By Mike Monahan

The Charleston boys’ basketball team shut down Mattoon for the final 14 minutes to earn its first victory at Mattoon in five years Friday night, 53-46.

CHS, which defeated Mattoon less than two weeks ago in a tournament game, have won two straight over the Green Wave for the first time since Jan. 26, 2018.

The Trojans won by relying on a strong defense in the final 14:18 during which they held Mattoon to just 3-of-24 field-goal attempts overall and to only 1-of-12 from 3-point range.

“It is always good to come into your rival’s gym and beat them on their home court,” said Charleston’s Jackson Braun, a 6-4 senior, who led the Trojans in scoring with 14 points. “That Effingham/Teutopolis just didn’t feel the same being in Effingham.”

The game featured five lead changes, three ties and neither team led by more than eight. Mattoon led by eight on four different occasions.

The Green Wave, who played a 2-3 zone most of the game, led 42-34 with 1:07 left in the third after a 3-pointer by Cooper Bergstrom. The Trojans defense, which played a 1-3-1 and 2-3 zone as well as man-to-man, held the Green Wave to 1-of-13 (.077) from the field in the final 9 minutes, 6 seconds.

“The difference in the first half was we made more shots than the second half,” said Mattoon coach Ryan Ghere, whose team fell to 7-8 overall and 2-2 in the conference. “We struggled putting the ball in the basket again. We were up eight and two wide open 3-pointers that rattled out. If you get one of those and get the lead to double-digits who knews what happens down the stretch. Give them credit though. They went on a little run before half to cut it to four and then got the ball back to start the third quarter and hit a corner 3 to tie it. We didn’t knock down shots or get stops when we needed to.”

Charleston began its run against the 2-3 zone of Mattoon’s on a basket by Jackson Burgess, a 3-pointer by Grady Smitley to end the scoring in the third with the Green Wave clinging to a 42-39 lead. Caleb Oakley drained a three-pointer and a basket by Smitley put the Trojans ahead for the first time since the midway point of the second. Braun scored on an assist from Smitley before Christian Larson made a pair of free throws and a basket to deadlock the game at 46.

Charleston scored the final seven points on baskets by Braun, William Applegate and Burgess as well as a free-throw by Braun. 

What a great rivalry both teams played super hard and both teams deserved to win,” said Charlston first-year coach Cody Drone. “Thank God we made a couple of more shots. When we were in halftime I really challenged them to play our style of defense and play the way we want to play. I am super proud of our guys. They came out in the second half and just devoted themselves on the defensive end of the court.”

Mattoon led CHS 14-11 after the opening quarter before taking a 19-11 lead on a 3-pointer by Cooper Bergstrom, who led all players with 17 points. Charleston tied the score at 23 on two free throws by Burgess. Larson’s putback and a basket by Blain Powers gave the Green Wave a 27-23 lead. 

“We came back to man-to-man in the second half because that is our bread and butter,” said Drone. “We threw some other defenses, but, when you have to get a stop, our man is our best.”

Ghere also credited Charlston’s defense, especially in the last three minutes.

“In the last three minutes, I called two different time outs to set up plays and they stopped both of them, and they did a nice job on the defense. Give them credit. They defended it and we just couldn’t find a bucket.”

Charleston was 13-of-25 from the field in the final 17:44 and free throw shooting helped as they were 12-of-16.

Caleb Oakley added 10 points for CHS.

“I have never been in an atmosphere like this,” said Drone “It was hard to communicate with my guys on the floor. We like to switch defenses quite a bit and it was hard at times to switch with our crowd and their crowd going. I love this rivalry and I am glad I get to be a part of this.”

Other than Bergstrom, Christian Larson had 12 for MHS. 

“I thought Cooper played well,” said Ghere. “I thought he asserted himself and played hard and got to the basket. We are just not consistent enough behind  the arc like we need to be. We just go in those slumps where we can’t get the ball in the basket. We are trying to find an identity without Sam (Bradbury, 6-8 senior who has been out six games) on the floor. We will just keep working and grinding it out.”

Bergstrom was 7-of-19 from the field. 

“We competed,” said Ghere. “I thought we played hard. We scrapped, rebounded and took care of the basketball better than the last three games. We improved in those things. We had been near the 20-mark in turnovers the last three games (11 on Friday). Anything under 12 be happy with.”

With two more wins, Charleston would earn the most wins in a season since going 14-12 in 2012-13.

“I look forward to having them come into our place and beat them with Sam Bradbury playing,” said Braun. “You always want teams to be at full strength. I hope he comes back and is at full strength and we get a really good game going.”

