It’s been a two-week layoff since the Green Wave last played a varsity basketball game. The team was supposed to play Champaign Thomas More before COVID forced the team to drop out. Now, a late addition in state-ranked Knoxville will give Mattoon more of a challenge.

Here’s a preview of tonight’s game. 

Team Records: Mattoon (6-3, 2-1) vs. Knoxville (9-1, 0-0)

Where: Effingham High School

Tickets: Tickets can be purchased at Effingham High School

School Size: Mattoon (930), Knoxville (360)

Varsity Tip-Off: 3:00 p.m.

Opponent’s History: Knoxville competes in Class 2A and is ranked No. 20 overall in the state according to MaxPreps rankings. Erik Hughs is now in his fifth season coaching the team, where he has compiled an overall record of 60-55. Last year, the team was 13-3, and the year before that 21-9. That season was the first winning season since 2013-2014. This could be a special year for Knoxville, which hasn’t won a Regional since 1991. 

Knoxville’s Past Results: Knoxville began the season with a six-game winning streak with wins over Midwest Central, Tremont, Brimfield, Sherrard, Alleman, and Elmwood. Their lone loss is a 62-58 loss to Monmouth-Roseville. After that, the team rattled off wins over Bushnell Prairie Central, Peoria Quest Academy, and Orion. 

Knoxville’s Top Players: David Hise leads the team with 25.0 points per game, while Braden Downs adds 16.0 points per game. 

Knoxville’s Team Stats:  The Bullets are averaging 56.7 points per game and allowing 43.1 points per game. 

Mattoon’s Past Results: Mattoon hasn’t played since December 14 due to COVID issues. The team defeated Shelbyville 53-33. Junior Christian Larson scored all of his game-high 16 points in the second half. Blaine Powers added 14 points, while Sam Bradbury added 11 points. Both Bradbury and Jaylen Middleton are looking to make their second All-Tournament Team of the season.

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

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