The Green Wave defense was dialed in on Tuesday. Can the team repeat this on the road for the second time in a row? The Wave return to Apollo Conference action in what could be a trap game for Mattoon as the Tornadoes are searching for their first conference win. 

Here is the preview of tonight’s game. 

Team Records: Mattoon (6-3, 2-1) @ Taylorville (1-4, 0-2)

Where: Taylorville High School

Tickets: Tickets can be purchased at Taylorville High School

School Size: Mattoon (930), Taylorville (756)

JV Tip-Off: 6:00 p.m.

Varsity Tip-Off: 7:30 p.m.

Opponent’s History: Dolph Stanley Gymnasium is named after the former Taylorville coach that led Taylorville to the 1944 state championship with a perfect 45-0 record. For now, head coach Ryan Brown enters his seventh season coaching Taylorville after a three-year stint at Mt. Zion. Brown owned an overall record of 100-75 before the season started. Last year, the team finished 9-10. 

Taylorville’s Past Results: The team’s lone win is a 48-39 contest over Bethalto Civic Memorial. Outside of that, the team owns a close loss to Granite City, two blowout losses to Springfield and Charleston, but played Apollo’s favorite Lincoln to a close 40-32 loss. 

“Up and down season,” said Brown. “We’ve played well enough to win and had a couple of close games where we just couldn’t make shots late in the game.   We typically have played Lincoln well over the years because we place a high priority on not turning the ball over and take away most of their set plays.”

Taylorville’s Top Players: Will Bitschenaur leads the team in scoring with 13.0 points per game. Bryce Friedrich averages 11.0 points and leads the team with 8.0 rebounds per game. 

Taylorville’s Team Stats:  The Tornadoes are averaging 42.0 points per game and allowing 52.1 points per game. 

Mattoon’s Past Results: Mattoon is coming off a spectacular defensive effort in a 53-33 win at Shelbyville on Tuesday. Junior Christian Carson had his best game of the season with 16 points, all coming in the second half. 

Mattoon’s Team Stats: Mattoon is averaging 47.6 points per game and allowing 37.7 points per game. 

“We have struggled with our shooting a couple of games,” said Ghere. “I think it’s just a funk because we have shot well in other games.  We will get through it as the season goes.”

What Taylorville Said: “The problem most teams in the conference will have with Mattoon is deciding what to slow down,” said Brown. “They have good guard play, a freight train in the post, and their defense is better than it’s been in recent years. There are several ways they can beat us. Our margin for error is slim.  We will have to play great defense, and find a way to keep our turnovers from getting out of hand against their zone defense.”

What Mattoon Said: “I know Taylorville will play hard, and they are well-coached,” said Ghere. “They will play both man and a 1-2-2 defense.  They will be disciplined.”