Story and photos by Chet Piotrowski
Behind William Applegate’s seven points, Charleston stormed ahead in Tuesday’s game on a 12-2 run against Newton in its Effingham/Teutopolis Christmas Classic opener.
Everything seemed to be going according to plan for the Trojans in getting revenge for a 56-41 loss seven days ago.
Then the bottom fell out.
The Eagles clamped down on the Trojans’ offense, limiting them to just 15 second-half points in a 55-42 loss Tuesday evening at Teutopolis.
Charleston plays in the consolation bracket Wednesday against Lutheran North at Teutopolis High School at 10:30 a.m.
“We just … our shots just stopped falling,’ Charleston coach Cody Drone said. “They were able to get a little run on us. It’s a tough one. It’s a tough one to take. That’s for sure.”
Charleston built up a 12-lead midway through the second quarter until Newton coach Troy Bierman called a timeout. The Eagles came out of the stoppage and went on a 9-0 run of their own, and finished the first half with an Evan Schafer 3-pointer at the buzzer cutting the lead to just three.
Newton opened the second half the same way it started and Charleston didn’t have answer. The Eagles went on a 5-0 run as Ben Meinhart’s first two of 11 points put the Eagles ahead 29-27.
“We really didn’t a whole bunch of things different,” Bierman said. “We knew after playing them last Tuesday that they’re going to hit shots. We like to think that’s our defense causing them to rush some shots. We just stayed the course and put a little more pressure. We didn’t pressure as much in the first quarter. We wanted to keep them from driving like they usually do that we see on film. The second quarter we got to pressure them a bit more. Our goal was to make them more tired so their shots were flat. We tried to change the pace in our favor. We hit the three at the end of the half which was big for us to get close. We thought the second half would be a barnburner and we’d go from there.”
Charleston finished the third quarter having been outscored 17-7 and unable to halt the Eagles’ momentum.
Charleston’s Jaksen Braun, who had five first-half points and was visibly frustrated in the second half, was sparsely involved in the offense due to Newton’s stingy post defense.
“We felt if we could stop their best player from getting what they get, someone else would have to step up who normally doesn’t,” Bierman said. “I didn’t know he had five until an assistant coach told me. I was very pleased with our defensive effort on him. He was our main focus and number 11 in the second half. They rose to the challenge and executed the game plan for us.”
Meinhart sank two free throws to seal the victory and the Eagles second victory over Charleston in a matter of seven days.
“They were working hard there in the post,” Drone said of Newton denying Braun the ball. “We have to do a better job posting and feeling what are they giving and taking away. Hopefully we just get better at it tomorrow.”
NEWTON – Mulvey 1 0-0 2, Meinhart 2 6-7 11, Nichols 1 0-0 3, M. Schafer 3 2-2 9, E. Schafer 2 2-4 8, Wolf 5 1-2 11, Gier 2 1-2 5, Weber 3 0-0 6. Totals:19 12-17 55 3- pointers: Meinhart 1, Nichols 1, M. Schafer 1, E. Schafer 2.
CHARLESTON – Smitley 3 0-0 8, Pankey 1 0-0 2, Bonstetter 0 0-1 0, Applegate 5 2-2 13, Burgess 2 4-4 10, Braun 2 1-1 5, Oakley 1 2-2 4. Totals: 14 9-9 42. 3-pointers: Smitley 2, Applegate 1, Burgess 2.