Charleston’s lineup, which now includes Hannah Buescher (above), is much different than the squad that received a 64-13 beatdown from Teutopolis in last year’s holiday tournament.

By Kyle Daubs

After what feels like three tune-up games, Charleston’s girls basketball gets its first true test of the season. 

Playing Teutopolis is never an easy task. But throwing into the mix that this will be a road contest makes it even more interesting. The cherry on top is that both teams enter the contest with identical 3-0 Apollo Conference records, making these two teams the only two undefeated teams in conference play. 

To start the season, Teutopolis blew away Mount Zion, 55-20, in which Lexie Niebrugge scored a game-high 16 points, where all four of her field goals were 3-pointers. Niebrugge was the team’s leading scorer last season on a team that finished 25-9, made the Elite 8, and missed out on returning to state for the third straight season by just two points. 

It’s clear that even in what coach Laurie Thompson called a “rebuilding year” before the start of the season, that T-Town can still hang with the best. Grace Tegeler, a junior guard, added 11 points, while sophomore guard Kaylee Niebrugge added seven. 

Plus, Teutopolis routed Lincoln, 59-36, and took care of Effingham, 69-50, on Monday. 

Last season, Teutopolis blasted Charleston 64-13 at the Charleston Holiday Tournament. 

But this game should be different, mostly because the Trojans will have a much different lineup.

Shae Littleford is now healthy and available, averaging 25 points and 5.7 assists this season. 

Plus, Hannah Buescher has returned after taking a season off to run the point and to strengthen the defense. 

That team also didn’t have Kat Blase’s, CHS’s leading rebounder at 9.7 rebounds a game. 

Most of that core that put up only 13 points return, including sophomore Alycia Triplett, who is averaging 12.0 points and 8.3 rebounds. Erin Blair, Maggie Goetten, Delainey Meister, and Shelby Herrington were the main contributors during that beatdown and are working nicely in their roles as facilitators this season. 

For a season that nearly didn’t happen, appreciate a game that features two Hall of Fame worthy head coaches duking it out for the early lead in the Apollo Conference championship. 

Both teams will see each other again in Charleston on March 4, but let’s live in the present. 

We don’t need any IHSA rankings right now. This is going to be a battle between two of the top teams in the state, and you won’t want to miss it.