Story and photos by Dominic Baima
It was a night full of celebration Thursday at Baker Gym as Mattoon senior Mallory Ramage broke her own single-season scoring record during the third quarter while Charleston honored their seniors in front of the home crowd.
Mattoon defeated Charleston 63-16 in the Apollo Conference matchup Thursday at Baker Gym.
Mattoon got off to a strong start when senior Faith Nieburgge made a 3-pointer to put Mattoon ahead 3-0. Charleston wouldn’t let Mattoon use that momentum to take off in the first quarter and Charleston Senior Ellie Long answered later in the quarter with her own 3-pointer to tie the score, 7-7.
Mattoon would end the quarter with a slight 14-11 lead.
A strong offensive effort in the second quarter and back-to-back 3 by Mattoon junior Lily Ghere would shift the decisively toward Mattoon for the rest of the game. Mattoon would keep Charleston from scoring in the third and a set of free throws by junior Delaney Meister would be Charleston’s only points in the fourth quarter.
“We came out strong, played with a lot of energy and a lot of effort, we were able to get into our offense and let our active defense kind of get us going,” said Charleston coach Jeremy Hudson. “I think they were kind of thrown off by how hard we were playing defensively so we were able to get stops, and we were able to get stops they weren’t able to get set up in their defense. Once they started scoring, they were able to set up their defense and we struggled to get into our offense. I was really proud of our effort in that first quarter.”
Mallory Ramage Breaks All-Time Scoring Record
Mattoon senior Mallory Ramage needed only 16 points to tie the school’s single-season scoring record of 708 points that she had set during the 2019-2020 season. She score No. 16 in the third quarter. Ramage added six more points to put the record at 715. She can add to the already impressive record in the postseason, which begins next week.
“I’ve been working for (breaking the record) for a long time, and I’m just excited that I was able to do that with my team. I couldn’t have done it without my friends and family,” said Ramage.
“Congratulations to Mallory for breaking her own season scoring record, her hard work is paying off. She is very deserving of all the accolades that she is getting,” said Mattoon coach Amanda Aydt.
Charleston Celebrates its Seniors
Between the JV and varsity games, the Charleston seniors were escorted onto the court by their families to cheers from the crowd. After the game, Hudson shared these thoughts: “Those girls play hard. They come in every day and work hard. They are great girls, that’s the great thing about this team. I know 5 to 10 years from now I can look at the women they become and really be proud that I was a part of this. I’m really proud of this group.”
Aydt Reflects on Conference Win and Seniors
Mattoon clinched the Apollo conference title Wednesday at home, but in all the celebration we missed the opportunity to talk with Head Coach Aydt about her thoughts on the conference title and her seniors.
“To win conference is very special,” Aydt said Thursday night. “Our conference is a really tough conference with several state-ranked teams. It says a lot about how amazing this team is. This group is very deserving because they have put a lot of hard work in and play very well together.”
Aydt’s pride for her team, and especially her seniors, is something she wears on her sleeve. “This is a great group of seniors,” she added. “I can’t say enough about them. They are great leaders, have a good work ethic, never complain, always have a positive attitude, and are just all around great young ladies. I’ve really enjoyed coaching them and I know they will be successful in whatever they choose to do. I would like to thank them for all of their hard work, support, and dedication. It’s been such a blessing to coach these seniors and I’m so thankful to be given the opportunity to coach them.”
Find more photos from this game here.
CHARLESTON – Long 1 0-0 8, Meister 1 3-2 4, Ally Logsdon 2 0-0 4. 3-pointers – Long 2.
MATTOON – Ghere 3 0-0 9, Maple 0 2-2 2, Pruitt 3 0-0 6, Jurka 1 0-0 2, Farmer 1 4-4 6, Niebrugge 5 0-0 11, Ramage 8 6-9 22, Conyers 1 0-0 3, Sewell 1 0-0 2. 3-pointers – Ghere 3, Niebrugge 1, Conyers 1.