The Trojans improved to 11-6 overall and 5-1 in the Apollo Conference. The two rivals play one more time on Feb. 17 at Baker Gymnasium. A Trojans win would mark the first season sweep since 2009-10.

“Offensively, my teammates were just hitting me” Braun said. “I was running a short corner and, sometimes, in the middle, and my teammates were doing a great job of feeding me and, sometimes, I fed them. I happened to be the leading scorer tonight, but the next game it could be Caleb (Oakley). It could be anybody on the court. I just happened to be the one with the hot hand tonight (6-of-12).”

MHS junior varsity routes Charleston

Mattoon led 13-5 after the opening quarter before holding the Trojans scoreless for a quarter and a half as the Green Wave reeled off 20 unanswered points before Charleston scored. Mattoon won 47-19 to improve to 2-5. 

Leading the way for the Green Wave was Andrew Wetzel with 15 points, 10 in the opening quarter.

Charleston’s top scorer was Luke Bonstetter with 10 points. 

Mattoon Wall of Fame inducts 5 teams and 6 individuals

Mattoon held its 2022 Wall of Fame induction ceremonies. Teams inducted included:

• the 2019 girls’ tennis team, who won the Apollo Conference title (head coach Dwight Perry)

• the 2020 wrestling team, coached by Brett Porter that won the Apollo Conference title and reached the team finals in Bloomington where they finished in the top eight.

• the 2020 girls’ basketball team, coached by Amanda Aydt, won the Apollo Conference title and a Class 3A regional title

• the 2020 boys’ golf team, coached by Bill Behrends, who won the Apollo Conference title

• and the 2021 baseball team, coached by Jarod Kiger, winners of the Apollo Conference.

The individuals honored were Kira Wolf, a 2020 graduate, who finished sixth in goff in 2016 in the state and all-conference all four years, won the regional 2017-2019 and the sectional in 2017 and 2018; Shane Ghere, a 2020 grad, who was an all-state soccer player in 2019 and first team all-conference from 2017-2019 as well as all-sectional in 2017 and 2018. He holds the school record for season assists with 26 and career assists with 59, which is in a four-way tie for 20th all-time in the IHSA records; Morgan Weaver, a 2021 grad, who won the discus in the Apollo with a throw of 93-9; Kylie Haacke, a 2021 grad, who was all-conference in cross country in 2017, 2019 and 2020, placing second in the last two years; all-state and conference champion in the 3,200 meters in 2021; Dakota Spencer, a 2021 grad, who was the discus conference champion; Meade Johnson, 2021 grad, all-conference in golf in 2019, regional medalist in 2020, on golf team that won regional titles in 2017 and 2020, first team all-conference in baseball his senior year, on conference champions in 2019 and 2021 and on the all-Apollo Academic team. 


CHARLESTON: Smitley 3 2-3 9, Applegate 2 2-2 6, Becker 1 1-2 3, Braun 6 2-4 14, Oakley 4 0-0 10, Pankey 0 2-2 2, Burgess 3 3-3 9, Totals 19 12-16 53

MATTOON: Bergstrom 7 0-0 17, Middleton 1 0-0 2, Powers 2 2-2 7, Larson 5 2-2 12, Grace 2 2-4 7, Helms 0 0-0 0, Rice 0 0-0 0, Kirts 0 1-2 1, Wetzel 0 0-0 0, Totals 16 7-10 46

3-point goals: Charleston 3-11 (.273)  (Oakley 2, Smitley 1), Mattoon 5-21 (.238)  (Bergstrom 3, Powers 1, Grace 1). Rebounds: Charleston 31 (Braun 6), Mattoon 29 (Powers 6). Turnovers: Charleston 15, Mattoon 11. Shooting percentages: Charleston 19-38 (.500). Mattoon 16-54 (.296)

Junior varsity


CHARLESTON: Bonstetter 3 2-2 10, Sipes 0 2-2 2, Amorkey 1 0-0 3, Forrester 1 2-4 4, Totals 5 6-10 19

MATTOON: Boyer 1 0-0 3, Rice 4 0-0 9, Kirts 1 1-1 3, Gardner 1 0-0 3, Haugh 1 0-0 3, Hawkins 2 1-2 5, Wetzel 6 0-0 15, Smith 1 3-4 6, Totals 17 5-7 47

3-point goals: Charleston 3 ( Bonstetter 2, Amorkey 1), Mattoon  8 (Boyer 1, Rice 1, Gardner 1, Hough 1, Wetzel 3, Smith 1)