By Mike Monahan
Mallory Ramage scored 30 points and she joined her Mattoon teammates in shutting down Lincoln’s offense for a 61-31 victory. in both teams’ Apollo Conference opener.
This is the largest margin of victory between two teams that have now faced off three times in the past two weeks.
Mattoon had defeated Lincoln 54-45 on Nov. 19 in a pool game of the Pana girls basketball tournament, only to lose 56-48 in the championship game.
The game was close Friday midway through the second quarter. arted out like it would go down to the final minutes as Mattoon led 21-17 midway through the second quarter.
That’s when the Green Wave picked up their defense, holding Lincoln, a team that entered the game averaging 58.8 points per game, to 5-of-19 shooting in the final 21 minutes, 7 seconds.
Lincoln finished 9-of-31 (.290) from the field, including 2-of-13 (.154) in a span of 18:20.
“It was a great team win,” said Mattoon coach Amanda Aydt. “Everyone did what they had to do for us to be successful to get the win tonight. I am so proud of everyone. I thought our intensity level was great. We got the job done on the defensive end. I thought we did an excellent job of pushing the ball and running the floor and getting some points in transition. Mallory did an excellent job of running he offense and looking ahead. We moved the ball on offense, passing the ball well and found the open person. We made our shots.”
Mattoon made 15 of its final 20 field-goal attempts in the final 18:24.
“We made some adjustments, and I thought our girls did an excellent job of executing our game plan,” said Aydt.
Lincoln led briefly after scoring the game’s opening basket.
Mattoon soon took the lead on a basket by Chloe Pruitt that made it 7-5. Lincoln’s Kloe Froebe, a 5-foot-9 all-state sophomore, scored the Railsplitters’ first 14 points. Froebe ultimately scored all except three of her teams’ points. Imagin Werner scored the others.
Froebe made 8-of-17 field-goal attempts while her teammates went 1-of-14.
Mallory Ramage sank a 3-pointer, Paige Farmer made two free throws and another basket by Ramage increased the lead to 28-17 before Froebe scored to end the 7-0 run. Ramage scored the final four points of the half, putting the Green Wave ahead 33-18.
At the start of the second half, the Green Wave went on a 11-2 run in the final 6:22 to extend their lead to 46-23.
“I know we had to push through it,” said Ramage. “We lost to them the last time we played them. We knew what we had to come out and do. We just wanted to get the win. Everyone contributed.”
Lincoln played a 1-2-2 zone press.
“The last time we were sloppy with the ball,” said Ramage. ” So, we knew we just had to slow down and take our time and break the press and get good passes over the defense and that is what we did. “
“I thought we did an excellent job of our press breaker,” Aydt said, “and not forcing it and finding the open person and I thought we had great ball movement.”
Ramage went 8-of-14 from the field , including 2-for-3 from beyond the 3-point line, and led in assists and steals with five and four, respectively. The senior also snagged nine rebounds.
“Mallory had an outstanding game offensively of knowing when to shoot and attack the basket and when to find the open person,” said Aydt. “She made her shots and got it done too on the defensive side with the rebounding. She did a little bit of everything tonight.”
Mattoon travels to play Lincoln a fourth time Feb. 14
“It is really weird,” Ramage said. “I like the competition that we have against each other.”
Aydt was pleased with several other players saying: “Faith Niebrugge did an excellent job of taking charges early in the game. Everyone made the right rotations. We were in help and then we boxed out and got the rebound. Chloe Pruitt had great deflections and steals. She made some big shots. Paige Farmer did an excellent job on defense of being in the right position. It was an all-around great team basketball win. We are just looking to get better every day and I thought tonight we did.”
Mattoon improves to 4-1, while Lincoln falls to 4-2.
“The win means a lot,” said Ramage. “I am really excited for the rest of the season. I am glad we got this win and we are just going to keep it going.”
Mattoon travels to face Effingham on Thursday.
Junior Varsity falls short
Mattoon’s junior varsity rallied from eight points down to move within within 41-40 on a putback with 2:19 left. But Lincoln went back up by four with 1:05 remaining. Mattoon made it a one possession game on a free-throw by Teygan Sewell with 30.9 seconds left, but the Green Wave could not get closer in the 44-41 loss.
Ella Conyers and Sewell led the Green Wave with 13 and 11 points, respectively.
MATTOON: Ghere 4 0-0 8, Farmer 2 2-2 4, Pruitt 3 0-0 6, Niebrugge 3 0-0 6, Ramage 11 5-7 30, Sanders 0 0-0 0, Jurka 0 0-0 0, Conyers 1 0-0 3, Sewell 1 0-0 2, Totals 25 7-9 61.
3-point goals: Mattoon 4-9 (Ramage 3, Conyers 1). Rebounds: Mattoon 27 (Ramage 9). Turnovers: Mattoon 9. Shooting percentage: Mattoon 25-45 (.556)
MATTOON: Masse 1 0-0 3, Sanders 3 0-0 6, Powers 1 0-0 2, Conyers 5 0-0-13, Golding 3 0-0 6, Sewell 5 1-4 11, Totals 18 1-4 41. 3-point goals: Mattoon (Masse 1, Conyers 3) 4