By Race Archibald
Mattoon’s balanced attack on offense paved the way for the Green Wave to defeat Charleston in a Coles County clash, 67-43, Friday night in Mattoon.
Mattoon (9-12) outscored Charleston 20-6 in the second quarter, including a 12-0 personal run for Mattoon guard Cam’Ron Thomas, that cemented a 33-17 halftime lead that Mattoon would not relinquish.
Thomas finished with a game-high 22 points.
“He (Thomas) does a good job of letting the game come to him,” Mattoon coach Ryan Ghere said. “He’s so versatile, getting to the rim, has a nice floater, and he can knock down 3s.”
Charleston (9-11) sent extra help to defend Mattoon forward Sam Bradbury as expected, but Mattoon responded by moving the ball around the perimeter and hitting five 3-pointers in the first half.
“Coach was talking about how if they double me, we will have open shooters,” Bradbury said. “We have good shooters, and shooters will shoot.”
Bradbury finished with 13 points, continuing his role as focal point in Mattoon’s offense.
“You have to pick your poison,” Charleston coach Brad Oakley said. “Give them credit: They stepped up and knocked down their shots.”
Mattoon came out of the halftime break with an 11-0 run to put the score at 44-17 before fans could return to their seats.
Charleston forward Caleb Hurst scored a team-high 15 points.
“Fifteen points is a good number for him because he’s trying to create for other guys,” Oakley said. “If those shots are falling, he can end up with 15 points and eight or nine assists.”
The Trojans allowed only one 3-pointer in the second half as a result of focusing on their perimeter defense, instead of on Bradbury.
After scoring a season-high 81 points in its last game, Charleston struggled with Mattoon’s pressure defense and wasn’t able to get in any sort of rhythm offensively.
“They’re long and lanky, and have Bradbury inside,” Oakley said. “When we attack, we have a 6-8 guy waiting for us.”
The Green Wave, able to avoid being swept by their crosstown rivals, now on a four-game win streak.
“We all had our heads down after we lost in Charleston,” Bradbury said. “This is a game that showed we wanted it more.”
CHARLESTON: Hurst 5 4-4 15, Bickford 5 2-4 12, Miller 4 0-0 8, Pankey 1 0-0 3, Bell 1 0-0 3, Braun 1 0-0 2. Totals 17 6-8 43.
MATTOON: Thomas 9 2-2 22, Bradbury 6 1-3 13, Morton 4 0-0 11, Wright 4 0-1 9, Compton 3 1-3 8, Yardley 2 0-0 4. Totals 29 4-8 67.
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