It doesn’t get any more even than this. These two Apollo Conference teams are nearly identical in terms of their records. Taylorville won the first go-around, but the Green Wave returned home in front of a likely rowdy crowd for Senior Night. Can the Green Wave get revenge on their home floor?
Here is tonight’s preview.
Team Records: Mattoon (14-12, 4-5) vs Taylorville (13-12, 5-5)
Where: Mattoon High School
Tickets: Tickets can be purchased at Mattoon High School
School Size: Mattoon (926), Taylorville (757)
JV Tip-Off: 6:00 p.m.
Varsity Tip-Off: 7:30 p.m.
Taylorville’s Past Results: Taylorville won the first matchup against Mattoon 54-51 at home. Since that meeting, Taylorville has lost to Charleston (61-58) and Teutopolis (54-51). The Tornadoes picked up a 61-60 win over Mount Zion but fell to Pana 60-43. Last night, the team picked up its biggest win of the season by defeating Lincoln in overtime.
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 a game.
Taylorville’s Team Stats: The Tornadoes are averaging 49.6 points per game and allowing 48.2 points.
Mattoon’s Past Results: Since falling to Taylorville, Mattoon played Lincoln hard, but came up short in a 40-35 loss. The Green Wave then lost to Champaign Centennial 56-53 last Tuesday. Last night, they scored on a last-minute basket to beat Effingham.
Mattoon’s Team Stats: Mattoon was averaging 50.2 points per game and allowing 46.7 points per game before Monday night’s game.
What Taylorville Said: “We were pretty lucky to beat Mattoon that first game,” said THS coach Ryan Brown. “They are just such a tough matchup for us because of the number of threats they put on the floor. They’re more athletic than us, bigger than us, and can score the ball much better than us. Hopefully, we can be within striking distance in the fourth.”
What Mattoon Said: Mattoon will be honoring its four seniors Cooper Bergstrom, Jaylen Middleton, Gage Thompson and Sam Bradbury tonight. “I can’t say enough about these four seniors,” said head coach Ryan Ghere. “They have worked so hard over the past four years. They have become great leaders in our program. They have faced a lot of adversity with covid, quarantines, and injuries. They just continue to love playing basketball and bring a great attitude every day. They have been great role models for the younger kids in our programs. They are great basketball players and even better student-athletes. They all get good grades and represent Mattoon High School both on and off the court.
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.