three points, 20-17.


Chester’s Gabe Steele scored the Jacket’s first points of the second half at the 3:48 mark to extend Chester’s lead to 22-17. At the 2:56 mark Red Bud’s Sam Easter hit a basket, was fouled, and completed a three point play by making his free throw. The Musketeers were just two points behind Chester, 22-20.


Just 40-seconds later, Red Bud’s Isaac Moll knocked down a 3-pointer to take a brief Musketeer lead, 23-22, with 2:10 remaining in the third period.


The next two minutes was a deadlock with a defensive battle raging. With only 2.7-seconds to play, Chester’s Cayden Brunkhorst was fouled and went to the line to down a pair of free throws. Chester regained the lead, 24-23, at the end of the 3rd Quarter.


Chester opened the final period on a 6-0 run on three baskets, one by Brenden Malley, one by Cayden Brunkhorst, and the third by Devante Palacio. The Jackets led, 30-23, with 4:35 to play in the game. 


The remainder of the game both teams traded baskets. Red Bud’s Trent Sternberg hit a bucket at 4:10 and the Musketeers trailed by just five points, 30-25.  A minute later, Chester’s Kolton Jany hit a 2-pointer to negate the Red Bud basket with Chester leading once again by seven points, 32-25. The next two minutes were deadlocked once again with neither team scoring until the 1:59 mark when Red Bud’s Owen Liefer would hit a shot to get within five points, 32-27.


Forty-three seconds later Chester’s Gabe Steele responded by hitting a field goal at the 1:16 mark. CHS led, 34-27. Red Bud’s Chase Lucht made a free throw immediately following Chester’s bucket to get the Musketeers within four points, 34-28.


Both teams missed shots in the ensuing 46-seconds after which Chester’s Kolton Jany hit another basket. CHS led, 36-28, with only .46 remaining in the contest.  Eighteen seconds later, Red Bud’s Trent Sternberg drained a 3-pointer to bring the Musketeers within five points, 26-31.


The Musketeers had to foul immediately to stop the clock. With .20 remaining, Chester’s Gabe Steele hit a free throw to extend Chester’s lead to 37-31. With just 14.7 left on the clock, YellowJacket, Cayden Brunkhorst connected on both of his free throws to give Chester the final margin of victory, 39-31.


In the win, the YellowJackets were led for the second game in-a-row by Gabe Steele who scored 11 points. He was the only YellowJacket to score in double figures. Other offensive contributors included Devante Palacio (8), Cayden Brunkhorst (7), Lucas Thompson (5), Kolton Jany (4), and Brenden Malley (4).


Kolton Jany recorded 8 rebounds, dished out 3 assists, and had 3 deflections. Cayden Brunkhorst led the team in assists with 7 and he recorded 5 rebounds. Devante Palacio had 6 rebounds, 1 assist, 1 steal, and 2 deflections. Brenden Malley contributed 8 rebounds, 1 assist, and 5 deflections.


Red Buds was led in scoring by Trent Sternberg who had 11 points. Other contributors included Sam Easter (7), Isaac Moll (6), Chase Lucht (4), and Owen Liefer (3).


With the win, the YellowJackets evened their record to 13 wins and 13 losses overall. Their Cahokia Conference, Illinois Division record improved to 3 wins and 5 losses.


The Jackets played at DuQuoin Saturday February with both the JV and the Varsity losing. The JV lost, 54-42, and the Varsity lost, 66-53.


Next up for the CHS YellowJackets will be two road games in Week 13. Chester will travel to Sparta Friday February 9 for a 7:30 tip-off and to Fairfield Saturday afternoon February 10 with a 1:00 p.m. tip-off.


The YellowJackets will close out their regular season Thursday February 13 when Wesclin comes to CHS Colbert Gym for a 6:00 p.m. JV game and a 7:30 p.m. Varsity game. It will be 2024 “Senior Night” at CHS.