Story and photos by Chet Piotrowski Jr.
For a hot minute, Teutopolis’ JV squad took it to Mattoon in the first quarter, leading by one.
An officials timeout came at an opportune time, allowing Green Wave coach Amanda Aydt to reassess.
“She told us to get in a defensive stance and help the other side,” Mattoon’s Faith Niebrugge said. “It felt like we weren’t helping the other side because they were driving and we didn’t box out. That was one of the major things we worked on tonight.”
Once the Green Wave got going, it was full steam ahead. Senior Mallory Ramage scored 24 points, but it was a bench led by Ella Conyers that put them in the right direction in the second half. Conyers sank four 3-pointers to bust open the lead.
“She did a lot and getting us up more than what we were,” Niebrugge said. “She knows how to shoot. She’s a really good shooter.”
Niebrugge said the bench doesn’t get enough credit.
“They always work hard,” she said. “They do a lot for our team. I feel like they deserve recognition just as much as Mal because it is a team sport. It’s just not one person. We all work together.”
Ramage, meanwhile, moved closer to 2,000 career points after securing 21 and 24 points, respectively. The senior is now just 81 points away.
“I think she just wants to play our game and not worry about getting that point total,” Niebrugge said. “She wants to play as a team since it’s her last year. That’s what really matters to her.”
Niebrugge said the wins start with great defense. In Mattoon’s first game of the day, the Green Wave held Decatur Eisenhower scoreless in the first period and allowing just 29 points.
“It’s definitely the defense because, if we’re not doing good on offense on a night, we know we can keep them from scoring,” she said. “So it’s always our defense that wins games.”
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Teutopolis coach Josh Cotrill said playing in a varsity tournament gives his junior varsity players invaluable experience against quality teams.
“It’s absolutely great experience for them to come up here and play,” he said. “This is minutes for them to get against quality teams where they’re coming out and learning to play in these games where the score doesn’t really make a difference for them.”
He said since a team had dropped out and they were asked to participate, the team got an opportunity to iron out individual and team game aspects.
“We tried to run a couple things against Ramage,” he said. “Ramage is a good player. It didn’t really work out, but we didn’t practice it either. It was something on the fly, and throwing it out there at them.”
Cotrill said they tried some different offenses against Mattoon’s pressure defense.
“We ran a couple difference offenses that we’ve been working on. Mattoon’s a tough defense. Having them out there pressuring us was good for us.”
“It gives them an opportunity to see a high-quality varsity caliber player.”
Monday’s tourney results
Olney 64, St Anthony 58
Mahomet 55, Teutopolis JV 35
Mattoon 85, Eisenhower 29
Galesburg 65, Altamont 56
Mahomet 74, Eisenhower 11
Galesburg 57, Olney 31
Mattoon 73, Teutopolis JV 27
St. Anthony 47, Altamont 39
Game 9: Champaign Central vs. Decatur Eisenhower (8:30 a.m.)
Game 10: St. Anthony vs. Galesburg (10 a.m.)
Game 11: Olney vs. Altamont (11:30 a.m.)
Game 12: Mattoon vs. Mahomet-Seymour (1 p.m.)
Game 13: 3rd place in Pool A vs. 4th place in Pool B (4 p.m.)
Game 14: 4th place in Pool A vs. 3rd place in Pool B (5:30 p.m.)
Game 15: 1st place in Pool A vs. 2nd place in Pool B (7 p.m.)
Game 16: 2nd place in Pool A vs. 1st place in Pool B (8:30 p.m.)
MATTOON – Ghere 3 0-0 8, Pruitt 1 1-2. 5, Jurka 3 1-4 7, Farmer 2 2-2 6, Niebrugge 5 1-2 11, Ramage 11 1-2 24, Conyers 4 0-0 12. Totals: 23 6-12 73. 3-pointers: Ghere 2, Ramage 1, Conyers 4.
TEUTOPOLIS (JV) – Gibson 1 1-2 4, Deters 0 1-2 1, Bueker 1 4-4 6, Probst 0 2-3 2, Kremer 1 3-4 5, Mette 0 1-2 1, Wall 3 2-5 8. Totals: 6 14-22 27. 3-pointers: Gibson 1.