Mallory Ramage scored early and often, and Mattoon smothered host Centralia defensively to capture the Class 3A girls regional basketball title Thursday night.
Ramage scored 28 points to eclipse Mattoon’s single-season scoring record in the 45-36 victory, giving the Green Wave their first regional title since 2017. Ramage has 695 points this year, 16 more than the previous best posted by Barb Blume in 1988. The sophomore guard also grabbed seven rebounds and posted four steals, making eight of her 16 field-goal attempts and two of three 3-pointers.
“Mallory Ramage had an outstanding game,” Mattoon coach Amanda Aydt said.
The Green Wave (27-5) advance into next week’s sectional tournament at Effingham High, where they take on Bethalto Civic Memorial, a 60-53 winner over East St. Louis in the Triad regional, at 7:30 p.m. on Monday night. The Eagles (28-5) are ranked No. 5 in the state Class 3A poll.
Mt. Vernon (18-14), which upset top-ranked Olney, 54-48, for the Richland County regional title, will face Highland (25-7) in the sectional opener at 6. The sectional final is set for 7 p.m. on Thursday.
Aydt credited Faith Niebrugge, Jordan Sapp and Hallie Niemerg for their defensive efforts, especially on the inside near the basket. Chloe Pruitt, who came in off the bench, recorded a game-high five steals as well. “I’m proud of our entire team,” Aydt said.
Ramage scored nine points in the first half and 17 points in the first half to help the Green Wave carve out a 21-18 halftime lead.
Delainey Bryant scored seven and Ramage added six in a third quarter where Mattoon padded its lead to 37-28. The Green Wave, which recorded 16 steals, harassed Centralia defensively through a low-scoring fourth quarter.
Said Aydt: “I thought we played better defense and made some baskets in transition in the third quarter.”
Mattoon had advanced to the regional final after easily defeating Marion on Tuesday night, 58-29.
MATTOON: Bryant 4 1-1 9, Pruitt 1 0-0 3, Niebrugge 1 3-4 5, Ramage 10 6-10 28, Niemerg 0 0-1 0. Totals 16 10-16 45. 3-pointers – Ramage 2, Pruitt 1. Rebounds – Ramage 7, Niebrugge 5, Sapp 5. Steals – Pruitt 5, Ramage 4, Niebrugge 3, Sapp 2.