By Chet Piotrowski
Charleston, looking to avenge a loss at home to the Hearts seven weeks ago, looked flat as their shooting woes continued in a 93-38 loss to host Effingham on Tuesday night.
“If you don’t show up and play, you get embarrassed by the other team,” Charleston coach Brad Oakley said. “I didn’t think we showed up to play.”
Effingham opened the game on a 12-0 run, led by Parker Wolfe’s eight points. The junior guard who vaulted over 1,000 career points Saturday at Mahomet-Seymour, led all scorers with 31 points on 13-for-20 shooting.
Charleston did not score until three minutes remained in the first period on a basket by sophomore Jackson Burgess. Senior Isaac Miller capped the Trojans’ dismal first-quarter shooting performance with a bucket of his own with just under a minute left to play.
Wolfe ended the first quarter in dramatic fashion as the crowd roared when his last shot of the quarter – this time from half-court – went through the basket as the buzzer sounded, giving the Hearts a 24-4 advantage.
Effingham continued to stretch its lead this time led by Nate Thompson’s 13- point second-quarter barrage. The junior forward finished with 24 points on 9-for-13 shooting.
For us, the bigger thing is on the defensive end: we didn’t play, we didn’t compete, we didn’t compete defensively, we didn’t compete going after the boards,” Oakley said. “We didn’t show up and play. Part of that was Effingham shot the ball well. They got some easy shots. They defended and made things tougher on us. We have to be better than that.”
Charleston’s Cade Landrus scored seven and 10 points, respectively, in the middle quarters – but, by then, it was too little, too late.
“We’ve had some illnesses for the last ten days, and, obviously, Caleb Hurst wasn’t here tonight. He’s a big part of what we do,” said Oakley. “There’s some players suffering from the effects of it, but, like we talked about, if you’re going to step between the lines and compete (then) play hard. I didn’t feel like we did that tonight.”
Oakley lamented the team’s recent lack of chemistry after having played well after the holiday break.
“We won five out of six games from Christmas to a little bit after,” Oakley said. “We moved the ball and we played pretty well together. The last four or five games we haven’t played well together. We haven’t competed like the way we need to and Effingham lost three games in a row coming in. They were a wounded dog and wanted to come back and make someone pay for it.”
Oakley said he’s looking to see who on the team is willing to get back to the aggressive competitive play the Trojans enjoyed several weeks ago.
Said Oakley: “We play Lincoln Saturday at our place. Lincoln is one of the best teams in the state in 3A. The next thing I want to see in the next three days of practice and on Saturday is to find guys that will compete, play hard, play aggressive. We have to have that mindset and that mentality. It boils down to that we have to come to the game in the right frame of mind. We need to compete and get after it. And when we do, we’re pretty good. And when we don’t, we’re not very good.”
Charleston drops to 9-15 overall while Effingham improves to 16-5.
Landrus led the Trojans with 17, followed by Burgess (10), Isaac Miller (4), Jaksen Braun (4) and Sam Bickford (3).
For the Hearts, Wolfe had 31, followed by Nate Thompson (24) and Drew Thompson (23).
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