By Mike Monahan
EFFINGHAM – It might have been several days later than desired.
But Mallory Ramage still set the MHS girls basketball scoring record Thursday night on a 3-pointer from the right side 6:28 into the game at Effingham.
Ramage, a 5-foot-10 senior guard who will continue her playing career at Loyola in Chicago, had 1,785 points entering the game and got her fifth, sixth and seventh points on the 3-pointer.
Ramage made her first three field goals, which were also the first three of the game. She finished with a team-high 23 points and now has 1,808 points.
The Green Wave, meanwhile, rolled over previously unbeaten Effingham, 59-35, in Apollo Conference action. MHS improves to 5-1 overall and 2-0 in the conference while No. 14 Effingham drops to 7-1, 1-1.
“Congrats to Mallory Ramage for being the all-time scoring leader,” said Mattoon coach Amanda Aydt. “She definitely earned it. She has put in a lot of hours and all of her work is paying off. Mallory did a great job on the defensive end too and she rebounded well. She is the floor general out there. She pushes ahead, finds the open person and she did a little bit of everything plus she shot the ball well (7-of-12 .583).”
The Green Wave made their first five field goal attempts. After Ramage hit three successive 3s, teammate Lily Ghere, a junior, hit another 3 as well as a field goal to push the lead to 12-0.
Mattoon eventually went ahead by 24-2 on a basket by Chloe Pruitt.
Sawyer Althoff made Effingham’s first basket after a four-minute drought to end the first quarter at 24-4.
The game never really got close.
“We came out hot (10-of-13 .769),” said Ramage, who didn’t realize coach Aydt had wanted her to keep shooting last week against Lincoln to break the record at their home gym. “I was ready for it and excited (to set the record). I knew it was coming. I just played like I usually do.”
Ramage set the mark despite playing in only 14 games last spring in a season cut short due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Still, the senior ought to eclipse 2,000 total points for her career, possibly during the Mattoon Holiday tournament later this month.
Effingham entered the game allowing just 28.6 points per game but Mattoon reached 29 with just under three minutes left in the first half on a basket by Pruitt against the Flaming Hearts man-to-man defense, which switched to a zone.
Effingham scored 10 of the last 13 points in the final 4:16 of the first half as five different players scored to cut the gap to 14.
Mattoon rattled off eight straight points by four different players for a 39-19 lead and Effingham didn’t get closer than 17 the rest of the game. MHS took a 30-point lead on a basket by Ramage with 2:26 remaining for a 59-29 advantage.
Mattoon, who entered with an average of 60 points per game, shot 51 percent. The Green Wave defense. that has allowed only 38.4 points a game, held Effingham to 35-percent shooting.
“We just had to do what they were giving us on defense,” said Ramage. “If they were up on us we could drive and if we were open we could shoot it. On defense we played man-to -man press at one point getting some turnovers (17) and we were all just playing really good tough defense together.”
MHS also won the rebound battle, 30-21.
“We worked a lot on just boxing out and rebounding in practice,” said Pruitt. “That is something coach has really been harping on us about. We have really been focusing on it and I think it really showed.”
Pruitt, who finished with 18 points, said she didn’t realize Ramage was about to set the record until the first dead ball with under six minutes left.
“Once they came over to the microphone the team was going crazy. It was really fun,” said Pruitt. “It was exciting.”
Mattoon travels to Arthur for a non-conference game against the undefeated (9-0) Arthur-Lovington-Atwood-Hammond Knights at 11:30 a.m. on Saturday.
“Mallory Ramage is a phenomenal player and, being left-handed, is a little different, but you just try and copy how you guarded Charleston’s Shae Littleford in the past,” said Schafer. “We let her get back to her strong hand and she easily outfought us at times and earned those extra second-chance points. That was probably the most disappointing. I felt we got the ball into the paint, but then when we did we didn’t really make great decisions. Part of it was how aggressive they were and part of it was our own fault. We are going to learn a lot from this film. We have had a great season so far and no one expected us to be where we are at right now.”
Paige Farmer led in steals with four for the Green Wave.
“She had a great game,” said Schafer. “I thought she was probably the difference in the game.”
Coach Aydt agreed: “She had an outstanding game and did a great job of attacking the basket and going up strong. She was ready to catch and shoot on the outside. She didn’t hesitate. Defensively, she had some great steals.”
Mattoon shot 10-of-19 (.526) from the free-throw line.
“I am very proud of the girls,” said Aydt. “I thought that the first few minutes we played excellent defense. I thought the girls plate hard .We were in the passing lanes and got some steals, which then led to some fast break points.”
MATTOON: Ghere 2 0-0 5, Pruitt 9 0-1 18, Farmer 1 0-0 2, Niebrugge 3 3-4 9, Ramage 7 9-13 23, Sanders 0 0-0 0, Jurka 0 0-2 0, Conyers 0 0-0 0, Sewell 1 0-0 2, Totals 23 10-19 59.
3-point goals: Mattoon 3-5 (Ramage 2, Ghere 1). Effingham 1-8 (Schaefer 1).Rebounds: Mattoon 30 (Pruitt 7), Effingham 21 (Ohnesorge 5). Turnovers: Mattoon 12, Effingham 17. Shooting percentage: Mattoon 23-45 (.511). Effingham 14-40 (.350)
MATTOON: Sanders 4 0-0 8, Powers 5 2-2 14, Conyers 8 2-6 24, Sewell 2 0-2 4, Totals 19 4-14 50. 3-point goals: Mattoon 8 (Conyers 6, Powers 2).