Charleston’s Shae Littleford battles Mattoon’s Mallory Ramage for the ball Saturday afternoon. (photo/Chet Piotrowski, Piotrowski Studios)

By Pilar Barrio Sanchez

Delainey Bryant scored a career-high 27 points to lead the Green Wave past Charleston 77-47 on Saturday afternoon in an Apollo Conference girls basketball game in Mattoon. 

The Green Wave junior couldn’t stop smiling when she was substituted in the last quarter, teammates congratulating her as she walked off the floor after having made more than 80 percent of her field goals.

Bryant had also made two-of-three 3-point attempts, snagged four rebounds and recorded three steals.  

“Delainey had an outstanding game running the floor and hitting her shoots.” Mattoon coach Amanda Aydt said. “Jordan (Sapp) had an excellent game down low. She had great post moves and great finishes, and Faith (Niebrugge) did an amazing job both on offense and defense.” 

Niebrugge finished with 17 points, five steals and four rebounds while Sapp had 14 points and six rebounds. Four Mattoon players finished the game scoring double figures. 

Green Wave all-state player Mallory Ramage had also an outstanding game, posting 13 points, five assists, five steals and four rebounds. Ramage was honored at the beginning of the game for reaching 1,000 points back in December. 

Mattoon coach Amanda Aydt presents Mallory Ramage with a ball commemorating the sophomore’s 1,000th point scored in high school. She eclipsed that number a month ago. (Photo/ Chet Piotrowski, Piotrowski Studios)

Charleston started the game strong.

Early in the second quarter, Shae Littleford made a 3-pointer that kept the Trojans within six points. But turnovers enabled the Green Wave to go on an 11-0 run that made it 40-23 at halftime.  

“We played like freshmen,” Charleston coach Jeff Miller said. “Too many turnovers and too much indecision.” 

Littleford, a first team all-stater last season, picked up where she left off before being sidelines for six weeks with a knee injury. In her second game back, the junior guard scored 27 points before being forced to leave the game with a bloody knee.

“It feels great to be back,” Littleford said. “Honestly, it stinks to lose. We have some stuff that we need to clean up. You could tell that we haven’t played together for a while, but it feels really good to be back.” 

Littleford battled through the game despite being double-teamed for most of the second half.

“She is a mentor, she is a coach,” Miller said. “She leads by example.”

Mattoon (21-4), which next plays host to Richland County on Tuesday, remains in first place in the Apollo Conference at 9-0, a half-game ahead of Mt. Zion, a 46-45 winner over Effingham.

“We want to make it past regionals,” Bryant said.  “We want to go as far as we can and eventually maybe make it to state” 

Charleston (7-14, 2-8) next plays Feb. 10 against Effingham. 

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MATTOON (77): Haacke 0 0-2 0, Greeson 1 0-0 2, Bryant 10 5-7 27, Gill 0 0-0 0, Sapp 5 4-6 14, Pruitt 0 0-0 0, Jurka 0 0-0 0, Farmer 0 0-0 0, Niebrugge 6 5-7 17, Ramage 6 0-0 13, Niemerg 1 0-0 2, Haldorsen 1 0-0 2. Totals: 27 14-20 77. 3-pointers — Bryant 2, Ramage 1

CHARLESTON (47): Goetten 0 0-0 0, Hutchins 0 0-0 0, Triplett 8 0-1 16, Meister 0 0-0 0, Blair 0 0-0 0, Littleford 12 2-5 27, Herrington 2 0-0 4, Lane 0 0-0 0. Totals: 22 2-6 47. 3-pointers — Littleford 1.