By Mike Monahan
On senior night, four Mattoon girls’ basketball players finished in double digits, including senior Delainey Bryant, who tied her season-high with 21 points. The Green Wave won their third straight game, downing Taylorville 65-56 Monday in an Apollo Conference game.
The three other seniors – Kylie Haacke, Kylia Greeson, and Callan Haldorsen – scored 26 points combined points.
“It is a great group of seniors,” said Mattoon coach Amanda Aydt. “They are great leaders. They have a good work ethic and never complain, and they are just all around a great group of young ladies. I have enjoyed coaching them and I know they will be successful in whatever they choose to do.”
Bryant also scored 21 against Taylorville on Feb. 13, a 58-44 win.
The 65 points was the second-most points scored by Mattoon. Junior guard Mallory Ramage scored 18, junior Chloe Pruitt had 11 and sophomore Lilly Ghere contributed 10.
The game featured seven ties and three lead changes, all in the first half.
Mattoon improves to 8-5 ahead of Thursday’s season-finale at Effingham. The Green Wave are in third place in the Apollo Conference, a half-game behind second-place Teutopolis, which routed Mahomet 52-29 on Monday night.
Mattoon held 5-foot-11 Taylorville senior Haylee Sagle to two rebounds in dominating under the boards by a 45-17 margin.
“We did a good job of blocking out and getting the rebounds,” said Aydt.
Mattoon trailed 25-22 with 4:09 left in the second quarter when they outscored the Tornadoes 18-1 the rest of the way to take a 41-26 halftime lead. The Green Wave did not allow Taylorville a field goals for 5 minutes, 30 seconds.
We were just making sure we got the rebound and it was just one and done, and we ran both sides of the floor and ran as fast as we can,” said Bryant.
Aydt attributed some of the run to getting steals as Taylorville had five turnovers in the second quarter.
“It led to transition baskets,” said Aydt. “We looked to push the ball and the other girls did a great job of running the floor. I thought we did a good job of looking ahead and passing the ball.”
The run began with a 3-pointer by Bryant and Mattoon took the lead for good on a basket by Ramage. Ghere’s basket and a putback by Priutt made it 31-25. After a free throw by Taylorville, who fell to 2-11 in the conference, Pruitt made two free throws and a basket and Ramage’s bucket pushed the lead to 11. After Ghere scored again, the quarter ended with a basket by Bryant on a feed from Xylia Greeson.
Taylorville stormed back outscoring the Green Wave 14-3 in the final 5:15 of the third quarter.
Mattoon went 17-of-35 from the field in the first half, but struggled in the third quarter in going 1-of-14 (.071). Taylorville’s run included back-to-back 3-pointers by Hannah Clayton, who scored eight of her 12 points in the quarter against Mattoon’s matchup-zone and some man-to-man.
“Sagle was the key for us,” said Bryant of the MHS defense. “She is a driver and shooter. She can pretty much do everything so stopping her was a big part of it.”
Ramage guarded Sagle most of the time, holding her to 14 points. The Tornadoes, who played a box-and-one on Ramage (one player, trailed by four with 3:22 remaining when Mattoon scored seven straight points to ice the victory. Ghere started the run with two free throws and a basket and Pruitt drained a 3-pointer for an 11-point advantage.
“I am proud of the seniors,” said Aydt. “They got us off to a great start. Delaney (Bryant) had an outstanding game for us offensively with her scoring and at the defensive end as well.”
With Taylorville focusing on Ramage, Bryant had a chance to do more.
“I feel like I can get quite a bit of open outside shots when they are focusing on Mallory (Ramage),” said Bryant. “It gives me a chance to drive and do a little bit of shooting as well.
The seniors stayed on the floor, taking photos after the game.
“It means the world to win on senior night,” said Bryant. “ I have been looking forward to this moment the past four years and it is just really exciting to go out on a good note.”
Bryant, who will be going to Illinois State to play softball, had not been optimistic about having a season.
“Even this short season has been the best, even though it has gone really fast,” said Bryant. “I feel so lucky that we got to play. I just love basketball, and just playing with these girls is so much fun. I love being a part of this team and just playing the game in general. It just feels really good (to win on senior night).”
MATTOON: Haacke 1-0-0-3, Greeson 0-0-0-0, Bryant 7-4-6-21, Ramage 6-5-6-18, Haldorsen 1-0-0-2, Ghere 4-2-3-10, Pruitt 4-2-2-11, Farmer 0-0-0-0, Niebrugge 0-0-0-0 Totals 23 13-17 65
TAYLORVILLE: Kietzman 7-2-2-18, Letniku 1-0-0-2, Clayton 5-0-0-12, Sagle 6-0-4-14 Gideon 1-1-2-3, McCullough 0-0-0-0, Watson 0-0-0-0, Woodward 0-2-4-2, Richards 2-1-2-5, Totals 20 6-14 56
3-point goals: Taylorville 6-11 (Kietzman 2-2, Clayton 2-3, Sagle 2-4, Woodward 0-1, Richardson 0-1), Mattoon 6-22 (Bryant 3-6, Haacke 1-4, Ramange 1-6, Pruitt 1-2, Ghere 0-4). Rebounds: Taylorville 17 (Gideon 5), Mattoon 45 (Ramange 9). Shooting percentages: Taylorville .417, Mattoon .383. Turnovers: Taylorville 10, Mattoon 12. Steals Mattoon 8 (Ghere 4). Assists: Marttoon 13 (Greeson 3). Blocked Shots: Mattoon 2 (Ramage 2).
MATTOON: Jobe 1-0-0-2, Ghere 2-1-2-6, Sanders 2-1-5-5, Bialeschki 1-0-0-2, Grace 1-0-0-2, Jurka 2-2-6-6 Farmer 4-2-4-10 Maple 6-1-2-14, Conyers 3-1-1-7, Sewell 1-0-0-2, Totals 23 8-20 56. 3-point goals: Mattoon 2 (Ghere 1, Maple 1)