By Chet Piotrowski
In its first visit to JH Griffin Gym for the eighth annual Wooden Shoes Shootout since Meade Johnson’s injury in December, Mattoon stymied Terre Haute North’s offense in the second quarter on the way to a 52-38 victory Saturday afternoon.
“I thought we did a really good job in the first half establishing a post presence, and that opened up our shooters in the second half,” Mattoon coach Ryan Ghere said. “Guys stepped up and knocked down 3s. Inside the first half, outside the second half. This is a good win for us.”
The Green Wave’s Samuel Bradbury led the way in the first half with eight points.
“Sometimes, he looks like Bambi out there with his legs all over the place, but I thought he did a really great job today as they sent double and triple teams his way,” Ghere said. “He did a good job of passing out of them. “
Bradbury got the Green Wave (11-14) on the board first with a power move to the basket 30 seconds in, giving Mattoon a 2-0 lead, then followed up with another bucket from the same low post position.
After the loss of Johnson to injury two months ago, Ghere said he was looking for someone to step up.
“He’s (Bradbury) had an outstanding year,” Ghere said. “When we get him the ball, he’s going to put it in the basket. He did that tonight.”
Mattoon’s zone defense came alive in the second quarter limiting the Patriots to just one basket, a 3-pointer by Colin Frank, as the Green Wave took an 18-15 lead into halftime.
Mattoon’s Dalton Compton drained back-to-back 3-pointers early in the third quarter helping the Green Wave take a 27-18 pulling away from Terre Haute North. He hit five overall.
“He’s our shooter. He’s our guy. He’s a senior. That’s what we expect of him. If he misses a couple, we want him to keep shooting,” Ghere said. Mattoon’s zone defense came alive again in the fourth quarter allowing the Patriots only eight points after giving up 15 in the third taking with them an 11 point lead.
“Their offense runs a lot of set pieces. A zone takes them out of those plays. I thought today was the best defensive game we’ve had, Ghere said. “They anticipated well, and trapped well. When they got the ball on the baseline, we did a nice job of trapping.’
Ghere praised 6-foot-1 senior Josiah Morton for his defense – a day after having the best offensive game of his career.
“Josiah Morton – that’s the best defensive game he’s ever played,” coach said.
Mattoon’s Cam’Ron Thomas, their usual offensively sparkplug, contributed only nine points but was found elsewhere.
“The last couple games, Cam’Ron hasn’t scored a lot of points, but he’s done a lot of other things for us,” Ghere said. “He’s got the ball inside, played great defense and rebounded today. We have to to keep this rolling. We have a good T-town team on Tuesday that took it to us at Thanksgiving. Then another big game against Effingham on Friday. The kids are playing really well together. This is the time of year you want to be playing well.”
Terre Haute North drops to 10-11 overall.
MATTOON (11-14): Thomas 1 6-10 9, Morton 1 3-4 6, Compton 6 0-0 17, Yardley 1 2-2 4, Bradbury 5 6-7 16. Totals 14 17-26 52. 3 pointers – Compton 5, Thomas 1, Morton 1