Charleston head basketball Cody Drone hasn’t been a part of the Mattoon/Charleston rivalry to its full effect. He will get his first taste when Charleston travels to Mattoon tonight in the rivalry matchup that also has Apollo Conference implications. Both teams played each other in Effingham, but every sports fan in Coles County knows that is not the same effect. Charleston took the first round and will get a chance to pick up a conference win, if they can pull it off again.

The Trojans enter MHS Gym to play before a raucous crowd. Both teams are coming off losses. Who will win Round 2?

Here is a preview of tonight’s game. 

Team Records: Mattoon (7-7, 2-1) vs. Charleston (10-6, 4-1)

Where: Mattoon High School

Tickets: Tickets can be purchased at Mattoon High School

School Size: Mattoon (930), Charleston (796)

JV Tip-Off: 6:00

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

Charleston’s Past Results: Charleston is coming off a 44-27 loss to Lincoln at home on Wednesday. It was Charleston’s first loss in the Apollo this season. Charleston trailed 22-7 at halftime but hung around in the second half. Lincoln only outscored Charleston 22-20 in the second half, including a 17-point third-quarter from Charleston. 

“We came out in the second half and the pressure was there, the intensity was there,” said Drone “The effort was there. Defensively, in the first half we didn’t pride ourselves on our side of the floor. That was upsetting because that’s something we work on every single day. That needs to get better. We need to play four quarters. We haven’t played four quarters of basketball in a while. We have to do that.”

Charleston’s Team Stats: Charleston is averaging 55.5 points per game and allowing 51.9 points per game. 

Mattoon’s Past Results: Mattoon is coming off a 67-53 loss to Pana on Tuesday. Christian Larson and Andre Wetzel led the team with 12 points. Mattoon trailed by 14 points at halftime. Mattoon will be without 6-foot-8 center Sam Bradbury for the sixth straight game tonight. 

“Nobody feels sorry for us,” said Mattoon coach Ryan Ghere. “Our guys have realized they are going to have to fight for themselves. We have had some good days of practice. We watched the film and saw some things we didn’t do well last time. I think they are going to come out and be ready to fight for this and play better.”

Mattoon’s Team Stats: Mattoon is averaging 46.0 points per game and allowing 43.4 points per game. 

Last Matchup: Both teams met in the 11th/12th place game of the Effingham/Teutopolis Christmas Classic. Charleston came out with the victory with a 53-47 win. The game was close mainly throughout the contest. Blaine Powers led Mattoon with 11 points, while William Applegate led Charleston with 14 points. 

“It comes down to what we say every time. We just need to make some shots,” said Ghere. “We watched the film and we are just missing too many open shots. There are some open threes we need to hit. We also need to defend better on the three-point line. We trailed to them by three at one point and then would give up a big three that would put them back up. We need to take away that shot.”

What Charleston Said: “I’ve never been to Mattoon’s gym with people there,” said Drone after the game against Lincoln. “Mattoon gets after it and they (the fans) are a rowdy bunch. Us dealing with that is going to be interesting because we haven’t had to deal with that this year. They’re just a solid team. They’re going to play that 2-3 zone. We were able to handle in the third and fourth quarters the last time we played them. Hopefully, we get some good practice reps tomorrow and handle it Friday.”

What Mattoon Said: “It’s always fun to play at home in front of our crowd,” said Ghere. “We have a good student section that should be loud. It’s going to be a lot of excitement and a lot of energy. If you can’t get up for this, then you are not going to get up for any of them.”