By Mike Monahan
Mattoon went into halftime Saturday with considerable momentum after both a 13-0 run in the final 9:19 and a defense that limited Effingham to 0-of-10 shooting from the field.
The Hearts, in fact, did not score a point in the second quarter.
“Our defense really stepped up in the second quarter and we held them scoreless,” said Mattoon coach Amanda Aydt.
Effingham, though, responded by outscoring the Green Wave 17-6 in a seven-minute stretch of the final quarter to take a 38-33 lead it never lost in a 40-35 victory in an Apollo Conference game.
Poor shooting sunk Mattoon.
The Green Wave converted less than a quarter of their shots, making 16 of 66 field-goal attempts for a .242 average and just one of 23 from 3-point range.
Effingham went 13-of-38 (.342) from the field, including 3-of-10 from 3-point range.
The eight-point differential in the opening quarter was the largest lead of the game by either team.
The Hearts led the entire first quarter, starting the game with a 3-pointer by Meredith Schaefer and a basket by Ella Niebrugge. Neither team scored for three minutes until Mattoon’s Faith Neibrugge sank her only basket of the game. A layup by Schaefer gave Effingham its largest lead of the game, 9-4.
That would be the Hearts’ last basket for 10 minutes, 35 seconds during which they missed 10 in a row.
Mattoon, meanwhile, scored the last four points of the opening quarter, all by Mallory Ramage. Bryant DeLainey then scored on a layup for the first points of the second quarter and Ramage followed with what would be MHS’s only 3-pointer of the game. Bryant’s bucket made it 16-9. In the last 4:44, Ramage scored the only basket to make it 18-9.
Effingham used a 9-2 run to start the second half, including a 3-pointer by Ella Niebrugge and a putback by Taylor Armstrong to close EHS within one. Bryan sank two free throws to break a deadlock at 21 and Ramage scored the last points of the third for a 25-21 advantage. Ramage also scored the first points of the fourth to give MHS a six-point advantage.
Armstrong scored six points inside and a bucket by Shaefer gave the Hearts its first lead since the 7:26 mark of the second period. MHS tied the game for the third and final time on a basket by Bryant. Effingham took the lead for good on two free throws by Annie Frost and Armstrong. Mattoon was within two points two different times. But the Hearts answered each time. Armstrong then scored with 1:05 left and then made one of two free throws for a 38-33 lead with 30 seconds remaining.
In the final 17:38 of the game, Mattoon went 6-of-44 (.136) from the field and 0-for-12 from beyond the arc.
Effingham was 8-of-11 from the free-throw line in the first 12:53, but struggled down the stretch, giving MHS chances by making only three of 10 field goal attempts in the final 55 seconds.
“I thought our girls did a good job of attacking the basket,” said Aydt. “We ran our offense and got good looks, but just didn’t make our shots. We had our opportunities. I am proud of our girls for their effort as they played hard. We just have to learn from it and move on and get ready for the next game.”
Effingham was led in scoring by Armstrong and Ella Neibruge with 13 and 12 points, respectively. Armstrong scored all 13 in the second half, mostly from the inside.
Ramage scored a game-high 19 points and grabbed 11 rebounds while Bryant had 12 points.
Mattoon outrebounded Effingham, 47-37, and had 11 turnovers compared to 18 for the Hearts.
Effingham and Mattoon are now each 1-1. The Green Wave next face Lincoln on Monday.
Junior varsity: Mattoon, trailing 19-13 at the half, tied the score heading into the final quarter at 21. The Green Wave got the lead and made just two field goals in the quarter and won, 35-32. They earned the win at the free-throw line where Lily Ghere made three of her four attempts and Paige Farmer was 7-of-8. Mattoon sank 11-of-14 (.786) overall. Farmer and Ghere led the way with nine and eight points respectively.
MATTOON: Haacke 0-0-0; Greeson 0-0-0; Bryant 3-6-12; Ghere 0-0-0; Pruitt 1-0-2; F. Niebrugge 1-0-2; Ramage 8-2-19; Haldorsen 0-0-0; Sanders 0-0-0; Jobe 0-0-0; Totals 13-8-35
EFFINGHAM: Frost 0-3-3; Althoff 1-1-3; E. Niebrugge 4-2-12; Schaefer 4-0-9; Armstrong 4-5-13: Totals 13-11-40
3-point goals: Effingham 3-10 (E. Niebrugge 2-5, Schaefer 1-4, Frost 0-1); Mattoon 1-23 (Ramage 1-11, Jobe 0-1, Haacke 0-4, Greeson 0-1, Bryant 0-6). Shooting percentages: Effingham .342, Mattoon .242. Rebounds: Effingham 37 (Schaefer 9), Mattoon 47 (Ramage, Faith Niebrugge 11). Turnovers: Effingham 18, Mattoon 11
MATTOON: Jobe 0-0-0; Ghere 2-3-8; Sanders 2-0-4; Warrington 0-0–0; Jurka 2-0-4; Farmer 1-7-9; Maple 3-0-6; Conyers 1-1-3; Totals 11-11-35 3-point goals; Mattoon 2 (Ghere, Conyers)