By Kyle Daubs
Mattoon returns the bulk of its offensive power for a chance to repeat as Apollo Conference champions.
Coach Amanda Aydt (kneeling, above) remains cautiously optimistic, unwilling to assume her team’s strength.
Aydt prefer to let her team’s play do the talking once the Mattoon Green Wave open their season Thursday against Mount Zion.
“Everyone on our team has worked hard and has been very coachable,” said Aydt, entering her seventh season (121-64 overall). “We are excited to start playing.”
Mattoon finished 27-6 overall last season, going undefeated in the Apollo Conference (12-0). Only three seniors departed from a team that won 25 games for only the second time since 1993. The Green Wave set a school record for 30 victories in 2016-2017.
The offense runs through Mallory Ramage, a second team all-state and first team all-conference guard who averaged 21.5 points last season and broke the school’s season scoring record. With 695 points, she eclipsed Barb Blume’s 1988 mark by 16 total points.
In addition, Ramage averaged 4.4 rebounds, 3.5 steals, and 2.5 assists. She scored 28 points over Centralia to clinch the team’s first regional title since 2017.
“She’s an all-around outstanding player,” said Aydt in February when Ramage verbally committed to NCAA Division I Loyola Chicago. “She can do everything offensively and defensively. She knows how to handle pressure. She wants the ball in crucial situations. She can see the floor very well. She makes everyone around her better. Also, she’s a great defensive player. She gets the steals and rebounds.”
Ramage is one of three players who have committed to playing a sport at the Division I level after high school. Senior forward Delainey Bryant, another all-Apollo selection last season after averaging 10.5 points, committed to play softball at Illinois State and senior guard Kylee Haacke, among the team’s best defenders, will run cross country for Eastern Illinois.
The team lost three seniors in Hallie Niemerg, Peyton Gill, and Jordan Sapp, but Faith Niebrugge returns as well, giving Mattoon four key starters.
“We lost three seniors last year whose leadership played an integral part on our team,” said Aydt. “We have four seniors this year who have stepped up and done an excellent job of being vocal and leading by example.”
Mattoon plays at home Thursday and Saturday against Effingham.
“This is a great group of girls who are working really hard and are fun to coach,” said Aydt. “Our goal is to play hard and have fun. We are looking to get better every day.”
NOTE: Mattoon’s games will be live-streamed since few fans are allowed in the stands due to the pandemic. A link will be provided on the team’s athletic website.
Seniors: Delainey Bryant, Xylia Greeson, Callan Haldorsen, Kylie Haacke
Juniors: Paige Farmer, Anna Jurka, Faith Niebrugge, Mallory Ramage
Sophomores: Lily Ghere, Chloe Pruitt, Rorna Warrington
Freshman: Ella Conyers, Ashley Jobe, Emily Maple, Piper Sanders
|2/04/2021||Thu||vs. Mahomet Seymour||7:30 PM|
|2/06/2021||Sat||vs. Effingham||2:30 PM|
|2/08/2021||Mon||@ Lincoln||7:30 PM|
|2/11/2021||Thu||vs. Mt Zion||7:30 PM|
|2/13/2021||Sat||@ Taylorville||12:30 PM|
|2/15/2021||Mon||vs. Teutopolis||7:30 PM|
|2/18/2021||Thu||vs. Charleston||7:30 PM|
|2/22/2021||Mon||@ Mahomet Seymour||7:30 PM|
|2/25/2021||Thu||@ Teutopolis||7:30 PM|
|2/27/2021||Sat||@ Charleston||12:30 PM|
|3/01/2021||Mon||vs. Lincoln||7:30 PM|
|3/04/2021||Thu||@ Mt Zion||7:30 PM|
|/08/2021||Mon||vs. Taylorville||7:30 PM|
|3/11/2021||Thu||@ Effingham||7:30 p.m.|