By Brian Nielsen
With that scoreboard showing individual points readily available on the Mattoon High School gym’s wall, Taylorville’s Jase Bergschneider said he tried not to pay attention.
“But everybody started saying I need this much more or I’m this close,” the senior guard said.
That happens when you have 20 points in the first quarter, rack up 30 by halftime and surpass Taylorville’s school record for a game with 45 with 1:55 left in the third quarter before finishing with 51 in the Tornadoes’ 77-54 Apollo Conference boys’ basketball win over Mattoon Tuesday night.
Bergschneider overshadowed a career-high 26 points by Dalton Compton for Mattoon, which lost to Taylorville for the second time this season and fell to 9-14 overall and 2-7 in the Apollo.
You thought Mahomet-Seymour’s Grant Coleman was hot scoring 44 points in his team’s 73-37 win at Mattooon last month?
Bergschneider topped that. A record for points scored in one game at the MHS gym was not readily available, but the 51-point performance has to rank high as the 6-foot guard committed to Elmhurst College broke Taylorville’s school record of 44 points set by Adam Stork in 1994 against Springfield Lanphier.
“We didn’t have an answer for him,” Green Wave coach Ryan Ghere said of Bergschneider. “We tried a box-and-one and he drove to the basket. We went man and he handled that. It was his night and not ours.”
That was the case almost from the outset as Bergschneider cut to the basket for an open layup and followed with another layup after a turnover forced by Taylorville’s full-court press — one of three straight Mattoon turnovers before the Wave’s first shot attempt.
“We had five keys to the game,” Ghere said. “One was (limiting) turnovers. “One was stopping Bergschneider and another was getting back on defense and not giving up transition points. We struggled with those three.”
Once Mattoon solved Taylorville’s press, the Wave hit their first three shots taking leads of 5-4 on Josiah Morton’s 3-pointer and 8-7 on the first of Compton’s eight 3s.
But Bergschneider drained four of his seven 3-point baskets in a 4-minute, 26-second span of the first quarter that ended with a driving bucket, giving him 20 points and Taylorville a 24-15 advantage.
“I just started the game hot and my teammates kept supporting me and giving me the ball,” said Bergschneider, who brought a 22-point average into the game.
Mattoon only slowed him down a bit in the second quarter.
“We’ve got some tricks against the box-and-one to get him open,” Taylorville coach Ryan Brown said. “Obviously, it was a tremendous effort by Jase, but his teammates knew who had the hot hand and got him the ball.”
While Bergschneider by himself outscored Mattoon in the first half, the Wave still stood within striking distance at 39-29 at intermission.
But when Taylorville scored the first 11 points of the second half while Mattoon went scoreless for 3 minutes, 46 seconds, the Tornadoes were on their way to improving to 13-12 and 5-3.
Samuel Bradbury scored five points in the fourth quarter to finish with nine for the Wave and Cam’Ron Thomas added eight points before fouling out with 4:06 remaining.
Mattoon has another home game Friday when facing a Mount Zion team it defeated at Mount Zion.
MATTOON: Thomas 4 0-0 8, Morton 1 0-0 3, Middleton 3 0-0 6, Compton 9 0-0 26, Bergstrom 0 2-2 2, Faulkner 0 0-0 0, Kirts 0 0-0 0, Yardley 0 0-0 0, Bradbury 4 1-1 9. Totals 21 3-3 54.
3-point goals: Compton 8. Morton 1.
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