Charleston has a legitimate shot to win 20 games this season. If the team truly wants to get to that point, they will need to win games like this at home. Charleston blew away Taylorville on the road earlier in the season. Can they protect the home court to achieve their long-term goals?

Here is tonight’s preview:

Team Records: Charleston (13-7, 5-2) vs. Taylorville (11-9, 3-4)

Where: Charleston High School

Tickets: Tickets can be purchased at Baker Gym

School Size: Charleston (796), Taylorville (757)

JV Tip-Off: 6:00 p.m.

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

Opponent’s History: Dolph Stanley is the legendary coach from Taylorville’s earlier days. Stanley coached the Tornadoes to a state championship in 1945. After enduring numerous losing seasons since then, the team has turned a corner the last decade. That started with Hall of Fame coach Carey McVickers, leading the team to their last Regional Championship in 2013. McVickers retired in 2015 and former Mount Zion head coach Ryan Brown stepped in. Prior to the season, Brown was 100-75 at Taylorville. In three seasons at Mount Zion, Brown was 53-36. Overall, Brown is 163-120 and led Taylorville to their best finish 1951-1952 with a 26-7 season in 2018-2019. 

Taylorville’s Past Results: Taylorville lost to Pana at the Litchfield Tournament 58-46, but then rattled off two wins over Civic Memorial and Hillsboro. After starting the season 3-8, the Tornadoes have won seven of their last eight games, which also includes wins over Rantoul. Rochester, Effingham, Cerro Gordo, and Litchfield. Taylorville is coming off a 54-51 win over Mattoon at home. Charleston won the first match 65-47. 

Taylorville’s Top Players: Will Bitschenaur leads the team in scoring with 13.0 points per game. Bryce Friedrich averages 11.0 points and leads the team with 8.0 rebounds per game. 

Taylorville’s Team Stats:  The Tornadoes are averaging 48.6 points per game and allowing 45.8 points per game. 

Charleston’s Past Results: Charleston hasn’t played since defeating Rantoul 70-46. William Applegate led the team in scoring with 20 points, while Jaksen Braun added 13 points 

Charleston’s Team Stats:  Charleston is averaging 55.9 points per game, and allowing 52.5 points per game. 

What Taylorville Said: “I thought we shot the ball really well against Mattoon,” said Brown. “We made 65% of our two-point shots, and that’s not normal for us.  It took a great defensive effort too which is more like who we are. Charleston is so tough because all five guys they put on the floor are pretty fearless with the ball.  Everybody can score and a higher tempo is important to them. Jaksen Braun is the toughest matchup in the entire conference.  He’s certainly in the conversation for a top player in the Apollo.”

What Charleston Said: “They are extremely solid defensively and really get after opposing teams,” said Drone. “Offensively, they are patient and really work the ball around for good shots consistently. We need to be able to handle the different defenses they play and get our looks on offense while playing solid defensively. We will again look to get the ball inside and work inside out to get open looks for our guys. Our intensity and focus must be on the task at hand for 4 quarters for us to get the win.”