By Jeremy Arzuaga
Mattoon routed Marion behind superb performances from its talented one-two punch Tuesday night in the class 3A girls basketball regional in Centralia.
Mallory Ramage and Delainey Bryant combined for 38 points to send the Green Wave (26-5) into the regional final set for Thursday against Centralia, which defeated Herrin 42-38 in overtime.
The winner of this regional advances to the Effingham sectional next Monday.
Ramage put on another great performance Tuesday night, scoring 10 of 14 first-half points in the first five minutes of the game. The Green Wave were reliant on their 3-point shooting, making five in the first quarter.
“I am proud of the ways our girls played. It was a great team win,” said Green Wave coach Amanda Aydt. “Everyone did what they needed to do for us to get the win. We played great team defense and we moved the ball on offense and found the open person.”
The Wildcats were no match for the Green Wave, who made seven of 25 total 3s and 17 of 32 field goals for the game.
The Wildcats turned the ball over numerous times and had trouble rebounding the ball. Their opportunities were scarce, with chances they could not capitalize on. By halftime, Marion trailed Mattoon, 31-15.
Bryant set the tone in the third quarter, drilling a corner 3-point shot and a tough layup before both teams saw a four-and-a-half-minute scoring drought.
With Marion’s issues on the rebound front, the Green Wave were able to capitalize on countless opportunities, ranging from the perimeter to the rim. After many offensive rebounds and tries, shots eventually began to fall.
Ramage ignited a 13-0 scoring run after a nearly five-minute scoring drought, sinking her third 3-pointer, making a floater in the middle of the lane and scoring on a tough layup by splitting the zone at the top of the key.
Bryant then sank one of two free throws, and made two easy layups in under 10 seconds from two quick steals by Ramage. The Green Wave lead ballooned to 29 by the end of the quarter.
By the end of the third quarter, the Wildcats were held to only four points from their only scorer [Bittle], as they trailed 48-19.
Mattoon took their starters out at the beginning of the fourth quarter when each team added 10 more points.
MATTOON: Haacke 2 0-0 4, Greeson 1 0-0 2, Bryant 7 1-2 17, Sapp 0 0-0 0, Pruitt 2 0-1 5, Jurka 1 0-0 2, Niebrugge 1 0-0 2, Ramage 8 2-2 21, Niemerg 2 0-0 5,. Totals 23 3-5 28. 3-pointers – Ramage 3, Bryant 2, Pruitt 1, Niemerg 1. Rebounds – Bryant 6, Ramage 6, Niebrugge 5, Sapp 5, Greeson 4. Steals – Ramage 3. Assists – Ramage 4.